For those who do not already possess a documented eCommerce content marketing strategy, this is the starting point for earning sales through educational materials.
However, those who do have a content marketing blueprint and are seeking ways to optimize its effectiveness in earning sales, here are nine ways to increase the ROI of an eCommerce content marketing strategy.
Uncover Topics Relevant to the Audience
An eCommerce marketing strategy that is bound for success isn’t just built on a brainstorming session. It is well-researched and founded upon what audiences will find relevant, interesting and useful.
For retailers to get the best ROI out of their eCommerce content marketing efforts, it is necessary for merchants to understand their target audience, as this is what will allow them to uncover the most fruitful topics.
This can be achieved throughconducting eCommerce market research wherein a seller develops buyer personas, surveys consumers, listens to audience sentiments through social media and other online forums, conducts competitive research to establish which pieces of content perform best and carries out similar tasks.
With a clear understanding of potential readers and buyers and the kind of content they are looking for, retailers can begin researching topics based on keywords that commonly surfaced throughout the research phase.
Utilizing tools like BuzzSumo, SEMrush and similar tools, retailers can uncover the top-performing pieces written around specific keywords.
Moreover, through conducting consumer surveys and similar direct assessments, merchants should have clear insights into definitive pain points and subjects that buyers are interested in resolving or learning more about to enrich their lives.
On the same token, the competitive analysis portion of a seller’s market research should have revealed the most-viewed and highest-ranking content from rival sites. These pieces can be picked apart to establish where they can be improved and elevated, where unanswered questions exist, where info is out-of-date and other ways toutilize the skyscraper technique to produce relevant content that consumers will find valuable.
Solve Real Problems
While some content is consumed purely for enjoyment, much of the blogs, articles and videos that are created for an eCommerce content marketing strategy should aim to genuinely (and efficiently) resolve the issues that consumers might have in their life or with a product.
Providing shoppers with actual answers and real solutions is one of the best ways for a brand to not only increase the ROI of its content, but to build trust with consumers and become an authoritative industry voice. As a result, crafting highly educational content is a critical endeavor for creating an eCommerce content marketing strategy that is worth its investment.
A great example of this isthe content produced by Tiege Hanley. While there are tons of great skin care tips, tricks and techniques detailed in the company’s blog, Tiege Hanley is also adapting to the times.
Helping its customers solve some of the contemporary problems that have arisen as a result of the coronavirus-related lockdowns, Tiege Hanley is currently supporting its audience by addressing issues on:
How to have a virtual date
How to look better on Zoom calls
Good habits for men to pick up when stuck at home
How to stop touching your face
In addition to the company’s more standard problem-solving tips and insights on looking and feeling good, these types of blogs are a great addition, given the current circumstances.
Investing time, energy and resources into content that only has the potential to perform for a short while is an extremely costly strategy and one that won’t produce the best return on investment for eCommerce content marketing.
Instead, retailers must aim to direct the bulk of their content production budget toward generating pieces that will remain relevant long after they have been published. For those who are unaware, this is what is known as evergreen content.
Evergreen content is pieces that are not tied to a specific fad, trend, season or news cycle. Instead, evergreen content covers topics and ideas that consumers will always want to read and know more about. Additionally, this is information that does not change often; therefore, the content remains relevant and correct for a significant period of time.
Given the nature of evergreen content, it is essential that retailers aim to ensure that these pieces are of the highest quality that they can possibly manage, as well-done evergreen pieces can continue to drive traffic for many months or even years after the initial publication.
Highly relevant: As with any page that resolves a user’s query, relevance is critical. Therefore, the content must match up with the search intent for the query or it will not earn the necessary visibility.
Extremely useful: Useful content solves a reader’s problem (as mentioned earlier) by providing actionable advice, clear and definitive answers and other information that enables searchers to resolve their issue.
Strong E-A-T indicators: Google wants to provide searchers with content from experts who will provide clear and correct guidance.E-A-T (which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) must be shown by cultivating these three components to get content in front of the right readers.
An excellent (and very meta) example of evergreen content is Copyblogger’s guide todifferent kinds of evergreen content. Given that the types of long-lasting content are unlikely to change anytime soon, that creating evergreen content is vital for a robust and profitable eCommerce content marketing strategy and that marketers will continually require information on these two things, this blog will likely generate traffic for years to come.
Build Links by Guest Blogging
Building better backlinks is a crucial component in developing the authority necessary for cultivating the authority in E-A-T.
As far as eCommerce content marketing is concerned, one of the most effective tactics for earning authoritative backlinks is to guest post on relevant blogs and industry publications.
However, when guest blogging, it is important to always write for the site’s audience. Many retailers make this mistake by writing for their own audience or putting a disproportionate amount of attention on their company or its products, instead of staying focused on the topic at hand.
Additionally, crafting more comprehensive posts that get into the nitty-gritty of a subject are more likely to get picked up by an authoritative site and earn a retailer beneficial backlinks. Through the inclusion of specific statistics, actionable tips and visual elements, merchants are likely to generate backlinks for their site, while still helping to cultivate a position of thought leadership within their industry.
As far as finding the ideal sites to pitch to, it is as simple as searching Google for targeted keywords. For instance, if sellers wish to find publications that might pick up their piece on board games, simply search Google for “board game blogs.” Alternatively, retailers can use tools like BuzzSumo to find popular content around specific keywords and pitch to the publications with the most visibility for those topics.
However, no matter how merchants go about finding places to guest post, this is a key eCommerce content marketing strategy for elevating the ROI of the content produced.
Include Content in Email Campaigns
eCommerce email marketing campaigns tend to have an incredible ROI all on their own. Depending on the source of information, email marketing tends to generate an average of $38 to $42 per $1 spent.
Naturally, one of the best ways to enhance a retailer’s eCommerce content marketing strategy is to integrate it with their email efforts. By linking email and content marketing together, sellers can reach their audience with educational materials that inform them about particular products, entertaining posts that help to cultivate brand loyalty and other forms of content that boost a site’s traffic and sales.
“88 percentof video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI — a 5 percent increase on last year’s figure, and a world away from the lowly 33 percent who felt that way in 2015.”
The bottom line is that video is a critical component of any profitable eCommerce content marketing strategy.
As far as video content is concerned, there are tons of formats and video types that retailers can create to keep their audience educated, entertained and engaged. Some of the most popular types of videos for eCommerce content marketing include:
Answering customer questions
Brand story videos
The last type of video listed is extremely important as user-generated content is an instrumental tool in increasing eCommerce content marketing ROI.
Employ User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is an essential component of eCommerce content marketing as this type of material provides consumers with the social proof necessary to feel comfortable converting. Moreover, UGC enables shoppers to get a feel for a product out in the real world, away from sterile white backgrounds.
There are tons ofways to use user-generated content that will help to elevate the quality and effectiveness of a brand’s content marketing strategy. Additionally, there are a variety of types of user-generated content, including product reviews, video clips, testimonials, social media images and more.
Moreover,UGC and SEO are intimately tied, so when a brand opts to leverage this type of content, it is simultaneously aiding its search engine visibility as well.
For retailers to successfully capture and inspire their customers to produce user-generated content, sometimes it can be just as easy as asking them to leave a product review or share their experience with a designated hashtag.
However, it is often beneficial for retailers to incentivize their shoppers to create UGC through a contest, giveaway or small carrot like a five percent off coupon.
Adopt Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has shown time and again to be one of the most effective eCommerce content marketing techniques available to online retailers.
Social media influencers bring with them the visibility, engagement and credence necessary to get the word about a brand or product out to a targeted audience. Moreover, since followers tend to trust social media personalities, the chances of earning sales through an influencer-led campaign are incredibly high.
However, the key to this strategy lies not only in how relevant the influencer’s audience is for the brand, but the type of influencer as well.
The fact of the matter is that these days,micro-influencers may be the most effective in producing an eCommerce content marketing ROI. The reason for this is that these smaller social celebrities tend to have highly engaged, ultra-niche audiences who are more tightly knit around particular topics or themes.
Byfinding and approaching the right influencers for an eCommerce content marketing campaign, retailers can generate a substantial ROI by building a small team of affordable micro-influencers, instead of a hyper-expensive megastar.
Invest in the Site’s UX
While much of the profitability of an eCommerce content marketing strategy is rooted in the type of content produced, the usability of the retailer’s website is also paramount to generating a higher ROI.
Think about it: If your eCommerce site is slow, difficult to navigate, covered with pop-ups or just generally frustrating to use, readers will bounce. If they do stick around to read the whole piece, they surely won’t check out different parts of the site, such as product pages.
The fact is that there are manybarriers to conversion that merchants must eliminate if they want their content marketing strategy to be fruitful.
What’s worse is that Google is able to detect when users find a site frustrating or otherwise unsatisfactory (based on their behaviors) and will end up promoting other sites above the one that failed to meet a searcher’s needs, thereby reducing visibility.
While there are a bunch ofUX eCommerce trends for 2020 that sellers could pick up on, the baseline for a good user experience that merchants must ensure include:
By ensuring that these three areas are optimized to the fullest, retailers can help ensure a healthy ROI from their eCommerce content marketing efforts. The content gets the consumer on the site and an optimized UX helps guide them to purchase.
For an eCommerce content marketing blueprint to generate an ROI that helps a business to scale its efforts, it is vital that the content is engaging, useful, thought-provoking and visible online.
By cultivating the kind of content that is relevant to an audience’s needs, genuinely helpful, attracts authoritative backlinks and that consumers find entertaining and worth their time, sellers can successfully boost their conversion rates and SERP rankings.
That said, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for eCommerce content marketing. Retailers must have an intimate understanding of their audience and how to create the type of content that will benefit them most.
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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