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5 Ways Content Marketing Benefits Your Online Business

Making A Long-Term Investment In Content Marketing

Content Marketing is one of the many ways to draw traffic to your online business or web store. It has been proven to be more effective than many other forms of digital marketing and here we sum up some of the benefits of using it for your online business.

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1. SEO

The first tangible result that content marketing will achieve is make your online business more visible to search engines. Most consumers research products thoroughly nowadays, via social and mobile, before making a purchase. The content that you publish online, and we do not mean just your product images and descriptions, makes your business more visible on search engines and on social media. People consume online content by the gigaloads. A lot of this content is instructional content, self-help articles, problem-solving internet posts, how-to manuals and business tips found on blogs, online publications and on YouTube.

Want to sell men's clothing? Deploy lateral thinking - no, you don't need a Greek god with a six-pack (couldn't hurt, though..) - you write some content around men's fitness, cars and other toys, adventure holidays, etc. Google may not pay your Greek god much attention, but it will pick up keywords from your content and rank your website well if people are spending time on it, reading what you have to say. In that way, content marketing is good for your SEO.

2. 'Pull' in your customers

Traditionally, most people will ask a friend before buying a product or considering a service. Content Marketing gives you a chance to be that friend. Instead of continuously pushing out 'Buy my product!' messages that are ignored by most people, publish an online video that tackles a business problem (without necessarily involving your product). Write an article or a blog post that helps someone solve a day-to-day problem, draw people in to your web property.

Get them to hang around, make your online home a treasure trove of information. And not just funny cat videos, publish content that genuinely helps people improve their lives (ok, maybe one funny cat video..). Use your particular area of expertise to generate content. If you do not have the gift of the golden word, get professional help - a copywriter or even a social media enthusiast who enjoys interacting with people and is not shy online. Get them to verbalise your thoughts and tell your story. Get a graphic designer to generate some infographics.

What kind of content should you produce? Lets say you produce kitchenware. Put up your grandma's recipes online, show people how to correctly fire up a barbecue, make a video that shows how to steam veggies so they retain their nutritional content. Do that instead of trying to simply sell yet another non-stick frying pan or motorised egg-beater. It takes hard work but this is a good way of 'pulling' in customers who are actively searching for online content that match your area of expertise.

3. Brand building

When you publish good quality content on a topic, you raise your profile in the online space. Do it consistently and people acknowledge you as a subject matter expert. Create useful content around your industry and people will know that your products genuinely serve the purpose they were built for. Each helpful bit of information that you post online helps convince your customer that they are taking the right step in investing in your products or services.

Don't just sell a vacuum cleaner, offer your customers a clean living environment, free of dust and unsavoury pathogens. Don't just sell herbal cosmetics, tell people how to take care of their skin and even better, talk about herbs and shrubs and surprise people with trivia from the world of botany! This kind of story-telling will go a long way in estabishing your brand, and save you money that you would have otherwise invested in short-term or periodic paid advertising campaigns. Moreover, people talk about the good work that you are doing so your content marketing investment goes further to reinforce your brand way beyond your initial target group.

4. More qualified leads - better for conversion

This one directly follows from the 'Pull' benefit above. Anyone who runs a keyword search online and lands up on your content-rich web page is already half sold on your product line. You did not force them to visit your online store, they were already looking for a similar product when they started searching online. Once they land up on your site they find more content that helps them research your product or service.

Most people will spend a lot of time researching a product before buying online. Does this jacket leak? Will those shoes fit me properly? Will that suitcase last me 6 business trips? People find this information all over the place and chances are they will buy from the store that provided the best information. Customers are constantly weighing in their options, and a healthy amount of content about your products (or even peripheral information about your industry) might help tip the scales in your favor.

Instead of spending all day on the phone with customers giving them all the same sales pitch, do it once on your webstore or web platform. Give leads the information they need in order to complete their purchase. Invest in content marketing and automate the conversion process.

5. Cost

Paid advertising works. And really works well for certain kinds of businesses. But it is short-lived and needs constant capital infusion in order to keep the marketing engine going. Paid advertising campaigns need hefty budget outlay, not to mention extensive racking of brains when you are pushing out ads in a competitive market. Paid media can help you kickstart your marketing efforts but there should be some level of content development exercise built into your long-term marketing investment.

At the very basic level, you could just write a 1000 words and put it up on a webpage. You will need to read on some basic search engine optimisation and do some research into the kind of content people are looking for. But once done, this investment reaps benefits over several months and years. Your content sticks around on your website and draws in leads year after year. Your advertising $$ gets to work in the morning and is gone by the evening.

Do invest in paid, by all means. And do plan your content marketing strategy before putting all your faith into it. What works for others may not necessarily work for your business. From an initial outlay standpoint, content marketing certainly looks like a good time investment for a company that is just starting out and is looking to build a good, strong brand in the market.

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