Do you have a Content Marketing Strategy?
Content Marketing is pretty simple. Or at least it should be, but coming up with content to entice visitors can be a problem unless you are able to think laterally about it. We will explore ways to improve your thought process and creativity in another post, but for now we just want to know if you have a strategy to bring in visitors (potential customers), and do you stick to your plan.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Be honest, do you stick to it?
Being friends and colleagues of many shop owners, we know how tough it is sticking to your guns and following through with delivering content day after day, seemingly for little reward.
Listen, it is really tough unless the products that you sell are so incredibly exciting that they speak for themselves. Right now people can't search enough for 'Swegways'. The people who got into this craze early are doing the business for sure and although doing well from it, I bet they are working hard to funnel the traffic their way just the same as anyone else who runs a shop.
Swegways are cool, lazy and cool (what's wrong with walking anyway?), but what if you sell T-Shirts or Swimwear or Bottle Openers? Great in the right circumstances and all needed for one reason or another, but there are many sites that sell them all vying for a share of the traffic.
The trouble is that not sticking to your plan is going to lose you visitors and sales in the long run. Also, you are not building a strong foundation for your business that will last despite Google's attempts to knock you back.
Here's an example
I wrote a blog post for my own T-Shirt shop three years ago. Wrote it, shared it and forgot about it. Last week we sold over 30 t-shirts of the same design because someone had searched, found the post and shared it on Reddit. One post three years ago in October was responsible for solid sales for a Halloween design that we kind of forgot about. In fact, tracking back, the link was worth another 47 sales over time.
You see the issue?
Unless you are, or own a kick ass creative agency or can afford a prime time advertising campaign, content marketing is probably your best friend right now. Like anything else though, you have to put the time and effort in. Like learning to play an instrument or understand String Theory.
Reasons for wandering off track
1. Can't see immediate results.
2. Run out of ideas. Nothing new to say.
3. Took a break because, life, and didn't get back to it.
4. Not part of a team and it's a lonely business producing new ideas and new content.
5. Meh. Marketing Sucks *
* If you don't want to market your products because they don't excite you, then you should probably find someone who will and pay them a basic rate and commission on results.
Reasons for getting back on track
1. Google isn't your best friend anymore. They went a bit Evil after all.
2. Creating and sharing content builds a foundation for your business that never goes away.
3. You've probably already lost some visitors and sales. Eek!
4. You get better at it as you go on.
5. Your creativity begins to bloom as new and better ways of producing content come to you.
Right now the best thing you can do if you have fallen off the waggon is to re-visit your plan and light it up again.
Take these steps
1. Build a few 'Personas'. No more than three to start with or you WILL go bonkers.
What does your customer look like? Talk to, and understand what they like and don't like. Produce content that they will like. Make a cake that they will eat :)
2. Write down your Objectives and your Goals
'Sell things' isn't good enough. Have solid, drilled down ideas like, 'I will deliver three targeted bits of content a week based around the interests of the Personas I have already identified. Remember that the internet is pretty 2D and narrow that all content can only really be WORDS / IMAGES / VIDEO wrapped up in an idea. Make sure your ideas are focussed on your Personas.
You can get as explicit as 'Write 9 articles a week for people who are between 25 and 70 who like fishing in Devon'.
Your Goals can include information like:
I will get people to sign up for my newsletter. I will get social shares for my content. I will drive traffic to this new product range.
3. Put all of these things in a Calendar and stick to your timings as best you can. Understand that you will take Holidays and time away from your business, so schedule like you mean it.
The last thing is to remember to visit whatever platform that you use to see the results of your work. Do not be downhearted if you don't see instant results. In fact you probably won't, but you are laying the foundations for future sales.
Always remember that!
We all know that marketing is vital to your shop's success, but a great looking shop helps an awful lot too!
That's where Underground Media comes in.
Underground recommends Shopify as your shopping platform of choice. If you don't use Shopify, you probably should. Using Shopify along with one of our acclaimed themes will set you in the right direction.