Content marketing is maturing into an essential part of any business’s online strategy. It brings great potential to entrepreneurs, organizations and consumers, opening up new opportunities surrounding online purchasing decisions. Read on to discover seven top examples of how content marketing is changing the way we purchase online…
1. Traditional Is Ineffective
Traditional online marketing methods include PPC ads, paid links and sales emails. These sorts of traditional tactics are becoming more and more ineffective as consumers favor content marketing on their devices and platforms of choice, for the real insight and value it adds. Other stats support this claim: The world’s most popular online ad blocker, Adblock Plus, has been downloaded over 500 million times.
Consumers are finding traditional ads more intrusive and annoying, turning instead to human-to-human content and social interactions to make informed online purchasing decisions.
2. Brands Have To Provide Real Value
Not only does a business have to establish itself as a strong brand, but that brand has to provide real value for its customers, potential audience, and wider community.
Consumers are becoming ever savvier about recognizing this value, turning to review sites and blogger reviews to form their own conclusions and attributions of value to the brands jostling for their attention.
What are people looking for when it comes to brand value? The most value can be added when an organization really listens to its customers: by showing that their voice is respected and listened to, a brand demonstrates that it values its customers and wants to give back.
Content marketing is a great way to show this value, by sharing insightful content through a myriad of media which truly engages and shows off the brand’s core values.
3. Buyers Are Doing More Research
With the popularity of social review platforms such as TripAdvisor and Google Reviews, it’s easier than ever for consumers to access comprehensive reviews of places to stay, eat, visit or shop.
Buyers are doing more research before they purchase, particularly when it comes to online eCommerce, where reviews are often built into the user experience.
Content marketing offers brands opportunities to engage with consumers via relevant reviews which they may actively be searching for as part of their buying journey. Conversely, it also offers a platform for consumers to give their feedback, a voice which brands do well to listen to and take onboard for their future development.
4. It’s All About Social Proof
More research means more reviews, and ultimately, reviews mean social proof. This is nothing new — social proof is a term with roots in both psychology and social science.
If you’re walking past a row of bars on a Saturday afternoon, which one will you choose? The empty but otherwise good-looking spot, or the corner bar full of people? Social proof dictates most people will choose the latter, where other people already seem to have made a good decision about which bar to go to.
It’s an equally relevant concept to marketing today, and building strong social proof is especially important for your brand in today’s online world where consumers can access this at the click of a mouse or swipe of a screen.
Brands can take advantage of content marketing to engage with their customer experiences and highlight positive social proof surrounding their community and business.
5. Demand For Video Is Exploding
Video is huge. People today are watching more online video and on-demand TV services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, than ever before.
The public also values engaging with brands through this content medium. Whether product reviews, sponsored blogger videos or invited user-generated content, video is becoming an increasing influence in how consumers are making purchasing decisions online.
Content marketing allows brands the opportunity to use video to really engage with their customers and potential audience, creating engaging content and outreaching this through popular video platforms. Ultimately video is a big part of how content marketing is changing the way consumers purchase online.
6. Mobile Is Queen
Alongside the rise in video content, the growth in mobile and tablet use has continued to increase. In turn, this means that more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to make purchases online.
From reading reviews to watching videos, and ultimately making their purchase, consumers are more frequently completing these online purchasing journeys entirely on mobile devices.
There is great potential for content marketing to provide exactly the type of content users want to see, at the right stages in their online purchasing journey, and presented in the right medium.
7. Consumers Are Looking For Brands Not Businesses
It’s important to highlight the importance of building a brand before you can launch a successful business. Sure, you can do these things concurrently. But it’s not until you have a solid brand beneath you that your business will have the foundations and added value it needs to take off and launch your products and services.
Brands influence so much when it comes to purchasing decisions, both offline and online. In fact, brands are ever more important in today’s online world, because consumers are making purchasing decisions based more on the values they share with the brands they interact with.
The efficacy of this is perhaps most evident in the rise of successful and profitable dropshipping stores. By their nature, dropship businesses share the same product collection as dozens, if not more, other online stores — just look at the range of dropshipping stores for sale online. Through virtue of their branding alone, they manage to make generic products seem bespoke by offering a content strategy that is distinct and unique. From jewelry to backpacks, stores can transform themselves from businesses into brands though value-led content that appeals to their target market.
The potential for businesses to use content marketing to build brands is huge, and in itself is changing the way that consumers interact with brands to influence their purchasing decisions.
Today’s consumers use online platforms, social media and content to guide their purchasing decisions, both offline but especially online. Content marketing recognizes that today’s consumers have this choice and power, and businesses are having to become brands with real value that can withstand thorough investigation across the online review landscape.
By harnessing the power of social proof, and recognizing that consumers are actively seeking engaging content – on mobile devices, through video — there is huge potential for businesses to take advantage of content marketing and keep up with the way people are purchasing online.
Patrick Foster has many strings to his bow, of which content marketing is just one. With experience in design, business development, technical SEO, and more, Patrick knows his way around the world of eCommerce. He writes for Ecommerce Tips, sharing his experience with fellow entrepreneurs looking to get ahead in the business. For all the latest, find him on Twitter @myecommercetips.