If you run an eCommerce store then you don’t need me to tell you that it gets harder and harder to stand out these days. But one way that smart online retailers are using to get a competitive advantage is through eCommerce Content Marketing.
So we’ve prepared a full Definitive Guide to eCommerce Marketing for you.
But if you’re pushed for time, here are the highlights.
Introduction to eCommerce Content Marketing
First up, the appearance of eCommerce websites is changing. Before it was all about in your face product focused pages but in recent years there has been a shift towards more content rich websites.
The key thing to bear in mind that it is easier to get people into the entrance of the funnel rather than straight to the checkout. That is where content helps.
In fact eCommerce Content Marketing is the sweet spot where blogging, Social Media, SEO, Link Building and even paid search all meet.
Basically, it is about positioning you as an expert rather than a salesperson.
Creating an eCommerce Content Marketing Strategy
Take me to Chapter 2 of the full guide.
Before you go jumping in and creating content willy-nilly you will need to have a plan. Here are the main components of your plan:
- Content Goals – Why are you creating content? Selling more of a particular product, building your email list, getting backlinks – these are all valid goals for your content
- Influencers – Who can help to promote your content? These are your influencers and you’ll need a list of them.
- Buyer Persona(s) – Who is your ideal customer? Create a persona for them to help you focus your content.
- Buyer Journey(s) – What are the steps your ideal client goes through to find you and choose you? The three main steps are: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.
- Content Calendar – Think about your content up front and create a schedule that you’ll stick to.
- Content Distribution Plan – Where will you post your content to? Include your own properties (website, blog) as well as external ones (guest posting, etc.).
- Content Repurposing Plan – Once you’ve created content make sure you squeeze every last drop from it. Repurposing will help you get more bang for your content buck.
- Content Optimization Plan – Finally, don’t forget to optimize all of your content.
Content for Traffic (and Authority) or Content for Conversion
Before you get stuck in, it’s worth just bearing in mind that your content can serve two main purposes:
- To get more Traffic – here we are looking for links and building Authority
- To get more Conversions – here we are looking to increase sales by improving conversion rates
These are totally different goals but equally important. Let’s take a look at each in turn.
Content For Traffic (and Authority)
Take me to Chapter 3 of the full guide.
If you are looking to increase traffic then your focus is on the following:
- Build backlinks
- Get social shares
- Build relationships with Influencers
There are proven Content Frameworks which can help you achieve this. Let’s look at them in turn:
Definitive (or Ultimate) Guides
These are long form content based on demonstrating Authority. Think of them as curated work as you link out to high quality content created by your Influencers.
Try to go narrow rather than too broad (eg: engagement rings rather than jewellery) and don’t confine yourself to one subject. Someone needs to be the expert – it might as well be you.
Despite all the naysayers, Guest Blogging is a great way to reach out to Influencers and build relationships with them and their audience. It also helps to get valid backlinks to your site or your content.
Just choose the right targets and use the right approach as we explain in our full length guide.
List Based Content
The top 50 this, the top 40 uses of that. Whatever way you look at it, list based content is fun, easy to create and popular. Just think of an angle and off you go. People love to share this type of stuff on social media.
Get the experts involved in the content creation process and you’ve got a much better chance of getting them involved in sharing it too. A proven strategy for getting backlinks and social sharing.
Awards and Recognition
Everyone loves to win a gong – even experts and influencers. Don’t overdo this one though, but a perfect way to reach out to key influencers and get on their radar.
Your target audience is looking for impartial guidance and expert advice. Comparison content allows you to do this whether in written, graphic or video/animated format.
They have been overdone in recent years but Infographics (when done well) can create a real buzz around your business.
Contests can be a fun, engaging way to spread the word about your business and get new leads from social media onto an email list. They also don’t require a great deal of time or effort as some other forms of content.
Content for Conversion
Take me to Chapter 4 of the full guide.
Now that you have the visitors you can focus on improving your conversion rate. This type of content may seem less sexy than Traffic focused content but don’t be fooled by that. Increasing conversions by a few percent can have a more significant effect than a couple of percent increase in traffic.
Again, there are some proven content frameworks to choose from:
How to Guides and Buyer’s Guides
This type of content is really useful to position you as an expert. It is easy to create and is perfect for busy prospects who don’t have the time to go and research all of the options. BY creating this type of content you can set the benchmarks against which the competition is measured.
It is a known fact that videos can have a significant, positive impact on conversions and they can be used for a variety of products and services. If you sell products then an easy way to start is unboxing videos – they are huge these days.
What better way to demonstrate that you can deliver what you say you can then with a Case Study using an existing client? The beauty of Case Studies is that they are results focused and they use the language of your client. Pure sold Gold!
User Generated Content (UGC)
Again, whether videos of your product in use or genuine testimonials (especially video) UGC is the authentic voice of your clients and a powerful form of social proof spoken in the language that they speak, not what you think they want to hear.
No longer a nice to have, reviews are essential for any eCommerce business. But you need to be in the habit of asking for them. Whilst they have limited SEO value, getting genuine reviews on a range of different review sites is an important activity that you should commit to.
eCommerce Content Marketing – The Visual Aspects
Take me to Chapter 5 of the full guide.
Once you’ve got your content, don’t ease off and think that it’s all done. When it comes to Content Marketing visuals are really important. It helps explain why almost two thirds of all social media content contains images.
Repurposing your content visually also means that you extend the reach of your content by appealing to different audiences.
Here are some options to consider:
Inexpensive to prepare, slides can be used for traffic by uploading to slide sharing sites like slideshare as well as for conversion by appearing on your own site.
PDFs have limited SEO value, but some people just can not get enough of pdfs so they are a great way to either build a list, create Authority or for improving conversion when used as a Buyer’s Guide.
Video is a great way to either showcase your products or to complement an in depth guide you’ve created. Perfect for both traffic and conversions.
Nowadays people tend to think of audio as the poor relation of video, but podcasting is here to stay and is a popular format. It’s easy to create and host and some people just prefer spoken content to visual content.
Sure, we’ve covered Infographics as a content framework in their own right, but they can be used to complement written content and help it stand out from the crowd.
Distributing and Promoting Content
Take me to Chapter 6 of the full guide.
Now that you’ve got some great content that looks fantastic you’re almost there. But there is still an important stage remaining – getting eyeballs on your content.
It’s a bit like taking your content on a roadshow and there are three channels available to you:
- Owned – these include your website, your blog, your social media channels – anything that you have the password for basically
- Earned – these are your Influencers and guest post opportunities. They hold the keys and a share or a link can make all your hard work pay off
- Paid – You can promote your content via pay per click or paid social or stay on people’s radar with re-marketing
Finally, we’ve included some world class examples of eCommerce Content Marketing to inspire you.
So do you use Content Marketing? Let us have your thoughts below.