As the retail sector becomes increasingly inundated with new businesses and advertising, it becomes harder to compete and stand out. In 2020, the retail industry’s advertising spending grew by 50% to $28 billion. As a result, the retail industry has become the largest digital ad spender in the US. Now, retailers must create a name for their brand by cultivating and maintaining lasting relationships with their customers.
Increasingly, more retailers are recognizing the benefits of content marketing, which yields consumer trust, engagement, brand awareness and increased sales.
Why is content marketing important for retail stores?
Content marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on building relationships with customers 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 lead to long-term relationships with loyal, returning customers. 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, educating and engaging them.
Content marketing affects consumers on a psychological and emotional level, which ultimately promotes trust. Retailers can then foster their relationships with customers by educating them through visual and written narratives. Consumers then easily identify brands that have made an impact, and view these retailers as industry authorities. Consequently, this form of consumer engagement increases loyalty and customer retention.
Successful Content Marketing Strategies
But how is content marketing done successfully? My friends and I celebrate Halloween every year by building and hosting a neighborhood haunted house. Last year, most of us traditionally dressed up as popular horror characters. However, one friend, Jake, took an unconventional approach by donning the iconic red jersey and name tag. His recognizable Jake from State Farm character was a hit when he asked ghost-goers to buy life insurance before entering.
Many attendees, from youngsters to adults, laughed when Jake from State Farm approached. Despite the various iterations of Jake, State Farm’s content marketing strategy successfully engages and increases brand awareness. This is because the content strategy is known to us. We know to expect a great deal and exceptional service from Jake, who is there when you need him most.
Similarly, Mass Mutual’s content marketing strategy used visual storytelling to educate consumers about personal finance. The campaign exposed the “uncomfortable truth” about making big financial decisions to address individuals’ anxieties and vulnerabilities. By adding visuals and related stories in the short-form videos, individuals built trust with Mass Mutual, which was considered an expert in the financial industry.
8 Remarkable Benefits of Content Marketing for Retailers
Apart from building trust with customers and increasing brand awareness, content marketing offers other additional benefits to retailers. Here are eight of the best perks:
Content marketing builds trust and shows authority
As consumer buying behavior changes, customers are less receptive to traditional outbound marketing efforts. As a result, content marketing is on the rise, replacing traditional strategies with those that create lasting relationships built on trust. Therefore, providing information to customers is a tool to establish your company as an industry leader and expert authority.
So, the more unique insight and expertise your content provides, the more your business is perceived as a valuable resource. As such, it increases overall trust and credibility between you and your customers. For example, 95% of consumers viewed content via blogs, websites and newsletters as indicative of a trustworthy business.
Content marketing expands brand awareness
Increased avenues for content marketing give your company more entry points for consumers to become familiar with your brand. For example, content marketing is most successful when different methods are used simultaneously, including blogging, videos and social media. As a result, 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 should convey your brand’s unique benefits to the customer. Consequently, 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 customer needs arise, they are likely to choose your brand over the competition since they are already familiar with it.
Content marketing educates customers
Despite the vast 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, educate, and enhance your customer’s knowledge of the brand. 70% of marketers say that content marketing helps educate customers.
Rather than focusing on selling to your customers, content marketing aims to improve the consumer’s understanding of how your products or services address their needs or improve their lives. As such, branded content with quantitative and qualitative information helps drive customer insight. This in turn establishes your brand as a thought leader and industry expert, improving the likelihood that consumers will choose to buy from you.
Content marketing helps retain current customers
It is true that humans are creatures of habit. Finding a retailer that solves customer 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 sustain their efforts to establish themselves as innovative industry leaders in the evolving retail industry.
It keeps your audience engaged
Content marketing is more than just talking to your customers or bombarding them with information. This includes creating rapport and dialogue that encourages engagement and input from consumers. The more engaged the consumer feels, the more likely they will continue to explore your brand’s content.
For example, Canva’s social media contest, #CanvaDesignChallenge, challenged users to create unique graphic designs. Images from the top creators were featured on Canva’s Instagram profile. In turn, the content strategy drove 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 customers see three to seven pieces of content before contacting a salesperson. Additionally, another 70% report consuming at least three pieces of content before making a purchase.
Content marketing fuels your social media
Unsurprisingly, the top channel for content distribution and marketing is social media. Since social media platforms took over, content marketers are using this way to reach their audience organically. Social media is especially a gold mine for retailers looking to spread 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 customers are more likely to trust the recommendation of a close friend who has had a positive experience with a retailer rather than a paid advertisement.
This drives more conversions and sales
Ultimately, investing in content marketing will be futile if your organization hasn’t received a quantifiable return on investment. Fortunately, 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 above benefits of content marketing contribute to higher conversions and sales. Rather than trying to make a buck from your consumers, content marketing that provides insightful solutions inspires more trust in the retailer. This leads to a consumer who is more likely to buy from you. Plus, providing ongoing support, answers, and incentives encourages return conversions from loyal customers.
This reduces marketing costs
With more and more content flooding the internet, top ad space is becoming limited and more expensive. As such, retailers spend exponentially on outbound marketing to attract customers. Instead, inbound content marketing via blogs, email newsletters and social media can reduce marketing spend by 62%. Plus, content marketing costs 41% less than paid search advertising.
As your content and brand become established as industry authorities, you’ll enjoy a 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’ customer relationships, 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, informative and insightful content.