This is an overview of digital and content marketing for tea companies who would like to grow their business.
A marketing strategy starts with a clear understanding of why you’re in business and how your company delivers value to your customers.
You need to have a clear mission, vision and values, and a clearly defined value proposition and purpose. A strategy is the rock on which you build your tea company. Beyond understanding your tea business’s unique particulars, a great strategy shows an understanding of your target customers, competitors and market, and your place within the market. Perhaps most importantly, your strategy provides the context for making choices in spending your scarce resources.
Branding goes far beyond your logo, which is your visual identity. Branding is the perception of your tea business within the market, including your imagery and content.
Great branding is consistent from a potential customer’s first impressions through to their post-purchase experience. Diving into your tea company’s values, voice and personality isn’t something you do every day; bringing it to life is. You need to be clear on three aspects of branding: positioning, communication guidelines, and visual standards.
A digital marketing strategy is broader than a content marketing strategy as it takes into account things like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and analytics.
Content marketing is creating and sharing materials online that doesn’t explicitly promote your tea brand but stimulates interest in your products or services. A content marketing strategy is more specific; it defines who your audience is and what types of content you will produce, among other things.
When your tea business thinks about content marketing, you should conceptualize it as three buckets. First, you need to decide how you want to invest in content marketing and create appropriate documents. Second, you need to gain a solid understanding of the content building blocks and how to use them. Finally, you articulate and act on the ongoing focus areas within your tea company’s content marketing efforts.
"As a digital marketing professional, specializing in serving tea companies, I have a unique perspective into the challenges retail tea businesses face communicating their brand and differentiating their product line. After examining over 150 tea retailers’ sites, one crucial marketing issue in the tea industry is an abundance of weak, relatively homogeneous content. Recipes abound, but insightful, well-researched, credible content is scarce. This means that many tea brands miss the opportunity to connect with their audience in topics they are interested in, such as tea’s health benefits. However, this void is an opportunity for actors across the tea vertical -such as farms, wholesalers, associations and retail brands- to capture traffic and grow the market and their bottom line by stepping forward to provide exceptional content to their audience."
Founder, Steeped Content
Upfront Investment in Content Marketing
The upfront investment your tea business makes in content marketing can be broken down into three parts. First, you need to create a content marketing strategy. Second, you need to consider if and how you’re going to use storytelling on your tea company’s website. Third, you need to specify what role research, content creation, and content curation will play in your content marketing efforts.
Storytelling codifies the values of a culture, explores the conflicts faced by people, and examines identity. Stories are tools that enable the story sender and the story receiver to make an emotional connection and can create empathy. Because our decision-making process is, in part, based on emotions, being able to use stories to shape decisions through influencing emotions is a powerful force.
Stories can give meaning to objects, allowing businesses to create more intangible value in their products. Emotions drive a measure of our decision-making process, and storytelling is a powerful tool that tea businesses can use to drive sales.
“About pages on websites usually speak about the founder's spark, which created the company. Two opportunities to further enrich such pages exist,” advises Steeped Content’s Mackenzie Bailey.
“If a brand’s purpose and proposition are clear, it can be reduced to a single adjective; Steeped Content’s adjective is transformation.
✔ First, you want to define your brand’s adjective with draconian simplicity, then include that specific adjective in your About page.
✔ Second, you want to cement your brand in the eyes of consumers as instantly understandable. You can do this by incorporating a brand archetype and storytelling techniques on the About page. Steeped Content, for example, reflects the magician archetype.
You want to ensure your unique adjective and archetype are reflected in the About page and aligned with your content marketing strategy.”
Founder, Steeped Content
The Five Content Building Blocks
A blog post is a piece of writing or other items of content posted on a blog; they are foundational, textual assets.
“Tea bloggers serve as an important bridge between consumers and the industry. Specialty tea is still a tiny section of the market, so there is a wide gap in product knowledge.”
2) Email Marketing
Email is a channel for direct marketing to promote your business’s products to an engaged collection of subscribers. It plays a vital role in driving customer engagement and purchases, and is one of the most powerful tools for generating long-term brand awareness and product demand. Businesses need to build in-house expertise or work with a digital marketing consultant to leverage email marketing.
Newsletters are a type of email that informs your audience about a product, promotion or content of which your brand wants to make them aware. Newsletters are opt-in.
Images are visual assets produced for digital display. For content marketing, images include photos, illustrations and infographics. Images are highly-shareable visual assets, particularly infographics.
Video is a recording of moving visuals made and distributed digitally. They are high-engagement visual assets.
Podcasts are a digital audio file made available on the Internet and often downloadable. Podcasts are delivered as a series of new instalments that subscribers automatically receive.
“I don't have a separate purpose for the podcasts, it's pretty much the same content as the website but just in audio form. The difference is that I prefer to have a recorded interview instead of just showing the text.”
Blogger and Podcaster
My Japanese Green Tea
Areas of Ongoing Focus in Content Marketing
Writing, Editing and Updating Content
Several factors go into writing well, such as writing in an active voice, being concise, and making your information accessible to your reader. Editing is a crucial element in creating strong content, and this is where copywriting expertise can be hugely valuable to tea businesses looking to produce high-quality written content.
Updating previously published content is a crucial tactic in search engine optimization (SEO); 34% of bloggers say that updating content produces strong results. Indisputably, Google likes fresh content and has a special QDF (query deserves freshness) ranking factor, giving prominence to new content in search engine visibility. Updating old content by making material changes can also signal a degree of freshness to Google.
Hiring an expert, such as myself, for updating your blogs is advantageous because competition for keywords and your domain score (the ‘strength’ of your website) changes over time. Working with an expert ensures you’re most likely to get the best results in search.
Older blog posts that are well written and content-rich can account for substantial traffic to a site. For example, HubSpot, a pioneer of inbound marketing, found that 70% of their site's traffic came from posts not published that month.
For tea businesses launched by non-native english speakers, writing naturally and masterfully in english can be challenging. If your target market is english speakers, it’s worthwhile to work with a copywriter whose native language is english. To this end, I provide some pro-bono copywriting services for tea farms and tea factories when possible. If you feel that you may be a good candidate for this free service, please reach out to me. I think it’s important to elevate the tea industry as a whole, so volunteering my time and talent is something I do when I have the capacity.
Analytics is the decision support tool your tea company needs to analyze and understand how your brand is performing on various digital marketing channels. Regular reporting and action are required. The two most important metrics are total traffic and conversion rate; focus on these.
First, you need a clear line of sight on your visitors and overall traffic levels to know how people behave on your website.
Second, you need to have a clear understanding of your tea site’s traffic sources. Understanding traffic sources give you insight into where your visitors are coming from and which of your promotional channels, keywords and campaigns are working well for you.
Third, you need to have insight into your content performance. This means understanding which are your top-performing pages and what pages are increasing and decreasing in traffic. You want to protect and expand your pages “market share,” so your tea brand is positioned to grow.
Finally, you need an expert obsessed with conversions because total traffic multiplied by your conversion rate equals your success.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) increases the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. SEO is broad and breaks down into three distinct buckets: technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. Your website needs expertise and regular action in each of these three aspects of SEO to be successful.
Search engines can be a stable source of consistent traffic. SEO requires technical knowledge, upfront investment, careful writing, time, and backlinks for a successful site. It’s a long-term commitment, but it is enduring value to your brand awareness and the bottom line is considerable when achieved.
Keyword research is a core SEO task involving identifying popular words and phrases that people enter into search engines, like Google. Keyword research aims to figure out what keywords your tea company should try to rank for.
You should select keywords based on search volume, competition, relevance, and attainability. All of your content marketing should align with keywords most beneficial to your tea company. Whether you deliver the content on your eCommerce site pages, blog posts, videos or infographics, your keywords and topics of focus should align with your overarching strategy.
Guest posting is writing and posting on someone else’s website’s blog. As a successful tea business, your content should not be limited exclusively to your website. You should make high-quality content and give it to relevant blogs within the tea industry. Doing so is good for your branding and SEO. It allows you to put your tea company’s message in front of a new audience and deepens your relationship within the closely connected tea industry.
Public relations and press coverage are great opportunities for link building, which your tea business should be aware of. Skillful content marketing treats press coverage as a vital business pipeline. Internet press coverage is incredibly valuable to smaller, growing tea brands because it gives you an appearance of public legitimacy.
Post-Purchase Marketing Opportunities
Post-purchase behaviour is how your customer thinks, feels, and acts after buying something from you. How customers feel about your tea companies’ brand and products purchased will affect whether they (and those to whom they speak) will make purchases from your brand in the future.
Post-purchase marketing is an opportunity to manage the influence of a customer's voice when they speak about your products. The goal of post-purchase marketing is to turn existing customers into brand advocates through reviews and social sharing.
Excellent content marketing strengthens post-purchase marketing. By curating content, such as reviews and social media posts, a tea company can amplify your customers’ satisfied voices.
Social media connects your tea business with your audience to drive website traffic and build your brand. It’s a powerful tool in a tea company’s marketing arsenal. Exceptional social media marketing enables sales, strengthening your position in the market.
Use social media to build real relationships with high-value connections gradually and authentically. As a tea business, you need to find specific people to connect with, including prospects, bloggers, influencers and journalists.