And if this is news to you, they’re stealing all your customers through content online.
60% of B2C (ecommerce) marketers say their organizations are extremely committed to content marketing as a major channel for lead generation.
But many ecommerce marketers and owners still complain about low traffic and sales from ads:
And this is a challenge content marketing can take on and solve.
The truth is: traffic and sales become easier when you provide content customers care about.
You need content marketing to attract customers and help them find you, and then you’re better able to sell to them.
And the brands below are proof this is true.
Each of them has specific stories that they’re pushing with their content marketing and it’s getting them loads of attention.
I’ll be highlighting one ecommerce content marketing lesson from each brand and the angles they approach content marketing from, so you’re better able to apply these lessons for your store.
So let’s get started.
Ecommerce content marketing example #1. Nike
Nike is one store making headlines with their killer ecommerce content marketing in 2018.
They create content through stories that motivate people to go out and do great things.
Hence, their tagline: Just Do It.
Nike’s content marketing angle: Content that motivates people to do whatever (ethical) tasks their success requires regardless of the oppositions they face (Just do it).
Nike is always pushing out content for people to just do it. And that’s what everybody knows them for.
Your store needs to be known for a message it’s pushing, too. What content are you putting out to give your store a voice in this very crowded and noisy online world?
As of the time of this writing, Nike launched a campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of Just Do It.
And you probably know about this campaign already.
They used Colin Kaepernick, an American footballer famous for making political statements on the field, as the face of their campaign.
Nike sales grew 31% from Sunday through Tuesday over Labor Day this year (2018), besting 2017’s comparative 17% increase — according to research by Edison Trends. And this increase was directly related to the release of the video.
Nike’s nailing their ecommerce content marketing.
They’re going all out with it, in fact.
You need to identify your target customers, and start creating the best content possible for them — and not just sales ads.
Nobody likes to spend money, especially when they’re on social media. They prefer to see more content on social media than more ads.
Social media expert Mari Smith says:Content is king! This well-worn marketing adage still reflects this fact about online marketing: content remains important and valuable for brands. - @MariSmith Click To Tweet
And no, content marketing isn’t only for big marketing budgets brands like Nike. They’re not succeeding with content because they have all the money.
They just had a right strategy to attract their target audience, and that is creating content their audience is passionate about — which in this case is political issues — and using that to push their brand story.
Lesson: Get your customer’s attention through content and topics they care about.
Content is still king. It’s the singular reason that most people, your customers, are online 24/7; they’re always looking for something that inspires, educates or excites them.
You might have a smaller budget than Nike’s and may not be able to take risks like them, but with the right strategy, you’ll get ahead many of your competitors.
Ecommerce content marketing example #2. Victoria’s Secret
You probably already know this brand, but if not, Victoria’s Secret (VS) is a store that’s famous for selling womenswear, beauty products, and lingerie.
And they’re doing a darn good job dominating their space with quality content, too.
This brand dedicates their content marketing efforts to helping women look and feel sexy. That’s what they want VS to be known for, and they keep pushing out content around that.
VS’ content marketing angle: Creating content that helps women look and feel sexy.
On their Twitter, Victoria’s Secret has reached almost 12 million followers and they’re serving them amazing content through visually rich tweets every day.
Here’s a good example of quality content from one of their tweets:
While the brand’s aim is to sell this dress, you can see how much effort and resources they’re putting into creating very high-quality content — using a VS model and a high-quality photo to create a visually appealing content for their customers.
It’s obvious in how Victoria’s Secret places more emphasis on the picture (content) quality than the actual tweet selling the bag.
That’s because consumers prefer great content to sales messages.
And VS gets that.
But this is where many ecommerce brands get it wrong; they keep running sales ads all the time targeting people who want to see valuable, interesting content.
Quality content will make customers stop scrolling on any social media platform, and once that happens, you’ve caught their attention and can then easily sell to them.
Lesson: Content is a big deal.
Pro marketer Sam Hurley puts it this way:The goal of content marketing is inbound sales. Your job here is to attract, engage and convert…without any hard selling at all. Once you gain customers this way, their loyalty will be greatly increased. - @Sam___Hurley Click To Tweet
Victoria’s Secret creates so many videos on YouTube that are super focused on educating young women — their target customers — in specific areas like romance, beauty and sex appeal.
Their target audience wants to look and feel sexy and beautiful, so they create content that attracts that audience.
A case in point is their sports section. They invite female fitness trainers to lead their models in workout sessions to show their audience how Victoria Secret’s models train for the runway.
This is a pristine example of ecommerce content marketing that has more propensity to attract attention. They’re not selling anything, only content that their target customers want to see.
Ecommerce content marketing example #3. Bulletproof
Bulletproof is one brilliant B2C brand disrupting the coffee industry.
They have a content hub, a subdomain entirely dedicated to useful content for their target customers.
Bulletproof’s content marketing angle: Content that promoting health and wellness.
And they continuously publish content that drives conversations among their audience members and gains lots of engagement from it.
Here’s a post they just published as of the time of this writing, and it’s gotten 500+ shares in less than 24 hours.
Super engaged consumers are leaving comments on the blog, too.
Of course, comments and shares don’t mean sales or revenue.
But they show how engaged your target customers are with your content. Some of the commenters even show interest in Bulletproof’s products in their comments.Content marketing is a much better way to get really familiar with your customers, instead of just running ads that most customers find annoying. Click To Tweet
As you can see here, the brand’s content drew them in.
Your customers are always looking for great content, especially on social media. Forbes Contributor, Steve Olenski says it like this:“All of the social media is basically content.” - @SteveOlenski Click To Tweet
Lesson: Don’t just run social media and Google ads to generate sales, invest in content that gets you, customers.
And this creates an opportunity for you to get your customers’ attention through what they need— quality content.
Once you earn your customer’s attention with content, it’s easier to sell them your products. Quality content gets into the emotions and reasoning of your buyers in a way sales pitches can’t.
Ecommerce content marketing example #4. eBay
If you’ve been anywhere near the internet for a while, you’d know Ebay. The brand sells all kinds of consumer products — from electronics to fishing gears.
In fact, their YouTube bio reads — “When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.”
Established in 1995, Ebay has been raking in revenue long before content marketing’s glory days.
But regardless of their seeming needlessness for content marketing, ebay isn’t lagging behind in the ecommerce content marketing game every brand is playing right now.
Ebay’s content marketing angle: Attracting potential ecommerce owners through podcasts with other entrepreneurs.
While Ebay has consumers who use their platform to buy products, they also have ecommerce stores who need to come and sell products on their platform.
So they attract them using high-quality content. They also launched a podcast — called Open for Business — for budding business owners who listen to them for advice.
Startup founders are invited to the podcast to share their stories — both good and bad.
They share the experiences they faced while starting their businesses, and Ebay gets the chance to attract more store owners to come to sell on their platform.
Lesson: Quality content puts you in the right spot for customers to respond to your sales campaigns and messages.
If you create really good content for your specific target audience, your store will be raking in more sales than if there was no content in the mix.
Content gives you the audacity to ask people for a sale.
Or as the famous Gary Vaynerchuk put it:
“Putting out great content, sending baskets of fruit, whatever your jab is, it doesn’t entitle you to land the right hook. It just allows you to have the audacity to ask. You have to earn the right to ask people for a sale. In fact, you have to earn the right to ask people for anything. That’s just life. You can’t have the expectation that they will convert.”“Putting out great content, sending baskets of fruit, whatever your jab is, it doesn’t entitle you to land the right hook. It just allows you to have the audacity to ask. Click To Tweet
Attention spans are getting lower by the day and more sales pitches won’t get you the attention your online store needs right now, but content will; content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
And rightly so. Consumers are increasingly wanting more and more content that’s interesting, funny, inspiring, etc.
H&M is one of the biggest brands selling fashion accessories for men, women, teenagers and even children.
And they’re nailing ecommerce content marketing; big time.
H&M’s content marketing angle: Content about fashion (for men and women).
They have a magazine where they publish content about fashion, beauty, and culture.
After reading the content, readers have the option to then purchase the H&M clothes or other fashion wears described in what they’ve just read.
If it were a B2B brand, the Call To Action (CTA) would have been to offer free trials amongst other things in exchange for the readers’ emails.
Then they’d send the emails into specific sales funnels — because customer sales cycles in B2B are often longer.
In ecommerce/B2C, it’s different. While you should collect customers’ emails during purchases to encourage repeat sales, you don’t need the emails to nurture them into customers.
Lesson: Readers are often ready to buy after reading or viewing your content in B2C.
6. Forever 21
If you’re looking for the latest and trendiest clothes and fashion accessories, Forever 21 is a good place to find them.
The fashion retailer takes a unique approach in their content marketing; they organize events they know consumers would want to attend and promote it on their Facebook page.
Forever 21’s content marketing angle: Content that appeals to mostly twenty-somethings.
If something as big or expensive as an event would draw customers to and you have the budget, why not do it?
If an event where their favorite artists will be performing is what attracts them, organize it — if you have the budget. But you also need to ensure the cost of the event isn’t greater than the revenue from it.
For instance, here’s a meet and greet event Forever 21 did with celebrity singer, songwriter, and actress Sabrina Carpenter.
Clearly, this event isn’t for the old, but for younger consumers — the brand’s target customers. They come and enjoy the show, and once Forever 21 have their attention, they can more easily sell their products to them.
Lesson: Content marketing is all about getting your customers’ attention — using whatever content types available — events, blogs, videos, etc.
Owned by Unilever, Dove manufactures and sells personal care products like body lotion, shampoo, soap and body spray.
This ecommerce brand has been doing so well in the cosmetics space long before content marketing became as popular as it is today.
But to drive the content marketing ROI other B2C brands are seeing, Dove started creating content that provides information their target audience wants to see about hair treatment, skin care, etc.
Dove’s content marketing angle: Content that teaches consumers about body care.
Dove uses their content as a medium to simply educate their potential customers and customers about the type of products they sell without looking too promotional.
Smart brands are not just putting more money into ads, they’re pouring money into creating content that makes their ads drive more conversions.
- What questions are your customers asking?
- What are the content types they’d like to see?
- What do they want to know?
Answer these questions and weave them into content that attracts your target customers as part of your content marketing strategy.
And of course, address questions that relate to your industry, business or product, so you’re attracting the right audience.
Lesson: Don’t assume your customers already know everything about your product or industry.
Sometimes, as the expert, you may think they have the level of understanding you have. But that’s not always true.
Veteran digital marketer Jeff Bullas says it this way:
“It may seem that these questions are a no-brainer but as experts in our industry we are often blinded by the “curse of knowledge”. This can stop us making sure we simplify the process and answer the “beginner 101” questions.”
And there are obviously different types of content you can create for your ecommerce store — as you’ve seen in this post. Figure out the type your customers love best and use it.
Topshop is a well-known British brand that sells clothing, shoes, makeup, and accessories.
This brand understands that their content is in their product, so they publish content about the clothes, shoes, and accessories they sell with models posing with them on social media.
Topshop’s content marketing angle: Creating content about fashion.
Their Pinterest marketing strategy is noteworthy.
They have models taking high-quality pictures with their products and they put a link on those posts to where consumers can quickly purchase them.
This sends the hundreds or even thousands of consumers viewing this post to go ahead and make purchases.
One more lesson to take away from this ecommerce store is this: they’re very consistent with their content on Pinterest.
It’s not enough to put out great content once in a blue moon.
Lesson: To really drive awareness and conversions from ecommerce content marketing, you need to be more consistent with posting high-quality content.
Sonia Simone of Copyblogger says it like this:It’s one thing to be able to produce a good piece of content. It’s another to keep producing quality material, week after week and month after month. - @soniasimone Click To Tweet
Another interesting content marketing approach you’d see with Topshop is how they promote their blog posts on their Facebook page — which has over four million likes.
They draw the curiosity and attention of consumers with posts like the one above without cluttering their messages with sales pitches that some customers find annoying.
Birchbox is one strong ecommerce brand making waves with content marketing.
Birchbox’s content marketing angle: Sharing quality tips about makeup, hair, and skincare.
And one of their major content channels is a beauty publication called The Magazine — where they share both articles and videos on skincare, makeup and the like.
Do a brief analysis of Birchbox.com on any web analytics tool, and you’ll see how much value this ecommerce business is gaining from The Magazine.
I used Datanyze, and as you can see below, Birchbox is ranking well for target keywords thanks to their beauty blog.
These are top keywords that Birchbox is ranking for. And most of them (keywords in the pink rectangles) are from The Magazine.
“Fishtail braid”, for instance, gets 74k searches every month, and an article in The Magazine ranks #1 for it.
Then if you look at the fishtail braid post, you’d see how Birchbox strategically sells their products beneath the post:
It’s a smart content marketing strategy.
This way, thousands of consumers from the 74,000 monthly searches for “fishtail braid” get to see Birchbox’s post and makeup products.
And this is just one of the keywords The Magazine ranks for; there are several others.
Gone are the days when salespeople are the funnel experts, manning their entire selling process and marketers were mostly doing just PR.
Lesson: Today, marketing does most of the job through content to get customers to buy from you.
Brian Halligan of HubSpot explains it like this:“And today, It is not 98% depending on what the product is, but so much of the convincing is done by your website, by social, by your content, by your videos, by all this stuff.” - @bhalligan Click To Tweet
Everyone knows Apple creates some of the best (if not the very best) mobile and desktop devices.
And they also have been in business long before content marketing became widely popular.
But then, content marketing started making headlines and Apple now exploits it as a strategy to disrupt their space.
Apple’s content marketing angle: Content with compelling customer stories and behind the scenes of Apple design teams.
Apple creates quality videos, curate podcasts on Twitter, share blog posts, and the like.
An interesting part of their content strategy is YouTube videos. They share customer stories — tagged Behind the Mac — about how users are building life-changing products and software using MacBooks.
This video above, for instance, was shot in Rwanda, where a young developer used a Mac to build an app that helps to reduce accidents in his country.
Stories like this not only promote Macs but also educate users on how best to use the product to achieve groundbreaking results.
Lesson: Content marketing can take your store to the next level.
Or as Andrea Fryrear of AgileSherpas puts it:Content marketing is kind of like a Swiss Army knife: It can do almost anything if you set it up the right way - @AndreaFryrear Click To Tweet
Get started with ecommerce content marketing
Clearly, every consumer loves great content.
And every online store featured in this post gives them that.
They attract target customers and grow revenue this way.
No wonder 60% of ecommerce marketers are taking content more seriously.
You can do the same.