As the retail sector is increasingly flooded with startups and advertising, it is becoming more difficult to compete and stand out. In 2020, the retail industry’s ad spend grew by 50%, reaching $28 billion. As a result, the retail industry became the largest digital ad spender in the U.S. Now, retailers must carve out a name for their brand by cultivating and maintaining lasting relationships with their customers.
Increasingly, more retailers recognize the benefits of content marketing, which yields consumer trust, engagement, brand awareness, and increased sales.
Content marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on building relationships with clients and promoting the company’s image as an expert. These goals are achieved by creating and sharing informative and educational content, such as blogs, videos, podcasts, and infographics.
Content marketing is a long-term investment. But the efforts your marketing team puts in result in long-term relationships with loyal, return clients. Content marketing is important for retail stores because it aims to do more than just sell a product. Instead, the goal is to develop a relationship with the consumer by educating, instructing, and engaging with them.
Content marketing affects consumers on a psychological and emotional level, ultimately fostering trust. Retailers can then further their relationships with customers by educating them through visual and written narratives. Consumers then come to readily identify brands that made an impact, considering these retailers as authorities in the industry. As a result, this form of consumer engagement increases loyalty and customer retention.
But how is content marketing successfully done? Every year, my friends and I celebrate Halloween by building and hosting a neighborhood haunted house. Last year, in traditional fashion, most of us dressed up as popular horror characters. However, one friend, Jake, took an unconventional approach, dressing in the iconic red sweater and nametag. His recognizable Jake from State Farm character was a hit as he solicited haunt-goers to purchase life insurance before entering.
Many attendees, from youngsters to adults, had a laugh when approached by Jake from State Farm. Despite the different iterations of Jake, State Farm’s content marketing strategy successfully engages and increases brand awareness. This is because the content strategy is familiar to us. We know to expect a good deal and exceptional service from Jake, who is around when you need him most.
Similarly, Mass Mutual’s content marketing strategy utilized visual storytelling to educate consumers on personal finance. The campaign uncovered the “uncomfortable truth” about making major financial decisions to address individuals’ anxieties and vulnerabilities. By adding visuals and relatable stories in the short-form videos, individuals built trust with Mass Mutual, who was viewed as a financial industry expert.
Aside from building trust with clients and increasing brand awareness, content marketing offers other additional benefits to retailers. Here are eight of the top perks:
As consumer buying behaviors change, clients are less receptive to traditional outbound marketing efforts. As a result, content marketing is on the up and up, replacing traditional strategies with ones that create lasting relations built on trust. Therefore, providing clients with informative content is a tool to establish your company as an industry leader and knowledgeable authority.
Hence, the more unique insight and expertise your content offers, the more your company is seen as a valuable source. As such, this boosts overall trust and credibility between you and your clients. For instance, 95% of consumers viewed content via blogs, websites, and newsletters as an indicator of a trustworthy business.
Increased content marketing avenues give your company more access points for consumers to become familiar with your brand. For instance, content marketing is most successful when different methods are used simultaneously, including blogging, videos, and social media. Hence, 70% of consumers learned about a retailer’s brand through an article rather than an advertisement.
More than just increasing the amount of content your marketing team produces, the content must convey to the client your brand’s unique benefits. As a result, your content marketing strategy should focus on addressing the consumer’s needs, demands, or pain points.
The more prospective consumers identify ways your brand improves their lives, the more likely they are to favor your company. As such, when client needs arise, they will likely choose your brand over the competition as they are already familiar with it.
Despite the massive amount of content available and accessible online, not all of it is educational or informative. As such, content marketing efforts yield benefits when they inform, instruct, and improve your client’s knowledge of the brand. 70% of marketers state that content marketing helps educate clients.
Rather than focusing on selling to your clients, content marketing aims to improve the consumer’s understanding of how your products or services address their needs or enhance their lives. As such, branded content with quantitative and qualitative information helps boost client insight. This again establishes your brand as a thought leader and industry expert, improving the likelihood that consumers will opt to purchase from you.
It’s true that humans are creatures of habit. Finding a retailer that resolves the client’s pain points while providing a positive experience can translate into a repeat customer. Interestingly, marketing to a new consumer costs five times more than retaining current customers. As a result, even a 5% increase in customer retention efforts through content marketing can mean a 25% to 95% increase in profits.
Therefore, content marketing is not a one-and-done deal. Instead, successful retailers must maintain their efforts to continue to establish themselves as innovative industry leaders in the evolving retail industry.
Content marketing is more than just talking to your clients or inundating them with information. It includes creating rapport and dialogue that encourages engagement and input from consumers. The more involved the consumer feels, the more likely they are to continue engaging and exploring your brand’s content.
For instance, Canva’s social media contest, #CanvaDesignChallenge, called upon users to create unique graphic designs. Images from the top creators were featured on Canva’s Instagram profile. In turn, the content strategy spurred engagement on social media as designers were eager to browse Canva’s profile for the winning designs and a chance to be featured.
On average, 44% of clients view three to seven pieces of content prior to contacting a salesperson. Additionally, another 70% report consuming at least three pieces of content before making a purchase.
Unsurprisingly, the top channel for content distribution and marketing is social media. Since social media platforms have taken over, content marketers utilize this avenue to organically reach their audience. Notably, social media is a gold mine for retailers looking to distribute their content to untapped markets via recommendations and brand ambassadors.
Loyal consumers can share your informative and engaging social media content with their friends, family, and colleagues. As a result, new clients are more likely to trust the suggestion of a close friend who has had a positive experience with a retailer rather than a paid advertisement.
Ultimately, investing in content marketing would be futile if your organization didn’t receive a quantifiable return on investment. Luckily, content marketing can increase sales as it generates three times more leads than traditional efforts. Additionally, 60% of marketers reported that content marketing generates demand and leads.
Each of the aforementioned benefits of content marketing contributes to higher conversions and sales. Rather than trying to make a buck off your consumers, content marketing that provides informative solutions elicits more trust in the retailer. This results in a consumer who is more inclined to purchase from you. Additionally, providing continued support, answers, and incentives encourages return conversions from loyal clients.
With more and more content flooding the Internet, top advertising space becomes limited and more expensive. As such, retailers exponentially spend on outbound marketing to attract clients. Instead, inbound content marketing via blogs, email newsletters, and social media can reduce marketing spend by 62%. Additionally, content marketing costs 41% less than paid search advertising.
As your content and brand become established as industry authorities, you’ll enjoy higher ranking and organic traffic. In turn, consistent content marketing efforts can yield higher returns for relatively low startup costs.
Sustained content marketing strategies have the proven potential to boost retailers’ client relations, industry authority, customer engagement, and overall sales. Therefore, with the evolving advertising space, retailers can stay ahead of the competition by innovating their marketing efforts with unique, informational, and insightful content.