Imagine if one marketing strategy could completely change your relationships with your customers. With ecommerce content marketing, that dream can become a reality.
There’s a reason the phrase “content is king” — first coined by Bill Gates in his 1996 essay — has been used so much to describe the benefits of content marketing that it has become tiresome.
A strong content marketing strategy for ecommerce has the power to draw organic traffic to your website, nurture leads, and convert those leads into a strong base of paying customers loyal to your brand.
What is content marketing for ecommerce?
Ecommerce content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating, curating, and distributing digital content to benefit your ecommerce business. Ecommerce content marketing aims to provide genuine, tangible value to current and potential customers by providing information about products and services.
Good content marketing is all about getting into the heads of your customers. It’s about considering what piques their interests, what questions they’re asking, and what content they’re searching for, and then providing content pieces to meet those needs.
Ecommerce content marketing can be used in:
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Emails and newsletters
- Television and radio
Less important than where the content takes place is how the content is being used.
Ecommerce content marketing is designed to nurture leads and move them along the sales funnel without directly promoting products. Instead of promotions, ecommerce content marketing pieces promote ideas. They include tips and tricks, answers to customers’ questions, and feel-good pieces about how your company interacts with the world.
Why content marketing is important for ecommerce strategy
Ecommerce content matters because it makes your brand more visible to potential customers.
The marketing rule of seven suggests that it takes an average of seven interactions with a brand before customers will take action. When you create content, you create more reasons for people to choose to interact with your brand.
Content creation is a time to showcase your brand’s honesty, authenticity, and transparency to build a reputation as a brand your customers can trust. The key is to create content that genuinely benefits your customers’ lives.
A good selection of content on your website can also improve organic traffic acquisition. Search engines drive a large portion of online traffic. Nearly 30% of online traffic starts with search engines. By answering key questions and targeting keywords that your customers are most likely to search for, you can capitalize on these searches and bring customers to your website.
How to create an effective ecommerce content marketing strategy
Ecommerce content marketing doesn’t happen by itself. Like all ecommerce marketing strategies, it takes careful planning to make the most out of content marketing. Your ecommerce content marketing strategy should include a variety of marketing channels and content types to engage your target audience while positioning you as a brand they can trust.
The best way to create this effective ecommerce strategy is to use a variety of methods to ensure that customers can find your content and that the content provides genuine value to them once they engage with it.
1. Focus on improving search engine optimization (SEO)
Before you can launch an ecommerce content marketing campaign, your first step should be getting a handle on search engine optimization (SEO). SEO improves organic search results because it empowers people to find your products while actively seeking answers to a question.
To make SEO work, first, start with an intentional website design. Since a high percentage of online searches originate from mobile devices, search engines prioritize mobile-optimized websites. Google Search Console is an excellent tool for helping you find SEO issues on your website and correct those issues to make your site easier to crawl and more in tune with what searchers need.
Once you’ve optimized your website, the next tip is to develop a list of short-form and long-form keywords. A strong keyword research strategy can help you update current content on your website and serve as a guide for future content creation.
Keep a running list of which keywords you’re targeting on your website, and be sure that you don’t target the same main keyword in multiple articles. If you do, you’ll compete with yourself for top-tier search engine traffic. When you run content audits, find any articles ranking for the same keywords and see what you can do to combine those articles into one longer, more expansive piece of content. Remember to redirect old URLs to your new website so that any linkbacks attached to older content route readers to your latest content instead.
2. Diversify your content marketing ecommerce channels
Ecommerce content marketing isn’t limited to writing strong blog posts. While blogs have their place, they’re only one element of the suite of ecommerce marketing channels at your disposal. To get the most out of this marketing strategy, it’s best to integrate as many of these channels as possible, all while sending the user back to your website to purchase a product. This could include:
- Improving how you use social media with ecommerce, whether that’s upping your Facebook game or starting a TikTok channel
- Starting an ecommerce newsletter that you send out to email subscribers
- Putting together a regular podcast that your audience can listen to for tips and tricks
- Creating informational videos
- Establishing FAQ sections on your website
The more channels you use to provide content to your audience, the more likely you are to cement yourself in their minds as a trustworthy brand they can feel good about investing in. This means that your brand will come to mind ahead of your competitors when they have a problem or need a solution in your industry.
3. Integrate multimedia marketing strategies
Along the same lines of diversifying the type of content you create, you should also diversify how your content appears by integrating multimedia options into your content. Pictures, gifs, infographics, videos, and other visuals can make your content more aesthetically appealing and increase audience engagement.
Creating video content can be a significant boon for ecommerce content marketing teams. According to Forbes, the most engaging video content is both interactive and convenient. Customers should be able to pause video content or skip ahead to the section of a video most relevant to them. Using time tags can make it easier for your viewers to skip through video content to locate the information they’re looking for. This helps your customers benefit more from the video content you create.
Ecommerce video content may include:
- Product demonstrations and tests
- How-to videos
- Answers to FAQs
- Unboxing videos
- Assembly instructions
Other ecommerce video marketing tips include making video content accessible with closed captioning options, keeping videos under ten minutes for maximum scannability, and making genuine and informative content.
Images can have another impact on ecommerce content marketing efforts. While stock images used to be enough to break up the text, today, using original photos and infographics in ecommerce content marketing is becoming the norm. Ecommerce marketing tools like PicMonkey, Canva, and Visme can help your company develop original graphics even if you don’t have a dedicated visual content creator on your team.
4. Cluster topics in your ecommerce content strategy
Brands are never just one thing — and they rarely have just one message to promote.
Consider, for example, a brand like Adidas. Although they specialize in shoes, they have numerous people to market toward. They need to market to serious runners, but they also need to market to stay-at-home moms who like to hit the gym in the afternoons and to kids looking for the best sneakers for gym class.
Each of these topics can fit into a content strategy for ecommerce — but they can’t all squeeze in simultaneously. It can be helpful for marketing teams to build topic clusters and then design marketing campaigns around each topic separately. In the above example, Adidas might have one back-to-school campaign to sell sneakers to kids, another drive in the summer months to entice runners, and a third campaign just after the holidays to advertise to people who have made fitness a yearly resolution.
Clustering content topics also makes it easier to organize blog posts on your website and to suggest similar content to readers once they’ve finished a post.
You can also write several smaller topics throughout the year, which you can advertise on social media as separate pieces. When you have enough of those smaller articles within a topic, you can put them together into a long-form content piece that is up-to-date and covers your topic in great depth. This is an easy way to create content pieces that far surpass their competitors without having to write a ten thousand-word article upfront.
5. Write high-quality evergreen content
Evergreen content is a term for content that will still be relevant a few months or even a few years down the road. While timely content can provide hype for your brand, evergreen content will continue drawing in organic traffic at a consistent pace. An ecommerce content marketing strategy focused on creating high-quality evergreen content protects your brand from the rise and fall of trends in your market.
To make the most of your evergreen ecommerce content marketing strategy, you should ensure that the evergreen content you produce answers questions better than any of the top-ranking articles on that subject. Start your research by Googling the question you plan to answer. Examine the top 3-5 articles on the topic. When you go to write your topic, you want to make sure that you:
- Provide a more detailed explanation than any of the current top-ranking articles
- Do more research than the writers of any of the current top-ranking articles, linking to your sources so that readers know that you’ve done the research
- Integrate keywords intentionally without falling into the trap of keyword-stuffing your articles
- Backlink to other blog posts in your content library
- Include a call-to-action that links to your products
You can make your evergreen content go further by updating your articles yearly. Bloggers who update their content see better results than they do when simply writing new content, and it usually takes less time to update existing content than to generate new content.
When you think about updating existing content, consider:
- Updating research to provide newer statistics relevant to today’s audiences
- Improving the use of keywords, integrating new keywords that you didn’t use when you first wrote the post
- Adding in support content, such as videos or images, that you didn’t include when you first published the content
- Editing the article, removing outdated information or references, or replacing outdated information with more timely information
- Adding in sections that you didn’t include when you first wrote the article to expand upon your ideas and provide more information
- Referencing current events that relate to the content you created to help your audience better connect to the information you’re providing
6. Anticipate customer questions
Are there questions your customers continually ask your service team? What about misunderstandings that happen regularly or complaints that crop up again and again in customer reviews?
These problem points in your business can be addressed by well-written content. From short Tweets answering common questions to in-depth blog posts, video content, or FAQ pages, there are many options for addressing customer questions in a public format.
Answering common customer questions has a number of benefits:
- It anticipates problems before they become problems while allowing customers to provide self-service
- It reduces miscommunications while positioning your brand as being open, honest, and communicative
- It can make your products more appealing, especially if you’re answering questions on how to use products or how long products can be expected to last
- It lowers the rate of unhappy customers by providing transparency and ensuring they know everything they need to know about your brand and product before they make a purchase
In addition to answering questions you receive regularly, you should also consider highlighting features you don’t think your customers know about. Doing this makes the information discoverable, not just findable.
For example, many customers don’t ask about payment plans because they don’t want to admit that they have difficulty coming up with the money for a product. But 60% of survey respondents have used Buy Now, Pay Later plans during Covid-19. By highlighting payment options, your brand makes it easier for customers to say “yes” to buying your products, even in lean times.
7. Team up with influencers
Influencer marketing is a smart choice for many ecommerce content marketing teams. In fact, 93% of marketers have used influencer marketing at some point.
One reason influencer marketing is so popular is that when you work with an influencer, you’re working with someone who has already managed to build trust with an audience. This makes it much easier for brands to make inroads with their target audience.
If you’re looking to dip your toe into influencer marketing, consider offering an affiliate program on your website. Affiliate programs work by paying influencers a small portion of your profits whenever someone clicks on their link and then makes a purchase from your ecommerce store.
Affiliate marketing is a hands-off marketing tool for businesses. It works because you only pay for affiliate marketing when you sell a product, which controls your marketing budget. Affiliate marketing also encourages influencers to share about your brand on their websites or social media pages. This generates more backlinks to your website, which in turn improves your SEO rankings.
If you hope to get more serious with influencer marketing, you can team up with an influencer who shares your target audience. This doesn’t mean that the influencer has to be directly in your industry. For example, many food subscription boxes partner with parenting YouTubers because both the subscription boxes and the YouTubers share a target audience of young, stressed-out, busy buyers.
8. Encourage user-generated content (UGC)
Have you ever noticed your brand tweeted about on Twitter or had someone leave a kind review on your website? These are examples of user-generated content (UGC), and they can have a huge impact on how customers see your brand. UGC provides social proof to potential customers that your business offers good products or services. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust in-person recommendations.
You may be thinking that’s all well and good, but you can’t make your audiences generate content for you. And while that is true, you can encourage UGC.
One easy way to increase UGC is simply to ask for reviews. Many customers won’t think to review every brand they interact with but are more likely to consider it if the brand prompts them to leave a review. In fact, 12% of customers leave reviews when brands ask them to. This means that just by putting out the request for reviews, you can significantly increase the number of reviews on your site.
Remember that you need to write a reply for every review you solicit or receive. 89% of customers are happy to use brands that respond to every review left, while 57% are unwilling to work with brands that ignore reviews.
In addition to asking for reviews, you can encourage other types of UGC. For example, you might host a social media competition where you enter users into a lottery for a small prize if they post on social media using a hashtag specific to your brand. This is a great way to get your business trending on social media and build hype about your brand. It also makes it fun for users to create content around your brand for their social media accounts. As a result, your brand’s reach goes much further than it would without UGC.
Finally, add calls to action (CTAs) that encourage users to like your content, share your content, respond to your content, provide feedback, and check out similar blog entries on your website. Research shows that the average click-through rate (CTR) on CTAs is 4.23% across industries. For reference, that’s a better CTR than the 3.17% average CTR on Google Ads. Adding a CTA to your content encourages customers to engage more actively with your brand.
9. Consider omnichannel customer engagement strategies
Customers want to know that they will have the same experience with your brand whether they engage with you via email, social media, website, or customer service helpline. Omnichannel customer engagement is so critical that companies with a strong omnichannel customer engagement strategy retain 89% of their customers, compared to companies with weak omnichannel engagement, with only 33% of their customers.
Paying attention to your presence across channels will make your brand feel cohesive regarding content creation and curation. You can do this by:
- Using the same fonts and brand colors regardless of where you’re communicating with your customers
- Running the same advertising campaigns across multiple social media platforms so that people who see your brand on various sites are also seeing the same message
- Using the same video and photo quality regardless of where you’re posting
- Applying the same image filters to Facebook and Twitter images as you do to Instagram posts
Of course, this is just omnichannel engagement at its most basic level. You can take omnichannel customer engagement further by combining marketing efforts across channels. For example, email and SMS marketing often go hand-in-hand and can be paired to boost engagement significantly more than either channel could alone.
10. Bolster your ecommerce content marketing strategy by putting it all together
Once you have taken all the other steps to create a strong ecommerce content marketing strategy, the final step is to bolster that strategy with cross-platform promotions.
For example, consider a health food company that sells protein bars, shakes, and whole foods designed to improve overall health. Now imagine that same company wrote a blog post on “the five best foods for gut health.”
Just creating the blog post counts as ecommerce content marketing. But the company could make that blog post go much further by promoting it on social media, pulling together research about the benefits of specific ingredients, and adding a video showing how they use those healthy-gut ingredients in their protein shakes.
Next, maybe the company could hold a competition, challenging their audience to create the best recipes using one of those ingredients and to post their ideas on social media with a hashtag. Suddenly, the one piece of blog content has spurred social media content, video content, and even user-generated content.
Imagine that same company created several blog posts over the year about improving gut health. The smaller pieces could be used as a section in a larger, evergreen piece about gut health. When the evergreen piece was created, the company could create several new social media posts to promote the completed piece.
Finally, every year, as the company updates the evergreen content on gut health, it could once again push the content out with new research and updated statistics.
By layering different ecommerce content marketing strategies together, your company has the power to make every marketing dollar go further, bolstering your ROI for years to come.
Develop a killer ecommerce content marketing strategy
Ecommerce content marketing is a broad ecommerce marketing strategy encompassing a suite of marketing techniques, from ecommerce emails and newsletters to social media and blog posts. Because there’s so much to choose from, every business selling products online can benefit in some way from ecommerce content marketing strategies.
Remember that content marketing for ecommerce is a marathon, not a sprint. Choose just one suggestion to implement for the upcoming quarter. Once you have a handle on one ecommerce content marketing strategy, you can add another and then another. In time, you’ll be creating and curating winning content that helps drive traffic and sell more products.