Content Marketing for Business: Elevate Your E-Commerce Brand | Colin Scotland | Skillshare

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Content Marketing for Business: Elevate Your E-Commerce Brand

teacher avatar Colin Scotland, Marketing Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Creating Unforgettable Experiences


    • 3.

      Setting Up Content Goals


    • 4.

      Making Decisions that Drive Sales


    • 5.

      Telling Your Brand Story


    • 6.

      Putting Content to Work


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Create unforgettable experiences that elevate your e-commerce brand with marketing coach and lifelong student of marketing Colin Scotland! 

How can your content marketing result in exciting and compelling customer experiences? It all begins with understanding the customer journey. Join Colin as he shares his critical success factors for creating and delivering content with intent to drive e-commerce sales. 

Together with Colin, you will learn how to:

  • Craft compelling content that supports the customer journey
  • Create and achieve content goals for your e-commerce brand 
  • Understand what customers need to believe in order to make a purchase 
  • Tell your brand story in a way that resonates with customers 

Whether you’re a new or seasoned content marketer, this class will equip you with the tools to influence buyer decisions for your brand. 


Colin’s class is designed for students of all levels.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Colin Scotland

Marketing Coach


Hello, I'm Colin.

I lectured in Marketing Communications for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in the UK. 

I've built multiple online businesses, one of which went from zero to £4 million in annual revenue (before it failed spectacularly in 2013).

I’ve since built a thriving marketing coaching and training business where I teach mission-driven entrepreneurs to become the truest version of themselves online and in their marketing.

My mission and purpose (as Seth Godin wrote) is to “help others become who they seek to become”.

Read my story here.

See full profile

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1. Introduction: I've spent a lifetime studying how we can influence the buying decision with content, without message, without communication, and how that drives purchase decisions in e-commerce. Today's class is all about how to elevate your e-commerce brand with content marketing. Good day, I'm Colin. I'm a marketing coach and lifelong student of marketing. I also built an e-commerce business along the way to multiple millions in revenue, and that developed a real solid understanding of what it takes to drive that purchase decision in the world of e-commerce. My goal for you in today's class is that you have some light bulb moments that really illuminate, on a whole new level, how you can utilize content marketing to the benefit of your e-commerce brand. We're going to look at how you can craft really exciting and compelling customer experiences across the entire brand. We're going to look at goal setting in the context of e-commerce, and then it's going to get really exciting because we will be looking at the all-important chain of beliefs, the things that actually cause people to make a decision to purchase. We're also going to look at how different types of content can play their role within that e-commerce journey, and you're going to leave with all the skills necessary to put this to work for you. I'm so excited to share with you the critical success factors in creating and delivering a content marketing campaign that works beautifully in the context of e-commerce. Let's get to it. [MUSIC] 2. Creating Unforgettable Experiences: I love to focus on showing people how to create content with intent. Let's start by looking at a quick definition of content marketing. In his book, Get Content, Get Customers, Joe Pulizzi defines content marketing as, "How a brand creates, delivers, and governs original or curated content to attract and retain customers. Positioning the brand as a credible expert, and ultimately motivating a change in behavior." As marketers, we're faced with a really fascinating and interesting problem. How do we craft content that compels people to move into action? We look at the model of consumer behavior, awareness, consideration, decision, and then advocacy. The thing that happens after we've made the purchase. Our goal now then as marketers is to take account of that entire breadth of journey and to craft compelling content that supports the journey. What are we doing here? We are nurturing, we are fostering, and we are building meaningful connections with our stakeholders. How are we doing that? Well, we're being there for them in their moment of need, when their car breaks down, we're there with the right information, when they sat on their sofa with their family, we're there with entertaining, interesting information that engages them. Guess what? When it comes to making that decision, to buying that product, to buying that service, our brand stays at the top of mind for these people. The customer journey, we start with awareness like we've spoken about. We have awareness of a problem. I'm driving in my car, I'm not thinking about issues with cars. Then boom, the engine blows up, and now all of a sudden, I have a problem I need to deal with. Then once we are aware of what scope of our problem, of the thing that we need to solve, we move into the consideration phase. This is where we go into the process of information searching, of googling, asking questions about our friends and our relatives, and we go into the process of assessing our options. Then we move in to the whole decision phase. This is where the rubber meets the road, and this is where we put things in our basket. We go to check out and we actually make the decision. In e-commerce, we have such a powerful way of influencing that part of the process. We can introduce related items. We can introduce up-sell items, down sell items. We can cross-sell, up-sell, all of these wonderful things. When we move from that decision phase into the final phase, which is advocacy, how can we make them feel part of the family? What does that look like? How do we encourage community involvement? How do we encourage engagement after they've made a purchase? Because we are not just looking at customer satisfaction, which is an amazing thing to look at in the first place. But also at the same time, we can develop advocates, we can develop ambassadors, so that when people are at the front of the decision-making process, just figuring out that they have a problem, guess what? All of the friends and their family that they speak to in the evaluation information-gathering phase, they go into talk about our brand. They go into share their experience, that delightful experience with what it is that we do and what we offer. There is a whole circle of life in this process of content marketing, it is not in any way just about creating content. It's about supporting the entire cycle of the customer journey throughout their experience of the brand. Then really interestingly, we can extend this to the stakeholders because look, as a marketing team, we don't exist in isolation. We exist with interactions from our senior teams above, with the people that we interact with other departments, maybe in research, in product development, in sales, in all of these different arenas. It's really important that we, as marketers, are able to communicate the importance of meaningful connection, but also of creating content with intent and having the information that we need to support that all important purchase decision. But when we focus all of the business's energy on that customer journey, wow, fireworks. That's when the magic happens because we're able to create this wonderful drive throughout the entire organization. Towards, guess what? Towards that customer experience, towards creating amazing experiences around our brand. That gives people a beautiful, warm, fuzzy feeling inside when they think of who we are and what we do, that gives people that impetus, that drive, and that motivation to want to shout from the rooftops about how amazing we are because we're all here for them. This is the power of what you're learning here. This is the power that really lies in your hands when it comes to crafting compelling content. I'd love for you to take that journey, that awareness, consideration, decision, and advocacy, and use the worksheet provided. Create a list of potential content ideas of identifying stakeholders, people that you need to bring along in the process. People that you'll need to interact with and get information from. But also ideas for how we can craft. Sometimes different, sometimes entertaining, sometimes more informative. We'll go into the types of content later. But for now, I just love you to have a brainstorm so that you can start those brain cogs turning in this wonderful world of content creation. 3. Setting Up Content Goals : When we look to create content with intent, when we look to craft compelling content marketing, it's really vital that we understand and appreciate how we're going to measure what it is that we create. There's no point in us putting our time and energy into things if we can't measure it, if we can't know what difference it made, if we don't have an indication of the success. So it's really critical that everything that you do sits with inside goals and objectives so that you have a clear indication of what works, what doesn't work. So that we can do more of what works and less of what doesn't. It really is that simple. A consideration that we have in this process is to make sure that the objectives that we set as a department, as a marketing team, that they fit within the overall corporate objectives, departmental objectives, because our goal as marketing is to support the bigger picture, to support all of our colleagues, all of the departments, all of the locations in the energy and the effort that they're putting in to make sure that we all grow, that we are a rising tide that raises all ships. So often when it comes to content marketing objectives, we have to have a variety of objectives that cover a breadth of these possibilities. Some ideas for goals and objectives that you can consider and put into the mixed traffic so we can look at how we're driving traffic with our content. This could be organic, it could be paid. Some examples of profile-based goals, the perception of the brand. How do we measure perception? How do we improve the reputation of the brand? We can look at things like engagement. We can look at things like reach. We can look at things like our numbers on social channels, our audience sizes, our traffic to the website. All of these things can play an important part in setting those metrics. It's all about motivating a change in behavior, remember, and so that change in behavior could be as simple as a perception. That's really important because it's that position that we occupy in people's minds that makes all the difference at that point of decision. Then the other category of goal-setting is conversions. This is where we get down and dirty with the e-commerce numbers. We look at things like our AOV, average order value. We look at our LTV, lifetime value. So this is where it becomes really exciting in the world of e-commerce. We take the average order value and we ask the question, what can we do? How can we create content that will support the increase in average order value across the business? There has a great goal. Then lifetime value, so if a client buys from us now and they spend a $100, but then they repeat purchase in three months and then again in six months, we have a lifetime value there that is much bigger than the initial average order value. So how much does a client spend? Does a customer spend with us over their lifetime? We've got the awareness, consideration, decision, and advocacy part of this. How do we measure people going from one thing to the next? How can we measure the journey? How can we measure the conversion rate across different phases of the journey? It might be traffic to lead where we catch their e-mail address. It might be email subscribers to purchase. It might be numbers of repeat purchase. How do we measure them? Let's put some numbers against them, and then we can make some smart goals to make improvements but you've heard the term smart, right? Because these objectives need to be specific. Not just increase average order value, but to increase average order value from what to what. Make it specific, make it measurable. So if we're going from this to this, we can measure that. We can say have we got there? Have we made that difference? Have we made that increase? Has it worked? Have we achieved our goal? It's measurable, make it actionable. So is it something that we can do, right? Don't pull some numbers out of the air that we can have zero influence on. We're not going to grow our average order value by 1000 percent. Look at incremental growth. Look at how you can make small achievements that rise the tide. Then the final one is time-bound or timescale, give yourself a deadline because goals and objectives without deadlines often fall flat or they don't get achieved. So what I'd love for you to do is to put this into action. Look at traffic, look at profile, and look at conversions, and consider which objectives, numbers, metrics, which measurements are going to give you the best things to focus on. At the same time, always ensuring that we're fitting in with the overall overarching corporate departmental objectives. We are elevating the brand with the content that we create. When we do it in a meaningful way, when we focus on the journey, that journey becomes your scaffold now, your structure for everything. How does it fit in that journey? How can we tie what that department's doing with our advocacy campaign? How can we tie what that department's doing with our awareness content creation efforts and so you're always looking for those interactions, those interplays now between departments, between locations, and between product groups and ranges, however your business structured and organized. So this is why in lesson 1, I asked you to begin that process of brainstorming who those stakeholders are, who those departments are, and some ideas of content because guess what? This isn't a set-and-forget thing for you. This is a working process, a working document that you will return to and keep working on and with to develop amazing content over time. 4. Making Decisions that Drive Sales: Remember, we talked about the awareness consideration, decision, and advocacy framework. I'm going to say that so many times that you're going to be fed up with me. But I want it to drill into you the importance of creating content with intent and linked to that is what we touched on earlier. It's the actual decision-making process and it's called the chain of beliefs. This is where you get to ask a really important question. What do our customers need to believe in order to make a purchase? Gets you to look at the customer journey for an entirely different perspective, which is a good thing. Because now you are focusing on the customer journey in the eyes of the customer. How do we need to make people feel? What thoughts and beliefs are we looking to introduce? If you can focus on this chain of beliefs, these things people need to believe in order to buy our products and services and become advocates of the brand and all of these different phases. Wow, such power lies in your hands because you are able to provide content that encourages those beliefs, encourages, and educates, and informs, and persuades people of the most important things. Not about how cool you are, how amazing your brand is. No. This is a flip of that. This is looking entirely through the eyes of your client. What do they need to know? What do they need to believe? What do they need to hear in order for them to come to that conclusion themselves? You're not doing any mind control here. We're not like [NOISE] what we're doing is we are entirely focusing our energy on the client, I'm crafting content that supports them having an aha moment. Because when it comes from them, it's so much more powerful. You've heard the saying you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. There's a reason for that. Horses are stubborn. People are stubborn. How much more powerful will it be for us if we craft our marketing knowing this? If we don't just go, hey, you, come and buy these products. Hey, you, we're amazing. Don't you want to know we're amazing? No. That's like trying to force the horse's head down to the water to make it drink. Do you think that's going to work? No, it's not going to go anywhere. I'd love for you to consider, how can you make the environment correct for the horse to drink the water. How can you set the scene from a really meaningful perspective for your clients to see you as a meaningful connection, as somebody that really has their back. My invitation to you today is to consider what that chain of beliefs could be. Because beliefs are like dominos. You can line them up and when we knock a belief down, it can lead to a domino effect, and ultimately, and Russell Brunson calls this the big domino. The big domino is, I'm going to buy that. What are other things that lead up? What are other small dominoes that lead up to that decision to making that purchase? This is such a powerful and amazing source of content for you. Who's the audience and what are their beliefs? I'm inviting you to map out who our target audiences are across all stakeholders and also to consider what those belief chains could look like to drive that pre-purchase decision within your e-commerce brand. Let's get to it. 5. Telling Your Brand Story: When it comes to actually creating the content that you by now hopefully been brainstorming ideas around and things that you could create. How you can make those circumstances and situations facilitate the movement, the conversion from one step to the next. We need to consider three things. The first is what content will we create. The second is who and the third is where. Here now we're adding a whole new layer to the process. We've looked at the whole content creation to lead the horse to water and make it drink. Now we are really getting into the nitty-gritty of how we can craft compelling stories that create that all important emotional resonance, that emotional connection, that pathos, that emotional reason for believing in our brand. This is where storytelling comes in and content plays such a powerful role in that. Don't discount it, embrace it and look at ways that you can tell stories across the entire spectrum of the customer journey. Now when it comes to the what content. Oh in the world of e-commerce there is such a beautiful opportunity for us because with products we can showcase so much. Maybe it's the origin story of the product. Maybe it's the work and energy that goes into creating this amazing thing. Maybe it's the drive and the passion that people have for creating the thing in the first place. We can showcase the impact that we have as an organization in our environment, in the eco chain, in the local communities. We can create so many stories that really help us to nurture and nourish those all important chain of beliefs. Remember those things that compel people to see our brand favorably and also to consider our brand when it comes to making that purchase or that repeat purchase as well. I love to color code so that you can see these are the contents that were creating around awareness. These are the contents that we are creating around decision etc, so that you see at a glance the whole range of content that you're creating. Then we look at the who, so who is it for? Who is it aimed at? Who is our target audience for this? Not just customers, remember we have all stakeholders within the organization. If we're creating a brand story around the use of a product then we may be looking at bringing in different expertise, different skills. We may need to coordinate across departments and different teams. There are a whole host of considerations around the actual execution. Don't miss that one out, look up who will be responsible. Then the final one is where. Where is the content going to be used? Where does it fit? What channels are we going to be using the content on? How are we going to be getting the content out into the wild? Remember it's that content that goes out into the wild that then feeds in to our objectives. Our metrics, our numbers so that we know how it's affected traffic, how it's affected profile, and how it's affected conversions. Your action here is to look at this idea, this concept of putting the content ideas into action. I call it a task map or an action plan and essentially you map out the content that you're going to create, the what, remember. Then you map alongside that the who. Who is our target avatar, our target audience, and then who is responsible? Who's going to be involved in creating the content. Then the final part is looking at the channel of where we're going to be utilizing that content. It's a beautiful way of keeping you organized and knowing what you creating. It can be something, again, like all of the work that we do here, it can be something that you add to iterate, make improvements to based on the numbers moving forward. 6. Putting Content to Work: We can create a task map, a content calendar, and a plan of action for what we're going to create, when we're going to create it, who's going to be responsible. But we haven't asked the question, well, what different types of content can we create? I'd like to address that in this lesson. The content will really fall into one of three categories. It will either be evergreen content, it will either be topical content or it will be event-based content. Now, I want to talk about evergreen content first, because the evergreen content really is the content that drives that decision, that conversion across the process that we've been speaking about. The chain of beliefs, the awareness, consideration, decision, part of the process. Advocacy, repurchase, all of those important things. The evergreen content addresses that because the things that we need to believe in order to make a purchase don't change over time. Not always, not often. They remain evergreen. They don't blossom and then fade away. The thing that causes me to believe this brand will deliver a certain experience to me today, will be the same for the next person tomorrow and the same for the next person the day after. This becomes your evergreen content. This is something that you continually add to, you continually shape and you continually work on to create a whole family. I call it an ecosystem, an ecosystem of content around your brand that really not only helps to deliver those unforgettable experiences, but it guides people along the pathway to thinking positively about your brand and also towards that all important purchase decision. The second one is the topical content. Think of this as the journalistic approach to content creation. What's happening in the moment? What's happening in the world around us? What's happening, what's trending in our industry? What's going on? How can we come and take, how can we add to the world around us with our expertise, with what it is that we do with where we focus, how can we have an impact? This is where you can bring in community. You can bring in elements of the supply chain, elements of the whole distribution flow so that we can tell stories. Remember all about stories. We can tell powerful stories in a journalistic approach to build and create that meaningful connection. Finally, we have events. Events are things that are happening, they're events, so it may be a product launch, it may be a certain campaign, it may be the introduction of our spring-summer collection. Here we can really create content that supports launches, campaigns, new products, things that are coming on the horizon. We can play a very vital role here in supporting those event-based happenings , those event-based things. Also, we can tie in to events that are happening in the world. Many things that happen in the calendar of our society that you can utilize if there is an affinity or a reason for it to match with what we're all about as a brand. We don't just want to latch on to any and every event because that defeats the object. That isn't what we talk about when we say, let's create content with intent. That's just scattered on. We don't want to scatter on approach here. What events are meaningful, what events are relevant, and what events could be useful for us, okay, because this ties in to the whole, bigger marketing picture of how we can be involved, how we could maybe sponsor or PR, type of opportunities. Think about the evergreen content first. This is your critical, this is where I would love for you to put 80 percent of your energy, 80 percent of your attention because this is the stuff that's going to drive content with intent. It's going to drive that conversion, that transaction, that metric. It's going to be the rising tide. The next is the topical, the stuff that's happening, the journalistic type content. What types of content can you create? What stories can you tell interdepartmentally, across regions within the community, and have a little brainstorm about some of those things, some of those content types that you could create that's topical. Then event-based, this is where we tie in to the timescale, to the calendar, to the schedule, because events happen at certain moments in time, and so we need to punctuate our calendar. We need to punctuate our energy and our attention with content so that it fits these events. We know this is happening on this date, the new product range is launching on this day. We can coordinate our team, our department, and the people that we need to bring in to create the content in the first place, and what you may want to do is look at the task map, your content calendar, the things that you're going to create and just add a layer in there of, is this evergreen? Is it topical, is it event? Then with this information, you can start to put times, schedules, dates, into the mix. We've got our brainstormed list, we've got our prioritized list, and now we can start to really go where the rubber meets the road and look at how we go about putting content to work. 7. Final Thoughts: We started our journey together looking at how you can craft unforgettable experiences with content marketing to elevate your e-commerce brand. We considered that content is seeking to motivate a change in behavior. Next, we looked at goal setting, how you measure the difference your efforts in content marketing make. We considered also perhaps the most important part in all of this. The decisions that drive sales, the chain of beliefs. We also looked at brand's story, the what, the who, and the where questions of what we're going to create. We looked at evergreen content, topical, journalistic content, and event-based content so that you can start to put these things into a calendar. My hope and my wish for you is that your eyes have been opened to a new way of thinking about content To a way of thinking about creating content with intent that's meaningful, that makes a difference, and elevates your e-commerce brand. You've got the skills, the tools, the frameworks to now think about this in a whole new way. My invitation to you is to take this knowledge and go and make an impact. Make an impact in how you think about marketing. Make an impact in your department, in your team, in your organization. Make an impact in the world with what you do. Thank you for watching the class. Now go elevate your brand with content marketing.