What Type of Content Works Best For Retail Marketing?

Content types for retail

In last week’s #RetailerTuesday post, I talked about why retailers should use content marketing. Now, let’s take a look at the type of content retailers should create to help find, convert and retain customers. In order for retailers to bring a well-rounded experience to their customers online, they need to build a robust content plan that entertains, engages, informs and solves customer needs.

Ask your customersA good place to start is to compile a list of the questions customers ask your sales and customer service staff on a regular basis. Have your staff members each submit a list of what questions they are most commonly asked. Then you can aggregate those answers to see what questions come up most. Chances are, if these are the questions your customers ask most, the answers are ones potential customers are seeking online.

You can create a wide variety of content around the answers to those question. It could be as simple as creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of your site, where you list all the questions and answers. You could write blog posts around some of the top subjects. You can have a “How to” section that details the answers to those kinds of questions. You can create simple “explainer videos” that go through the process of answering one of these questions – showing how something is done, how to make a selection, etc.

ListenTo Customers on SocialAnother methodology for determining what kind of content you should create is to analyze your social media. What are people talking about on your social media channels and those of your competitors? How are they interacting with each other? How are they interacting with the store/brand? You can use what you find two ways. First, you should create social content in the spaces they’re already in, where you are contributing to the conversation – not in a selly way, but in a helpful or encouraging way – as a part of the community. Then, you should create content based on what they are talking about, created to in the same tone as the social conversations you found. This way you’re talking about what your customer community is interested in, in a way that they can relate to.

Creating entertaining content is a great way to engage customers and drive traffic. if it’s a video or meme or post that is highly entertaining, it’s likely to get shared and pull in more people. But if it’s simply entertaining and doesn’t tie into the kinds of goods and services you sell, all that traffic and engagement will do you little good in terms of your bottom line. If you can create entertaining, shareable content that also helps your customers and points to the things you sell as answers to their needs/problems, then you have something worthwhile.

Content MappingOne way we help clients determine their content strategically, is to create a content map. Basically, you make a list of the things you want people to search you for and then find keyword phrases relating to those subjects. Then you see if you can compete for those keyword phrases and if anyone is actually searching for them. From those keywords, you create content topics and subtopics for each – again checking to see that you can compete for first page in Google searches for each topic. Once that is done you have a content map with 10 – 20 content ideas around each keyword or keyword phrase. For instance if you sell swimming pools, you’d probably have a whole content map around “swimming pool installation” and “above ground vs in-ground pools” – as those are subjects your customers are probably seeking answers to online that you can provide expert answers to. That’s a very top-line description of the process. If you want to know more, feel free to contact me (mikem@yaffe.com) and I’ll send you a fuller description.

In the end, it all boils down to giving customers what they want and being helpful. If you tap into your employees and your customers, you should be able to get a good idea what those subjects are. Then it’s just a matter of deciding what content format makes the best sense – for you, for the subject matter and for the customer seeking information.

Also, I was recently sent an article that has step by step instructions on how to develop content around 13 different practical eCommerce content ideas. You can find it here. It will walk you through exactly how to develop these ideas.

Mike McClureMike McClure, Content Creator & Consumer

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