Though as an industry we are well aware of the important and intrinsic role content plays in search strategy, its role in regard to the buying process and conversion path is a grey area for businesses who often struggle to see the worth of it when it comes to the buying and selling process.

With this in mind, we’re going to look at the various ways content marketing influences E-commerce and we’ll be doing this by analysing the three core steps a buyer will take when making a purchase – Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

Awareness

Buyer Awareness begins when the customer realises they need something – this leads them onto the web to research and inform themselves of what’s available to solve their problem as well as get a general price guide.

As such, it’s vital that your site-wide content be educational and presented to readers in an easily digestible manner – whether that’s a listicle such as ‘5 Benefits Of X’, an infographic on ‘How X Is Made’ or simply a glossary of technical terms around X. This content can not only provide a gateway to introducing your brand to the consumer but also re-enforce your knowledge and standing in your relevant industry.

A great example of this is with one of our clients, Unipart Autostore. They are a global distributor of car, van, truck and trailer components, providing auto parts, car accessories and car care products to owners and the trade. With this in mind our content marketing strategy for them has focused on various driving tips which routinely affect motorists and are useful for them to know in their day-to-day commute, with posts such as Top Tips To Improve Fuel Efficiency and 4 Tips For Safe Driving In The Glare Of Winter Sun driving this approach (pun wholeheartedly intended). This informative type of article not only provides an authoritative tone in regards to all aspect of being on the road but it also builds up awareness of the business and its standing in the industry.

Consideration

After the consumer has conducted their initial research in the Awareness stage, they evaluate what’s available to them by looking at products in more detail in addendum to browsing social channels and checking online reputations via TrustPilot and Google and Facebook reviews. This is a very important stage in the sales process and content marketing can play an intrinsic part in winning any business. As such it’s important you position yourself as a leader in your industry with 5*customer care via expert articles and comprehensive feedback and reviews on your service.

One other great way of influencing buyers is through using brand advocates to build up a belief in the service you offer – this could be via influential bloggers who review and use your products and shout your praises to their own readership in order to generate increased sales and good PR.

Decision

At this point the consumer knows exactly what they want and have a thorough understanding of the type of product they’re after as well as an awareness of your business. Despite this, they may need an additional push before purchasing from you – this is where special offers, online exclusives or case studies can help get you that sale or alternatively provide further peace of mind to the consumer. Getting a sale at this stage requires certain deliverables and as such it helps that you implement unique selling points – Unipart Autostore offer a variety of perks in this regard such as worldwide delivery and a search function for you to find the correct parts for your car. This can often be the difference between a sale and the customer ditching their basket.

Securing a sale through these three core stages is hard work and you may be tempted to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Be that as it may you also need to understand that one sale is often just the beginning – you now have an additional step to think about–

Repeat Custom

Getting a customer to go through with a purchase is proof of your influence in your industry and the variety of services you offer. As such, the impetus is on you to get this buyer to keep coming back to you for anything else they might need. It’s important to have an after-sales support structure in place, promote feedback on your site, and deal with any issues with delivery or returns quickly and effectively. On top of this it’s important to regularly remind your customer how great you and your business is, using the power of content marketing to send them occasional newsletters, exclusive promotions and giveaways.

By making the time and effort for great content that covers all possibilities it can prove to be the difference between sale and basket abandonment.

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