Conservation Think Tank: News, Ideas and Solutions for Energy and Water Company Thought Leaders

How to Use Content to Attract Customers to Your Online Store

Posted by Allison Sparrow

You’ve built your online store and it looks great, but now what? Many utilities and program implementers quickly realize that building a modern, optimized online store is only half the battle. How will you get people to shop there?

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Running a successful online store means making it relevant. It requires a savvy content marketing strategy to create brand awareness, engagement and, eventually, conversion to product sales.

Content that Keeps Customers Coming Back

First and foremost, you need to understand your customers’ needs, then develop content around that. What kinds of problems do your customers have? What information will help solve them? Are they confused about which LED to choose? Or are they interested in how they can lessen their carbon footprint?

Surveys, focus groups, reviews of questions asked online and interviews with field staff can help glean insights that can be used to develop an audience persona. Once you are attuned to who your reader is, you can determine what kinds of information your audience is hungry for. And then you can use that to create custom content designed to resonate and solve their problems.

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Here are four essential tips for creating content to boost traffic to your online store.

1. Make it Informative

Educate before you sell is a good rule of thumb. It’s especially pertinent to the DSM industry. According to Marketo, a marketing automation software company, 71 percent of consumers trust marketing that “provides useful information—without trying to sell them something.”

Marketing extends to customer retention, too. Sixty-two percent of consumers trust brands that provide information and tools for using products they’ve bought. If you think of content as applicable for the entire life cycle of the product, you’ll retain your customer and inspire repeat purchases.

2. Make it Trustworthy

When you put effort into educating your customer base, you prioritize building relationships. Think of it this way: You need to earn your customers’ trust before you make the sale. Taking a page from B2B sales, Marketo points out that decision-makers interact with five pieces of content before they’re ready to make a purchase.

Make sure you’re developing enough high-quality content to move customers through the marketing funnel toward a sale. Balance informative posts with promotional posts to make your relationship to your customer sticky and engaging.

3. Make it Timely

One of the hottest trends these days is real-time marketing, which references current and topical events in the copy. If you can make it timely, you make it relevant. And relevance is the currency you need to boost your traffic and visibility. Sleuth the popular searches and the trending hashtags. Tie in developing news to your products to motivate customers. Use it as call to action.

4. Make it Unique

Do your best to make your content stand out. Give helpful tips and insider information, or find an angle or perspective considerably different in scope than other available content. If you can, try to elicit an emotional response, such as surprise or urgency or relief.

And remember to make sure you have stringent standards for your content. Before it goes live, ask yourself if it solves a problem or answers a question by providing comprehensive and accurate information.

Content Builds Brand Awareness

The best content marketing allows you to build organic awareness. Become the trusted resource on energy efficient lighting or water conservation or cutting-edge weatherization strategies. Leave the sales pitch behind—it won’t help your content get widely shared. In order to boost brand awareness and trust, the focus needs to be on the customer and meeting their needs. 

The bottom line is that customers are more likely to buy from companies with whom they have relationships. To build that relationship, make your content distinctive enough to motivate people to choose—and trust—your particular utility’s brand.

Are you interested in launching your own customer-focused online store? Or do you need assistance driving traffic to an existing online store? Consider AM Conservation Group's Online Stores or standalone marketing services.

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