By Ezra Firestone | March , 2019
You’ve probably heard how important content creation is if you want a successful, sustainable ecommerce brand.
But how do you create content your community actually wants to consume?
And how do you turn your content into sales?
That’s what I want to show you in this blog post.
This is a quick breakdown of the two-step content marketing strategy that I used to grow my ecommerce brand to $20 million in yearly revenue.
Choosing the Right Content
Before we talk about how to create your content strategy, first we need to clarify what a business really is.
A business, in the broadest terms, is a series of communications (your brand) directed at a group of people having a shared experience (your market). When considering what content to include in your content marketing strategy, you need to think about how you can be a part of this experience.
For Smart Marketer, our community has the shared experience of being marketers and entrepreneurs who are interested in building businesses, so for my content strategy I create content around that topic.
Meanwhile, for my ecommerce brand, BOOM! by Cindy Joseph, the shared experience is around being a woman over 40, so this is what guides every piece of content we make.
What collective experience are your customers having right now? The answer to this question is your next blog post, your next video, or the next thing you retweet to your fans.
Okay, now that you know how to choose your content, let’s get into the strategy for turning content into sales.
5 Ways to Syndicate Your Content
Once a week, you should be broadcasting one piece of engaging content that is relevant to your market.
(And this doesn’t have to be content that you create yourself. You can share curated content, too. For example, if your community is in the kitchen category, you can send them a YouTube video about knife skills.)
To get your message in front of as many of your fans as possible, you want to syndicate your content across these 5 channels.
1. Email – Once a week you should be emailing a relevant piece of content to your list. Email is such an effective marketing tool, and your goal should be to make at least 30% of your revenue from emailing your community.
2. Pixeled Audiences – Everyone who has visited your website or is a Facebook fan of your brand can be retargeted via advertising. There isn’t a blog post that goes out for any of my brands that doesn’t get advertised on Facebook.
3. Facebook Messenger – We are seeing the rise of Messenger as a major way that customers engage with our businesses. Before long, people are going to book travel, order an Uber, and (most importantly) buy products inside of Messenger. The tool we use for this is ManyChat.
4 & 5. Desktop and Mobile Push Notifications – We use PushCrew for these last two channels. It’s one tiny bit of code that you can add to your store’s backend, and it builds a list of people who opt in to receive notifications. PushCrew notifies these fans directly on their desktop or cell phone whenever you post new content, and engagement is extremely high.
Whenever we send out a new piece of content, we syndicate it on all 5 of these channels (and you should, too).
0:09 Your business is a series of communications and a group of people
0:47 Create content that relates to your customers
1:29 Once a week you should email a piece of content you are email to your subscribers
3:14 Every 6 weeks, you should run a sales campaign
4:43 As a business owner you should look at average order value
Click Here For Video Transcript
So if you look at Smart Marketer, we are having the collective experience of being interested in building businesses and being entrepreneurs and growing our businesses online and managing teams. And so what I do is I create content that relates to that topic that this group of people is experiencing, and then I make offers to that group of people that I think would be beneficial to them. Courses, software, things like that. For BOOM, it’s about the experience of being a woman over 40 in this society and what that means and what that looks like. So I create content about that particular experience that group of people is having and then I also make them offers.
And so what I’m looking for here is my Valentine’s Day Sale, and I have found it. So let’s take a look at this. So what I think a business should do, and let’s go back to face camera for just a moment, two things. Number one is once a week at minimum, you should have a piece of content that you are emailing to your subscriber database. There’s five ways that you can communicate, that a brand communicates with its customers. Number one, email. People are on your email list, you email them. Number two, pixeled audiences. Meaning they visited your website, or they’re a Facebook fan, or they’ve engaged with you in some way, and you have put a pixel on their computer which means you can target them with advertising. So two, ads. Number one, email. Number two, ads.
Number three, Facebook Messenger. It’s a new channel of communication. We’re going to see the rise of messenger as the way that we engage with businesses. You’re gonna book your travel inside of messenger, you’re going to buy your products inside of messenger apps. You’re gonna order your Uber inside of messenger apps, you’re gonna, you know, make reservations at restaurants, it’s all gonna happen. The way that your phone now has 1000 applications on it, it’s not gonna be that way. It’s gonna be one messenger app, and all these different services are gonna plug into that API. And that messenger app is Facebook Messenger. Over the next 18 months, you’re gonna watch this happen. It’s amazing.
So then there’s Facebook Messenger, there’s desktop push notifications and mobile push notifications, which most people aren’t using yet. So when you look at the fact that you’re essentially a…your content that you have is distributed through multiple communication channels. So when you talk about content strategy, I assume you’re asking what do you communicate and when and how. So those are the ways that you communicate. Whenever we have a new communication to make to our community, we email it, we send it to the folks who are subscribed to our Facebook Messenger in a Facebook Messenger push notification. We use a desktop push notification, we run ads about it, we communicate it on every channel that people are paying attention to us, we post it across all of our social channels. So what exactly should you do? Well, every six weeks, you should run a sale campaign. Every six weeks without question, without fail, you should be offering your community some kind of incentive to do business with you again. And I’ll talk to you about how to keep them engaged, and how to stay in conversation in the moment.
So here’s an example. And even if you’ve only got 50 people in your community, it’s gonna still work. It will still work if you’re doing the full process which is engage with relevant high quality content that’s interesting to that group, which we’ll talk about in a moment. And every six weeks, have some form of discount or some reason why they should engage with your products.
Here’s an example of our Valentine’s Day Sale page. It actually happened on February 17, it was a Valentine’s Day weekend sale because we didn’t get our stuff together. And we had like, you know, headline, sub-headline, call to action. It’s single item order page. So this is not actually a traditional sales page that we would do. It’s offering one item. And what we did that was interesting was we used what’s called a pre-purchase order bump. So you’ll notice that most of the time, you add a product to the cart, they go to the cart and checkout. Here what we’re doing is the product gets added to the cart when they click the Add to Cart button but instead, we drop them on a page that says, Hey, would you be interested in this other product at a discount? You can see it here, we’ve got a little bit of a progress bar going and then we have the option for them to engage with other products that are complementary or to shop our store, and then you can click Add to Cart here and it’s actually the sales over, so it’s wrong.
And one of the things that you want to be looking at as a business owner is average order value and you owe it to yourself to figure out how to have a high average order value because if you can increase the amount that people are ordering every time they buy from you, you then have more money to spend on advertising, more money to invest in better products, more money to invest in better customer support. More money to create a better experience for the people who are engaging with you. So I think you should be running a sale event once every six weeks, and I think once a week, you should be sending out or amplifying, via advertising, high quality, relevant, engaging content. It doesn’t have to be content that you can create. It can be curated content. You can find a YouTube video about knife skills for your group of people who are chefs and you could send it out, “Hey, check out this cool video we found, post it to your blog.”
So once a week, you want to send an email communication with some kind of content that is topically relevant to the conversation that the community is having. And there isn’t a business that’s out there that’s not engaging with a community of people about an experience that they’re having. That’s what businesses do. So whoever you’re serving is having some kind of experience, is some group of people, and so you want to talk to them about that.