When most retail marketers think of this phrase, they usually think of content that’s intended to pelt shoppers with a buying message. These usually include sale notifications, and special promotion advertising.
While these messages are necessary, they rarely do anything to promote engagement or brand loyalty.
They certainly don’t do anything to raise awareness about the values and the goals of a brand. That’s why retailers need to consider a variety of content marketing strategies to build engagement and attract buyers who bring with them lifetime value.
And while blogs are another great marketing method, they aren’t the end-all be-all of content marketing. Consider how your company might be able to use these not-quite-as-popular methods to gain customers and build brand engagement.
If content marketing isn’t working for your brand yet, you may want to try one or two of these this year.
I wrote in an earlier article how Walmart was able to re-brand themselves while taking advantage of multiple sales platforms by creating a holiday-themed hub, centered around the production of video marketing.
The video marketing strategy worked brilliantly for several reasons. They educated, entertained, and gently led shoppers towards several purchase platforms and shopping options.
Videos are great marketing tools for shoppers on the go who can’t or don’t want to bother with consuming text content.
Sometimes, depending upon the product, service or brand, publishing an authority book is the way to tackle a content strategy. For example, Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams is primarily a brick and mortar retailer that expanded their reach by producing a book based upon the recipes that makes the stores infamous, and positioned the brand to become an authority on the gourmet ice cream recipe “experience”.
The book instructs readers on how to make the same mouth-watering creations at home, to the exact specifications of the retailer. This allows for brand engagement while offering a product that’s chock-full of helpful advice. People love feeling like they’re “in” on something, and offering them the opportunity to gain access to the secret sauce is a wonderful way to develop a rabid fan-base.
Another way for companies to expand their reach with content is to produce custom publications. These are magazines that are produced specifically with the purpose of allowing readers and customers to delve deeply into the brand, while learning all types of tips and ideas that will help them to enjoy the product or service they’ve invested in.
Custom publications are traditionally published offline, although more companies are becoming aware of the advantages of publishing online.
Online versions of custom publications can be downloaded to just about any type of mobile device, and they also allow for immediate integration of consuming content and making a purchase decision.
Typically, a brand’s online articles will be located on their company website. The articles are marketed to shoppers who have voluntarily offered up their email addresses, so the articles play an important role in email marketing strategies.
Articles are useful for teaching shoppers how to maximize the use of a product, promoting the values of a brand, thought leadership, and other industry-related news. The articles also help the brand to stay at the top of their targeted shopper’s minds, which is crucial in a marketing space that demands a shopper’s attention, seemingly by the second.
And, here’s another great point about using online articles as a content marketing tool: they’re highly shareable. It’s very common for excited readers of the articles to promote article links on their social media platforms. This allows the brand to obtain new article subscribers, and hopefully, new customers.
Speaking of social media, most brands understand that sending off messages about upcoming sales, events, and promotions is commonly done on social media. However, the successful brands use social media platforms in a manner that is interactive.
It’s a mistake to use social media as a substitute for print advertising ads-social media messages shouldn’t appear to be a one-way conversation. Social media should allow for many conversations to take place, allowing a message to take on a life of its own.
At the end of the day, it’s not about pelting social media followers with high quantities of content. Truly successful social media should make the most of each piece of high-quality content being shared, while making sure that the content connects with those who are hopefully being enticed with the content.
While it’s important to use content marketing to drive advertising objectives, it’s becoming increasingly important for retail brands to take advantage of content marketing platforms as a means to create a bond with shoppers who want to become long-term customers.
Content that creates engagement and conversations are a highly-effective yet inexpensive way for companies to get a return on their time investment.