The fact is that content marketing is one of the most potent ways for a brand to earn visibility in the SERPs and get the company’s name to the masses. This assertion is true for two reasons:
Consumers are doing more product research than ever before
Shoppers only engage with content that interests them
In fact, when exploring content marketing stats, conversion rates are nearly six times higher for those that leverage the tactic. Compare that to the 0.5 percent increase for those that neglect eCommerce content marketing.
Therefore, cultivating a strategy that can drive revenue using content marketing is not only necessary for success in the SERPs but financial prosperity as well.
However, it isn’t just dollar signs and rankings that content generates. It also earns engagement and buzz via social media as well. The fact is that content also makes its way around social platforms, thereby increasing word-of-mouth for a business, which is incredibly powerful stuff.
Given the incredible importance of eCommerce content marketing, merchants must devise a detailed, documented strategy for generating and promoting content.
That’s what this piece intends to accomplish.
To get things started, let’s lay the groundwork and precisely define eCommerce content marketing.
eCommerce Content Marketing Defined
Generally speaking, content marketing is the process of creating optimized content in a variety of formats such as blogs, infographics, videos and the like and promoting it to a targeted audience via email, social media and other popular portals with the express intent of earning traffic and generating leads.
Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy designed to attract consumers who are seeking out information about a company.
eCommerce content marketing, on the other hand, is slightly different as it not only aims to generate traffic and leads but sales as well.
As far as eCommerce companies are concerned, sales are what drive the business forward. If content cannot contribute to growing eCommerce sales (or at the minimum leading a consumer deeper into the sales funnel), it is not serving its entire purpose.
With that said, let’s explore 10 eCommerce content marketing strategies that will increase conversions.
1. Write About the Right Topics
Firstly, if content is going to drive organic traffic, readers must be interested in the information presented.
There are several ways that retailers can establish subjects and topics that will earn clicks and drive sales. Those tactics include:
Ask the Audience
The first way to figure out what consumers want to know about is to ask them. By surveying customers about their content desires, merchants can uncover precise topics that are sure to educate, entertain and inspire sales from shoppers.
Additionally, this information can be quite helpful in prioritizing product features down the line.
Conduct Competitive Research
Performing a competitive analysis in the content department is a stellar strategy for uncovering content topics that are sure to perform well, as their efficacy has already been proven.
However, merely pumping out content on the same topic isn’t going to earn rankings, clicks and conversions. Therefore, retailers must produce something even better than what already exists. More on this later.
Speak from Personal Experience
Merchants don’t magically build a successful eCommerce business. The process is often immensely challenging, uncertain and incredibly eye-opening. This means that along the journey, retailers have likely learned a lot of lessons (many of them the hard way).
Share these insights with audience members who wish to follow a similar path or achieve similar results to what the brand has accomplished. This can help develop thought leadership within the business’s niche.
2. Create Product Guides
Products are at the center of an eCommerce business. That’s what shoppers come to a merchant to acquire.
The key here is to offer detailed information on the products offered in-store.
However, it should be mentioned that while product guides can help to drive sales, they should not be sales-oriented. The focus should remain on educating customers instead of pitching to them. As long as a store carries quality offerings, the information presented is often enough to earn conversions.
Moreover, no matter which format sellers opt to leverage, it is vital to include stunning images that sell. While the information is intended to educate, the photos are meant to entice.
By focusing on informing consumers as to a product’s uses, features, benefits and the like, retailers can generate content that substantially increases sales.
“60 percent of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email. On the flip side, only 12.5 percent of them even consider a buy button as a purchase driver on social media.”
While many might consider email its own form of marketing, it certainly falls under the eCommerce content marketing umbrella.
For instance, when a shopper places an order, merchants have the opportunity to engage them in a drip campaign consisting of a series of emails, including:
Each of these is relevant to the customer, and each poses a chance to earn more revenue. Through each of these emails, merchants can potentially opt to try and upsell a customer with related products or offer a discount code for their next purchase.
Additionally, by segmenting the customer into a personalized group based on their purchases, sellers can craft custom messages that are more likely to appeal to the buyer’s tastes–thereby generating more revenue.
The fact is that consumers must be able to get a good, close, clear look at products online if there is any chance of a sale occurring. Video serves this end wonderfully. While images are crucial, there are limitations to this medium.
Moreover, video is extremely useful in an eCommerce marketing strategy as it can be repurposed in a variety of ways. Retailers can create videos for product pages, post that content to social media, embed clips from the material into specific blogs, utilize it in email campaigns and recycle it in various other ways.
The fact is that the demand for video content is at an all-time high. Retailers who fail to generate these types of visuals are failing to maximize their eCommerce content marketing strategies.
5. Create Link-Worthy Content
This brings us back to our point on conducting competitive content research.
While it is good to understand what performs well, sellers have to top the best stuff out there for the content to generate real results. This is particularly true if merchants are trying to build better backlinks.
Achieving this goal takes considerable time, planning and strategy. Part of that strategy is to employ the skyscraper technique, a method designed for creating linkable content.
The concept here is to find relevant content with tons of backlinks (which was completed during the competitive analysis phase) and then create something better, fresher, more comprehensive.
That said, successfully implementing this technique can be quite a challenge. However, this is not the only way to create link-worthy content. Some other tactics sellers can employ include:
Write Evergreen Content
Current trends and industry news have an extremely short shelf life. Therefore, merchants should focus their efforts on crafting evergreen content.
Evergreen content is resources that remain relevant and valuable long after the piece has been published. This means that the information contained in the article is stable, rarely changes and is always in-demand.
Some examples of evergreen content might be:
Guides (as previously mentioned)
Expert roundup pieces are usually a pretty great source for earning links.
The reason for this is that not only does the article feature a slew of different social media tools (which is valuable unto itself), but tons of quotes from notable industry names, thereby giving credence to the entire piece.
Because of all these recognizable individuals, the piece has generated far more buzz than if it were merely about the tools alone. Additionally, since the experts featured in the article are likely to share it, its reach far exceeds the standard blog post.
Partner with Other Brands
Much like with expert roundups, by co-authoring a piece with another brand, retailers can expose their business to new audiences.
With two teams promoting an article, the piece can generate significant reach and potentially earn a sizable number of backlinks in the process.
If the piece really takes off, merchants can then repurpose the information, making it into a video, infographic or something else entirely.
6. Highlight Customer Stories
As the core component of any business, customers are the lifeblood of all eCommerce brands. Therefore, highlighting their stories can serve as an ideal eCommerce marketing strategy for increasing sales.
There are a variety of ways that merchants can highlight customer stories, including:
Moreover, each of these can be formatted as videos, blogs or images. However, the key is to display them in a prominent on-site location, include them in email blasts, share them on social media or even create a dedicated landing page to increase conversions.
In fact, this is a commonly used tactic for leveraging user-generated content as it speaks to bottom-of-the-funnel customers, providing them the social proof necessary to convert.
7. Showcase Case Studies
Consumers want to know if a product actually works before they make a purchase. Case studies are an ideal method for highlighting a product’s uses and benefits.
When aiming to create a case study on an eCommerce website, it is vital that merchants highlight essential elements such as:
The solution (the product)
Case studies can clearly depict how a product can help solve a customer’s problem, thereby increasing sales.
8. Curate Content
When it comes to eCommerce content marketing, not all of the materials shared need to be written by the brand.
For instance, BuzzFeed regularly produces roundup posts of excellent content created by other outlets. This not only makes for an easy piece of content, but it also provides the audience with a valuable resource as they don’t need to hunt down all that great information themselves.
Retailers might consider creating a roundup post of key stats for their industry or the best items that complement a specific product.
However, when creating such pieces, be sure to attribute content to the original owners.
9. Employ Shoppable Posts
Instagram Shoppable posts are an excellent eCommerce content marketing tool given that so many consumers use the platform for product research and discovery.
“83 percent of respondents surveyed said Instagram, a visual-first platform, helps them discover new products and services… 81 percent of respondents said Instagram helps them research products and services… 80 percent of respondents surveyed said they use Instagram to decide whether or not to make a purchase.”
Pretty powerful stuff.
Shoppable posts perfectly cater to Instagram users’ propensity for utilizing the platform to discover, research and decide whether to purchase an item. For those who do choose to convert, Shoppable posts remove nearly all friction in the buying process, thereby resulting in significantly more sales.
10. Make Content Easily Shareable
For an eCommerce content marketing strategy to be truly effective, users must be capable of easily sharing the content with their friends and followers.
For most platforms, this is as simple as integrating a plugin, app or extension.
The point is that no matter what platform a merchant has built their store on, there are numerous options for easily adding social sharing options to content.
When content can be shared effortlessly, it can earn more eyeballs, thereby potentially generating greater sales.
eCommerce content marketing used to be optional. However, in today’s highly competitive marketplace, earning visibility in the SERPs, engagement on social media and sales through a digital store aren’t as easy as years gone by.
For that reason, retailers should take the tips delineated above to enhance their eCommerce content marketing strategy to help increase their industry profile and bottom line.
That said, with all the content that already exists online (and the untold sums published each day), content marketing can be a significant challenge in itself.
If your brand needs help crafting a content strategy that is sure to result in better rankings, more traffic and an uptick in sales, reach out to Visiture’s eCommerce content marketing professionals. We can help build your business a tailor-made approach to content that can boost your bottom line.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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