When you’re building a fast-growing e-commerce brand, you can’t escape the importance of content. It shows up everywhere. You use content to describe products, tell your story, educate customers and engage with followers. Good content can help fuel business growth, while bad content can stifle it.
Here are three content hacks that you can start using today to attract, engage with and convert more customers.
1. Treat your customers like influencers.
Influencer marketing isn’t a tactic reserved for early adopters anymore. It’s grown significantly in popularity over the past few years, making both brands and the influencers they’ve hired to promote their products a lot of money. Today, you can find agencies that can help you hire influencers, tools to manage campaigns, articles that teach you best practices and case studies that teach you valuable lessons before you have to invest any of your own money into learning whether it will actually help your business grow.
But signs are showing that consumers are getting tired of seeing the same content playbook that influencers and brands have worked together to implement over the past few years. To overcome this obstacle, some marketers are partnering less with big-name celebrity influencers and working instead with what are known as micro-influencers — people with 10,000 followers or even as little as 5,000. According to Buffer, these micro-influencers are now getting better results for brands than traditional influencers.
Micro-influencers are valuable because they can help you tap into smaller niche communities on the web. When you hire a traditional influencer, it’s all a numbers game (i.e. “How many followers do you have?”). When you hire a micro-influencer, it’s not about quantity at all; it’s about quality (i.e. “How can we work together to create content that builds trust?”).
So the question is, where do you find micro-influencers? And once you find them, how do you pick ones that will understand your products and the message you’re trying to send to people? Here’s my tip: Start by looking within your existing group of customers. Find your champions. Figure out who is already raving and bragging about your products on social media, and partner up with them to create compelling content that connects with their audience and sends people back to you.
2. Spin existing content into something new.
Marketers have a bad habit of underutilizing content after it’s been created. I see it all the time. You work hard on a piece of content, sometimes weeks even. Then you hit publish, work it through your initial promotion process and move on to the next content project on your calendar. Sound familiar? I think we’re all guilty of it. It’s just what happens when you’re trying to move fast to unlock growth and find out what works. But that content that you worked so hard on? It has value, even long after you hit publish. It’s your job as a marketer to figure out how to continue surfacing the value that content piece can provide to your customers.
In my experience, the easiest way to keep your best content alive is to think of all the ways you can spin it for people. Imagine with me for a moment that you run an athletic-clothing e-commerce brand and you write a fantastic 5,000-word article on how to train for your first marathon. You publish the article, and it’s well-received by your followers — at least for a few weeks. Then you publish new articles, and it slowly moves further and further away from the surface. What could you do to bring that content to life again?
Here are some things I might try:
Pull 30 actionable pieces of advice from the article and turn it into a month-long email course that customers can subscribe to.
Narrate short sections of the article and create a podcast that people can listen to on the way to work for a few weeks.
Create graphics that pull out your best quotes from the article to share with followers on your social-media pages.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. My point is, don’t let the content you worked so hard to create go stale in a matter of days. Make a plan to do more with it. Think about all the times and ways your customers are consuming content throughout the day, and find out what you need to do to own those times and spaces.
3. Pull messaging from product reviews.
It’s not always easy to come up with headlines and product descriptions that resonate with people. It’s important to test different messaging in email subject lines and social ads and within product pages to learn what works best. But what if you can’t even get that far? What if you’re stuck trying to come up with the right value props and positioning statements to motivate potential buyers to take action?
I have a simple tip that I’ve used time and time again to find out what really works best for the products I help companies promote and sell: Pay close attention to what your past customers are saying in the reviews they write about your products. It’s that simple. You might not realize it, but product reviews are literal goldmines when it comes to finding messaging that resonates with future customers. You’re actually taking the words right out of the mouths of your happiest customers and repurposing them in headlines, emails, ads and product pages in order to connect with people.
When was the last time you went back and read product reviews? If it’s been a while, I encourage you to create a basic customer feedback loop, then spend an hour reading through the reviews and taking notes of any common themes, words and emotions you can find.
You don’t need a full-time content marketer or a whole team of writers to help manage and improve all the content you’re using to promote your e-commerce products. You just need to know how to get more from the content and relationships you already have. Just remember to look to your customers, repurpose your best content and use messaging that you know will resonate with real people because it’s coming from real people.