How to devise a content strategy for your retail business

Meta description: A robust content strategy can help retail businesses attract and connect with customers, nurturing engagement into sales. Find out more with our 5 top tips.

Content – what does it mean?

Think of all the ways your favourite retail brands connect with you online. Blog articles, social media posts, brand and user-generated videos, emails, infographics. These touchpoints share the same aim – to provide you with relevant, valuable, engaging and consistent content, creating a connection between you and the brand in question. It’s usually not about driving you to make a purchase or become a lead there and then, but instead about building trust, winning your interest, and engaging you to interact with the brand time and time again.

Why is a content strategy important?

Consumers are inundated with marketing messages on a daily basis, from their favourite brands, brands they’ve never come across before, and from brands you’d consider competitors. Churning out ad hoc pieces of content in order to cut through this marketing noise may seem like a quick win, but the best way to connect and resonate with your customers is to develop a robust content strategy. By doing so, you can ensure that the content you deliver is relevant, engaging and customer-centric, helping you to cut through the sometimes deafening noise created by competing brands. Putting thought and effort into your content strategy from the outset will help attract customers and create lasting relationships that generate repeat sales and loyal customers.

Follow our top five tips for devising a content strategy, and you’ll be well on your way to building long-lasting customer connections that generate revenue and help you meet your business goals.

1. Be original

Relevant, timely content risks falling flat if the copy or design isn’t engaging or original. If you’re lacking in time or creativity, enlist the help of professional copywriting services or designers in order to make sure your content really stands out for consumers amid all the brand noise.

2. Have clear objectives

Your content marketing objectives should support your overall marketing and business objectives. By keeping your objectives SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound – you will be able to create a strategy that is both valid and practical. Factor in meaningful KPIs – key performance indicators – to measure your content strategy’s success, and this will enable you to make informed decisions about where to take your content next. Examples of KPIs you might want to consider are reach, click-through rate, page views, video views, downloads, social engagement (shares and comments) and time spent on your website.

3. Create personas to inform your content strategy

A good retail content marketing strategy understands that a one-size-fits-all approach to attracting and engaging customers isn’t enough. Use all of the data and insight you have available to understand and segment your current customer base. These segments can be used to focus the themes of your content and can also help to prioritise who you target based on the likelihood of them becoming future customers.

Once you have your segments defined, use them to create personas that consider who the customer is, what they do, the lifestyle they lead, what their personal and professional motivations and drivers are, the types of media they consume, their hobbies, their channel and content preferences, and their hopes and concerns. By developing personas in this level of detail,  you’ll get a much clearer picture of who your content should be reaching, the most engaging and relevant formats, and what the key messages should be.

4. Map your content against the customer journey

It’s especially important for retail brands to understand that customers don’t just have a direct click-to-buy, one-step purchase journey. Your customers will discover, consider and purchase from you in a number of ways across a variety of touchpoints. Devising a content strategy to suit a non-linear customer journey is really important for success.

Map out which content and messages your personas will find valuable at each stage of the journey, and which content type is best suited for optimum impact. Don’t forget that different call-to-actions will also be required at each stage, to inspire the desired behaviour from your audiences.

5. Audit existing content and optimise new content

Identifying what performs well in in your current suite of content, and where any gaps lie, can really help you to focus your efforts when developing new content. An audit can also bring to light old pieces of content that can be refreshed and repurposed. Running an audit on competitors is also a great way of getting ideas and inspiration for new pieces of content.

For any new pieces that you create, optimise them by getting the basics right – make sure your content has great UI and UX, is easy to explore and engage with, has great technical SEO and provides useful linking to the next steps in the customer journey.

When creating content, consider how it can be repurposed into other formats or how you might keep it evergreen, so that it is easy to refresh and keep up-to-date in the future. Use your KPIs to better understand how your personas are engaging with your work, and which pieces are proving most successful.

Follow these top five tips to creating a content strategy and you’ll be creating content that attracts profitable, engaged customers in no time at all.

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