Retail competition is stiff and businesses selling simply on price or selection will find themselves in head-to-head competition with massive sellers like Amazon and Walmart.
For many ecommerce businesses, the best way to sell more products may be to provide a better customer experience.
And content marketing — the act of creating, publishing and distributing content with the aim of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers — can be one of the best ways to provide a better customer experience.
For October, consider engaging your audience of shoppers with helpful and informative articles or videos about Halloween, Christmas gift giving, winter preparedness, cookies, and manufacturing.
In 2016, about 170 million Americans celebrated Halloween, collectively spending $8.4 billion on candy, costumes, decorations, and more, according to the National Retail Federation.
For your 2017 content marketing, this scariest of holidays is an excellent opportunity to connect with potential customers and offer some helpful how-to articles or videos aimed at Halloween celebrations.
Here is an example. Just about half of American consumers will decorate their yards for Halloween, again according to the NRF. So it makes good sense that home-supply store Lowe’s has 50 Halloween-related do-it-yourself articles on its site, including one that describes 14 different ways to carve a pumpkin.
Your Halloween content might focus on anything from do-it-yourself costumes for dogs to what food to serve at a Halloween party.
For many retailers, the Christmas holiday season will be the busiest time of the year, as consumers collectively spend nearly $700 billion in the United States alone.
Some of these gift-giving shoppers will know exactly what they want to buy, but others will welcome your advice.
For your October content marketing campaigns, begin to publish specific Christmas gift guides that correspond to the products you sell in your store.
When possible, try to have an editorial hook for your content rather than just publishing a list of products. For a somewhat unorthodox example, see TheStreet.com’s “Mistress Gift Guide.”
Another content-marketing focus for October could be on preparing for winter. Here are some example article titles or video topics you might choose.
- A men’s clothing store could publish “Three Ways to Wear Winter Coats.”
- An online jewelry shop might post “5 Cold-weather Jewelry Care Tips to Keep Your Gems Glowing.”
- A kitchen supply retailer could write “7 Tips for a Well-stocked Winter Pantry.”
Inspiration for your winter-related content could come from established publishers, well-known retailers, or even on YouTube.
Finally, remember to give your content a little “tilt,” that special something that differentiates what you publish from everything else available.
As the Content Marketing Institute puts it, your tilt will be your “unique perspective on your content niche.” And it will be your tilt that will keep your audience coming back.
Watch Eric the Car Guy explain how to winterize your vehicle and see if you think he has a unique tilt. Is he someone you would watch again? Why or why not?
There are a number of unique holidays in October, including National Homemade Cookies Day.
It would seem it is not enough that Americans will consume truckloads of candy on Halloween, the last day of October. They must also eat soft and wonderfully chewy cookies on the first day of the month.
Perhaps the most direct way to use National Homemade Cookies Day in your content marketing is to simply offer your best recipe or advice.
For example, Ashley HomeStore, a furniture and home decor retailer, published “5 Tips for Great Homemade Cookies” to commemorate this holiday in 2015.
My final content marketing idea for October focuses on manufacturing.
National Manufacturing Day was created with the aim of both informing consumers about the importance of manufacturing in their communities and inspiring new manufacturing businesses.
For retailers, this could be a good opportunity to showcase suppliers and discuss how and where products are made. The focus may be on the manufacturing process, on the people who own or operate the manufacturing business, or on why a retailer chose a particular supplier. It is also perfectly acceptable to apply a bit of storytelling flare.
Men’s apparel store Mr. Porter, for example, does a masterful job of showcasing its suppliers in interesting ways.
For other inspiring examples from Mr. Porter, see: