Conversions are the lifeblood of a successful online store. Period.
Otherwise, you're just another digital store owner pursuing a hobby rather than a business.
Cue, ecommerce content marketing strategy.
Digital stores that publish compelling content boast an average conversion rate of 2.9%. Whereas, websites that don’t, only achieve a crummy 0.5% in comparison.
Which category do you want to fall into?
Let’s dive into content marketing in more detail.
Why Ecommerce Content Marketing?
In the words of Seth Godin:
“Content Marketing is all the Marketing that’s left.”- Seth Godin
The man speaks sense!
You’ve heard it before- content is king. There's a reason people are screaming it from the rooftops, it's true. So, start taking action!
You can engage with potential customers in a way that boosts trust and develops a sense of brand loyalty. When done correctly, this is powerful stuff.
Let’s Get The Ball Rolling
To kickstart your content ecommerce content marketing campaign, there are a few pieces of advice you should note ( if you want to see results).
1. Avoid Distraction
All too commonly, entrepreneurs fall into the trap of becoming a jack of all trades. There’s no way you can master every social media platform and every kind of content.
To get started, pick a method you're comfortable with and stick with it. It's the only way to avoid distraction. Staying focused is imperative if you want to see conversions.
Top Tip: try asking yourself; how do I envision communicating the benefits of my product? What kind of content does my market enjoy?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you have something to work with.
However, if you don’t know where to begin, you can't go wrong with email marketing, especially if you already have an email list.
As many as 74% of successful B2C marketers utilize this method. It's a fantastic way of providing value to customers- so, get on the bandwagon!
Email Marketing 101: A Few Things You Should Know
Automation is key. Did you know services like MailChimp and Aweber allow you to send automated emails? You can schedule:
- Welcome emails,
- Promotional emails,
You name it!
The primary aim of your copy should be actionable content- your subscribers will LOVE this! Always lead from a place of service.
Obviously, customer retention is key to a successful online store; repeat customers are way more profitable than one-off purchasers.
This is where email marketing comes into its own. You're continuing to build a relationship with prospects which increases the likelihood of them returning to your shop.
Don't have an email list to kickstart your ecommerce content marketing plan?
That isn't a problem- start building one.
Insert a field for customers to enter their email address as they check out. Don’t forget to put a checkbox that gives you permission to email them in the future.
You could also create a lead magnet that encourages prospects to opt into your mailing list. For example, give away a free e-book, a cheat sheet, webinar training, etc. in exchange for their name and email address.
Then, start sending emails to customers who've abandoned their cart. Send a gentle reminder of their near-purchase. Sometimes people forget, and this triggers them to return to your store and seal the deal!
You could also send product recommendations based on their previous purchases. You've probably seen on Amazon the ‘customers who bought this item also bought this’ section. Replicate this in your recommendation emails.
2. Get Blogging
Blogging is terrific for getting up and running straight away.
Blogging and email marketing virtually go hand in hand. Like we've already said, you need something of value to message your subscribers- and what could be better than an informative article?
Top Tip: insert license-free imagery into your written content to increase engagement. Unsplash and Pexels are a couple of the best databases for these kinds of photos.
Or, perhaps videos are more your thing? Never fear, embed clips you’ve already published on YouTube to build your blog (more on video marketing later).
Need inspiration for your next blog post? Check out these ideas to help get the ball rolling:
Product hacks: how can you use your products in an inventive way? Putting an innovative twist on something ordinary is a fabulous way of engaging with your following.
Interview people your audience look up to. Who do your customers admire? Look for aspects of the interviewee's story your customers will resonate with. People love this!
Checklists: Create a list that helps people use your products, or provides them with info they’re interested in.
For example, if you're selling beauty products compile a checklist helping women to master the art of contouring. Or, if you're marketing golfing accessories create a list advising golfers on how to perfect their swing.
These are punchy pieces of content, that provide value, and demonstrate you understand what your audience want and need, people, appreciate that!
Share your story. This is key to building rapport with readers. Do you have a tale to tell about why you created your company?
People love to get a sneak peek of the person behind the brand. Show you’re human by relating to the same issues your audience are dealing with. Transparency is critical for building trust.
‘How to’ posts. This style of article works like a charm. Use these to communicate your brand's story. Think about the lifestyle your customers aspire to and tell them how they can achieve that with your products.
Ann Handley says it best; ‘make your customers the her of your stories’. Put Ann’s advice into action, you’ll be thankful you did!
Don't Have the Time to Build Your Blog?
Reach out to guest bloggers.
If you don't have the writing chops to write your own blog (or don't have the time), source guest bloggers.
The majority of the pitches you receive will be pretty awful. However, the good ones will be worth their weight in gold.
Just create a page on your site labeled ‘Want to write for us?’ and include any specifications you require as well as instructions on how writers can pitch an idea.
Top Tip: if you’re on a tight budget and can’t pay your writers, let them know what’s in it for them. Explain how much traffic you generate, and give them a byline under their work. This sometimes helps sweeten the deal.
3. Content Writing Tips
Be yourself. Write in an informal, conversational tone.
Content writing for the web isn’t a High school essay. If you're struggling, imagine you’re talking with a friend. What would you say to them? Use the answer to this question to inspire your copy.
Tip No. 2: Write when you feel most creative. We all work slightly differently to one another, and that's okay. Create time in your schedule to sit down to write when you’ll have the energy for it.
4. What About SEO?
When crafting a blog post, bear SEO in mind.
Optimizing written content on your store is both an easy and affordable way of making search engines work for you.
Over time, you’ll eventually rank organically for search terms your customers type into Google. However, you’ll need to do a few things to make this happen:
This is essential.
Use Google Keyword Planner on Google Adwords (which is completely free by the way) to get a feel for what your ideal customers are searching for.
Ideally, you're looking for a keyword with a high search volume that isn’t too competitive to rank for.
Your Content Should Always Sound Natural
Write for humans, not for robots.
Yes, SEO's important- but not to the detriment of your copy.
Once you've selected a keyword, incorporate it into your content in a way that complements the text.
There are certain places you should insert keywords to make the most of SEO:
- The title and title tag
- A subheading
- The first sentence of your copy
- Within the final paragraph of text
- The meta description
- Your images (the file name and alt tag)
If you’re using WordPress, download the Yoast SEO plugin, it'll tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your SEO- it's a lifesaver!
Top Tip: NEVER ‘keyword stuff’ your work. i.e., deliberately over-using keywords in an attempt to boost your ranking. Search engines hate this, and you’ll be penalized for it.
5. Host a Contest
Contests are fantastic for engaging customers and attracting new prospects. It’s low cost, high-converting content- what could be better?!
First things first, establish an aim for your contest. Do you want to increase your email list, boost sales, grow your social media following, etc.?
Then, determine the kind of contest that'll help bring you closer to your goal. For example, if you want to boost your following on Twitter, ask participants to tweet something with a specific hashtag.
Then, all you need is a prize to giveaway, and you're ready to promote your contest!
6. Utilize Video
People are drawn to videos. Did you know as many as 45% of people watch over an hour of video on Facebook and YouTube every week? That's powerful stuff.
Whether you’re creating a video offering handy hints and tips to your customers, or showcasing the benefits of your products, videos rock!
However, it’s crucial you capture people's attention. Otherwise, your hard work will be to no avail. Your intro is key. Craft a compelling hook to entice viewers from the get-go.
Don’t be afraid to inject humor and personality into your scripts; people love being entertained as much as they enjoy learning actionable info.
Top Tip: the same rules about keyword research and SEO optimization also apply to YouTube videos.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your YouTube rankings, organically:
- Name the video file after your keyword
- Include the keyword in the title
- Mention your keyword a couple of times in your video script
- Transcribe your video into the description
- Insert your keyword and a couple of variations of it into the video tags
7. Consider Interactive Content
What are your customers struggling with?
Write a long list of their pain points (FYI this is also a great exercise for generating new blog topics) Then, think about the form of interactive content that’ll help them solve their needs the best:
- An app?
- A quiz?
- A Facebook group?
For example, if you're selling women's clothes. You may launch a quiz that tells participants the style of dress that’ll best compliment their body shape.
You get the idea!
This is an entertaining and effective way for your audience to connect with your brand.
8. Publish an FAQ's Page
An FAQ page is a fantastic resource for potential customers; they’re super handy for gently overcoming any objections your buyers have.
If you’re receiving emails asking the same questions day in and day out, note them down and add them to your FAQ’s page.
Here are a few typical questions you could publish answers to, to help get things going:
- What locations do you deliver to?
- How much is shipping?
- When will I get my delivery?
- Do you have a returns policy?
- Do you offer a guarantee?
Answering typical questions like this builds trust with your customers- honesty is always the best policy, and prospects appreciate that!
9. Don't Be Afraid to Go Big
By this we mean, long-form ecommerce content marketing is your friend.
Like we’ve already said, people want valuable information- so give it to them. Try to aim for around 1,000 words, and ensure you go into detail.
Search engines also love extended content. It suggests you've taken the time to write something of quality. Google’s starting to prioritize user experience above anything, and in-depth blogging is an excellent way of achieving that.
10. Publish Customer Testimonials
Glowing customer testimonials convert like crazy!
When you publish a good review, you're telling potential customers that other people (just like them) enjoy your products. You’re inspiring confidence in your target demographic without even writing anything!
Top Tip: email customers and see whether anyone is willing to give their thoughts on your products. You could offer them a discount on their next purchase or a freebie as an incentive. Be on the lookout for unique stories, and always ask their permission before publishing.
11. Use Infographics
Infographics are fantastic if you want to conquer Pinterest. This kind of ecommerce content marketing has a way of going viral. Always include the name of your store and logo, and make it easily shareable.
12. Keep it Real
If you’re selling products within an industry that uses complicated jargon, create a glossary that explains the terms. For example, in the digital marketing sphere, confusing phrases include:
- SEO- search engine optimization
- B2B- business to business
- B2C- business to consumer
- CTA- call to action
Just create a tab on your store listing the complex terms and define them. Newbies, love this!
13. Offer a White Paper
White papers, also known as ebooks, provide users with information about their industry. To create a high-quality white paper, you'll need to conduct a bit of research on:
- Topics your competitors are writing about
- Fresh trends in your industry
- Questions your audience needs answers to
Don't see your ebook as a work of art; avoid flowery language and unnecessary waffle at all costs. If it isn’t useful to your customers, cut it. The simpler the prose, the more people will engage with your work.
White papers position you as an authority in the industry. When people think you know what you’re talking about, they’re way more likely to buy from you!
If you want to become the go-to store in your niche, you’ll need a white paper. As your brand increases in popularity, you’ll naturally accumulate tons of backlinks to your online store. Search engines love this!
Content strategists are always looking for reliable sources of information, and they usually give credit by linking back to your site- BOOM, a backlinking strategy is born completely free of charge!
14. Test. Test. Test
Continually test your ecommerce content marketing strategies to see what works best for your audience. Never assume you're doing a good job until you have the data to back it up!
What’s your audience engaging with the most? What’s leading to conversions? Let the numbers guide your content strategy. You'll save a ton of time and make more money in the long run.
15. Create Curated Content
‘What’s curated content?’ I hear you cry.
Put simply; they’re round-up posts, and people go nuts for them! It’s where you gather content created by other people and put it together to form one knockout blog post.
However, you MUST give credit to whoever crafted the initial content- otherwise, you’ll fall into the pitfalls of plagiarism- not cool!
This method is partly what’s made BuzzFeed the powerhouse it is today.
Here are a few title suggestions that’ll hopefully inspire your first piece of curated content:
- Top 10 Products to help you achieve X
- Top 10 Quotes that’ll inspire you to X
- Top 10 stats that prove X
16. Repurpose Evergreen Content
Specific topics are always relevant to your blog, so publish evergreen content you can repurpose, and give a new slant to at a later date. This saves so much time!
You can take this a step further by editing old content and giving it an entirely different function. For example, creating an ebook by compiling a series of old blog posts. Marketers do this all the time, and it works. So, add this to your ecommerce content marketing strategy!
17. Consider Paying for Content
Not everyone can afford this, but if you can, do it.
There are two things forms of paid content you can consider.
- Hire a professional content strategist
- Reach out to social media influencers
How Do I Find a Top-Notch Content Strategist?
Be prepared to pay decent money for the services of a professional writer. Yes, you can pay pennies- but don’t expect anything special.
If you're after top quality talent, post an ad on job boards like ProBlogger, or Indeed. Or, reach out to a creative marketing agency. They'll put you in contact with fabulous content producers that’ll give your campaign a competitive edge.
So, Who Are Social Media ‘Influencers’?
In short, they’re people who already have a large social media following.
Take to Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube and find a few influencers in your industry. Then, ping them an email.
There’s a good chance you’ll need to pay them to endorse your products. Their content should never come across as salesy. Ask if they’ll take a natural shot of them using your product. This usually converts well.
18. Make a Plan
Once you’ve got a clearer idea of your ecommerce content marketing strategy, make a plan.
This is where an editorial calendar comes into play.
Your calendar will become one of your most valuable resources. Plan all the topics you want to cover and mark where and when you want to publish them.
19. Promote Your Content
It’s not enough to create knock-out features; you need to promote them. Don’t ever leave it to chance your audience will accidentally stumble across your blogs or videos.
Instead, put it in front of them- it's the only way to get the best results.
Utilize social media. Post fresh ecommerce content marketing pieces on all your social media platforms, and if you have the funds, run a paid campaign to gain more traction.
Conclusion: Ecommerce Content Marketing is the Way Forward
As you can see, ecommerce content marketing is a fabulous way of driving traffic to your store and building the authority of your brand.
We've covered a lot of information in this guide, but don't let that put you off. You can refer back to this resource as you continue to develop and fine tune your ecommerce content marketing strategy.
Our best advice is to complete three or four of these action step, to begin with. Then, follow up with the rest of them when you're in the swing of things!
Featured image by Josie Adkins