Shoppers today want to be told a story, not sold product. E-commerce executives today should trade in traditional sales pitches for creative, engaging campaigns that guide shoppers through the customer journey.
A consumer who feels more connected to your brand is more likely to be bring you repeat business and becomes a brand ambassador. In today’s crowded e-commerce space, having the best resources to market your company is a necessity.
Instead of traditional marketing campaigns that were focused on selling a product, e-commerce executives must focus their attention on innovative content marketing strategies that organically connect shoppers through the power of storytelling. Here are the strategies we’ll outline for you in this piece:
- Telling the right story.
- Sharing that story across your social media channels in a creative manner.
- Creating engaging email campaign strategies to help guide customers through the rest of the journey.
We think this three-part method will help any e-commerce executive craft an effective engagement strategy and better connect with their customers.
E-commerce Marketing Strategy No. 1: Tell the Right Story
Engaging customers isn’t just about sharing a story, it’s about striking the right balance between authentic storytelling and marketing. Customers are more likely to engage with brands that match their lifestyle, so it’s up to your marketing team to find out how to turn your company’s story into a lifestyle that customers can connect with.
Data from Demand Metric shares a little insight into the value of content marketing. To start, it shows that content marketing has the power to generate roughly three times more customer leads than traditional marketing. That same data indicates that 82% of consumers have a better opinion of a brand after reading customized content, and 70% say they feel a stronger brand connection after engaging in content with a brand. That same percentage said they prefer to learn about companies through articles instead of advertisement, and 72% reported they form a relationship with a brand as a result of customized content.
For example, if you’re an outdoors store, it might make sense to share stories of cross-country travels, or the best camping spots in the country, or how to prepare for a new outdoor adventure. Each of these examples would trigger thoughts in a customer’s mind why they might need to stock up on gear for their own travels. Sharing an authentic story is one method to remind your customers that you care about the people who embrace your brand, and not just about selling a product.
When sharing a story, make sure there’s a clear audience in mind.
- What emotion do you want to evoke from this particular post?
- Is there a clear message? Does it connect your customers back to what your company actually does?
- A good story will always be a good story, but retailers must ensure the message connects with your brand’s mission and goals.
Conduct a simple checklist when crafting your content strategy to ensure there’s a specific goal with each piece of content you share with your audience.
E-commerce Marketing Strategy No. 2: Leverage Social Media
No matter the channel, content is still king. According to BI Intelligence, the top 500 retailers earned roughly $6.5 billion from social shopping in 2017. This was a 24% increase from the year prior. E-commerce executives must decide how social media fits into their marketing framework. Consumers are already turning toward numerous social media channels to stay connected with their friends and family, which presents an enormous opportunity for online retailers. E-commerce executives must think of social media as an extension of their marketing channels — but through the lens of a storytelling perspective.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are powerful ways of marketing your stories while growing your community. Shoppers don’t always appreciate ads on their social media feeds, but they will gravitate toward interesting content. Use social media to tell a story, but then embed links that allow shoppers to engage with in-app shopping opportunities.
Social media helps build brand awareness, and promotes products in a way that appears more authentic than a traditional ad. Data suggests that the average person spends roughly an hour and 40 minutes on social media a year, which is based on an average number of online shoppers of 217 million. That’s a whole lot of eyes ready to engage with your content. Data from Statista indicates that social commerce is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for retailers. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the average value per order of goods from social media was over $102.
Find the platform where your core customer base is most engaged and use that to your advantage. Be authentic to who your brand is and tell stories of real people. That will keep shoppers connected and more likely to engage and convert.
E-commerce Marketing Strategy No. 3: Engage Via Email
E-commerce technology shifts have been a game-changer for online retailers. With access to more tools than ever before, there are new outlets to capture customers’ attention. The next step in effectively using your marketing strategies to engage customers is through email campaigns. There is no one single channel that will cast a net wide enough to reach every customer, which is where automated and retargeting campaigns can help.
Email campaigns are part of an effective personalization strategy. Industry data shows that 64% of consumers desire more personalized offers from retail brands and 52% of shoppers say that they would likely switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize their interactions with the customer. The best way to personalize the e-commerce experience is through targeted email campaigns that rely on customer interaction data to guide the messaging.
E-commerce websites are rich with data insights that give clues about how and when consumers shop. Use that data to your advantage and craft personalized email campaigns that re-engaging those customers. For customers who may have left items in their cart, this is where retailers should invest in the right email automation technology to send those customers a reminder about the items they may have forgot about. To keep those customers in your sales funnel, automated retargeting email campaigns are an effective way to keep your brand top of mind.
Email campaigns are another outlet to tell your story, reconnect with customers and get them thinking about your brand again. Just like on your website and social media posts, your customers want to be told a story. Don’t use email campaigns to exclusively sell products.
Share content that adds value to their lives, and gives them a reason to naturally engage with your company. Authenticity and personalization is what customers expect today and the brands that find a way to merge content marketing and true storytelling will stand out in this increasingly crowded market.