This time last year, we wrote about our observations on the state of eCommerce in a mid-COVID world.
Effective Content Marketing in eCommerce
Anyone who’s spent time in the marketing world has probably heard of author, teacher, and all ‘round guru Seth Godin. Seth is known for bringing empathy and authenticity to the field of marketing. He’s great at distilling principles down to core truths and he often does it by asking very simple questions.
One of our favourite Seth questions is “Who’s it for?”
If you're in the process of creating or updating your eCommerce content, asking yourself this simple question is critical.
So – who is your content for? What industry are you targeting (you probably serve several)? Who are the people consuming that content? Are they researchers? Are they procurement? Are they technical people?
Don’t forget that in B2B, not all website users are buyers.
In the B2B procurement world, users can often be far removed from the people they source products for. Think about mining companies where they have large procurement sections that typically have many buyers organised by category.
Effective content marketing bridges the gap between the category manager and the end user they’re serving. Far more than simply listing a product and a price, effective content tells a story and gives that B2B buyer real context. Put simply, it breathes life into the product.
But of course it’s not just category buyers you need to consider in terms of marketing your content.
You may have product researchers weighing up options before putting in a requisition.
You may have technical users seeking detailed product information to ensure something meets spec.
You may have finance users or approvers wondering whether bulk discounts are available.
You may have health & safety officers looking to meet new regulations.
Who’s it for?
Great content will serve your “who” by pre-empting the questions they might ask themselves (or be asked by others):
- How are the products they’re sourcing actually used?
- Why might product type A offer better performance over type B? Don’t forget to add some use cases or social proof here.
- What are some quality indicators that not everyone is aware of? And how would these differentiate your product and its price from the competition?
- Are there safety or compliance issues involved in their industry? How does your product support their need to adhere to these mandates?
B2B eCommerce content needs to deliver value, first and foremost. The way to do this is by making the user’s job easier.
Once you know who your user is, you can create and market valuable content that serves them.
Make your content delivery engaging
Now that you know ‘who’ and ‘what’, next comes the ‘how’. Effectively marketing your personalised content means considering the ways your users like to consume information.
Engaging your various users may mean getting creative.
- Is this content for a customer undertaking product research? Product Comparison tools could be critical for this persona. Don’t forget the technical specs.
- How about a buyer replenishing consumables? A compatibility lookup function makes it easier to find the right accessory, and usage data like capacity and expected lifespan can help them make important value comparisons.
- Consider buyers in an industry where social proof, word of mouth, and peer-approval is paramount. Collecting and displaying (genuine) product reviews can give extra reassurance or help validate purchasing decisions.
- Explainer or demo videos can further educate a buyer trying to source niche product, so don’t forget about visual media here. Diagrams can work well also.
It pays to remember that “content” isn’t just limited to words on a page – it encompasses everything the user can consume, and so should naturally take on different forms. When it comes to execution, an integrated eCommerce platform will help streamline content creation, taking product information from ERP data, embedding videos and images on the product page, offering downloadable documents, and more.
So much can enter into the B2B product purchasing equation: the product itself, pricing, quality, availability, service, support…
Your content can tell that entire story.
Aim to educate, build trust, and back yourself as an authority. By marketing effective content, you can help users make sound procurement decisions. And keep them coming back, again and again.