To an ecommerce store owner without a background in marketing, the concept of content marketing can be daunting. Some store owners’ main foray into content marketing may be creating a blog without putting serious effort into optimizing blog posts for search engines or they may avoid content altogether because they don’t understand the value it could offer.
Content marketing is a marketing program used to attract, inform, and (hopefully) convert readers to customers. The value that content marketing offers to ecommerce store owners is its ability, when done right, to draw new customers to your store and buy your products.
Content marketing is an excellent way to increase site traffic, drive brand awareness, and enter potential buyers into your conversion funnel, all while adding value to readers. By creating great content and marketing it to your target audience, you’ll earn organic leads, win loyal customers, and sell more products. Below are the best ways to increase sales on your ecommerce store with content marketing.
Create Great Content that Your Audience & Search Engines Will Love
To effectively attract and convert new customers with content, you’ll need to do some digging into what your target audience would want to consume. Don’t just create a blog and start writing with the hope that something sticks. To get started, research what types of content your competitors are creating by checking out whether they regularly post to their blog, have a YouTube channel, or create content for social media.
Consider also what additional information or instructions may be useful or interesting for your product. Perhaps you sell a LEGO-alternative that would benefit from video tutorials or a step-by-step written guide with images. If you sell clothes or jewelry, style guides on your blog could be the ticket to content marketing success.
Once you have a few ideas, consider polling your existing customer base on Twitter and Facebook to see what they find most engaging. If your followers are representative of your customer base, this will help you decide on the right idea to get started with.
Increase Site Traffic with Optimized Content
Before publishing great content to your website, it’s vital to optimize it for search engines to ensure it receives the viewership it deserves. Search engine optimization (SEO) involves editing content to include specific keywords that would be used in relevant queries, excising fluff that distracts from the core message of your content, improving text elements like headers, and perfecting your SEO title and meta description.
This is a cursory overview but will serve as a good introduction that should be complemented by further research.
- When writing a post on a topic, take the keyword or primary query for the piece and run it through Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool, which will tell you how difficult it would be to rank for that keyword while providing synonymous or alternative keywords and the current top trending content for the keyword. To improve the rankability of your piece, you should naturally add the keyword and synonyms for the keyword throughout your piece, especially at the beginning of headers. This will help Google and other search engines to recognize that your post covers the topic well.
- When attempting to rank for a difficult keyword, make your post comprehensive, covering aspects that your competitors didn’t. Longer posts usually rank better in search results as long as they’re not filled with fluff — get to the meat of the post sooner rather than later to keep the reader’s interest.
- In your title and meta description, ensure that you’re using your target keyword and addressing specifically the query or subject you wish to cover precisely.
Convert Readers with Calls-to-Action in Applicable Content
When creating content that directly applies to your product, consider adding a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage readers to check out your product offerings. For example, if your site sells board games and you post a blog post with instructions on playing the game, you can close the piece with a button stating, “Buy XYZ Game.” Likewise, if you sell hiking gear and write an interesting listicle about what to pack for different trails, you can include CTAs to different gear you offer.
If you post a YouTube video, you can also add CTAs in the form of link cards that pop-up either in the right-hand corner of the video or as pop-ups over the video itself.
When you do add CTAs, make sure that they don’t overwhelm your article or video, aren’t too numerous, and don’t distract from the content at hand. Test out adding them to content to see whether they increase conversions or go untouched.
Offer Product Tutorials Through Guides or Videos
As mentioned in step one, product tutorials work well as content, especially if your product is highly interactive and you present information in an intriguing, playful way. One of the main reasons that infomercials attract so much online attention (despite being ads) is that they take all manner of products and present them in a new light that highlights their functionality.
Take the infomercial for Flex Tape, a strong black tape that can seal holes as exhibit A of the ability to popularize a product with content marketing.
This commercial takes a product that is relatively normal in its ability and made it an internet phenomenon with over 6 million views and many popular reaction videos by sawing a boat in half and sealing it with this special tape. You don’t need a TV personality to sell a product, but you can take your product tutorial to the next level by thinking outside the box when highlighting its best features.
Your tutorial, whether written or recorded, should be entertaining and informative and could go viral if you play your cards right.
Showcase Customer Testimonials & Interesting Use Cases
Another great example of content marketing that you should utilize on your site is dedicating a page or section of your homepage to customer testimonials and/or examples of your product in use. By offering testimonials from average customers, you provide social proof and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
If you offer a product that could be used in interesting ways like the aforementioned LEGO-like blocks, you could host images of customer creations collected with a hashtag on social media. If you sell a fashion product, you could likewise post customer-submitted images of the clothes or accessories, making your product seem that much more accessible.
Add CTAs to this page or homepage section with messages like, “Get Your Own,” or “See Our Full-Color Selection,” to convert interested visitors into buying customers.
Don’t Confuse Product Pages with Content
While the express purpose of content marketing is to attract new customers, avoid selling too hard or appearing too sales-y in your copy to keep the interest of readers who are hardwired to avoid ads. To keep content clear of this language, ensure that you have separate product pages that serve the purpose of offering product details, price information, and purchase options.
You should link to these pages in your content and include CTAs that lead to them, but make sure that your content doesn’t read like an ad copy.
Experiment & See What Sticks
When creating content, you can sometimes get stuck in a rut, which can result in audience growth stagnation or even a traffic drop if your content subjects become repetitive. To keep content fresh, monitor what subjects your competitors are covering or what content mediums they’re experimenting with.
Before creating rival content, consider whether it’s applicable to your site, furthers your business’s bottom line, or would lead to more engagement. If you’re losing valuable traffic due to not ranking for a particular keyword or query, then you should definitely create rival content that is even more comprehensive than a competitor’s content.
If you think you’re just writing the same style of blog post constantly, you can try out a new format to relay information creatively. Below are a few different content types that you can test out with your audience to see what resonates:
- Explanatory Articles
Create a Video Series that Targets Your Customer Persona
If you have the time and budget, an excellent content marketing strategy is to create a video series that targets your customer persona — the behavioral, demographic, and psychological characteristics of your buyers. This video series won’t directly sell your product but will offer advice on a tangential subject.
For example, if your site sells water bottles, you could offer a series on how to infuse water with different fruits and vegetables. In the series, you could use your water bottles without drawing direct attention to them.
Create Interactive Content to Increase Lead & Customer Engagement
A great source of organic traffic for many sites is interactive content that either allows users to solve a problem or simply entertains. Examples of interactive content range from Buzzfeed quizzes that allow you to discover which Disney movie character you are, to scientific BMI or financial calculators.
If you decide to create interactive content for your site, you should consider what would make the most sense given your product. For example, if you sell sneakers, you could create a quiz with questions that all sneakerheads should know the answers to. If you sell water bottles, you could create a calculator to help customers know whether they drink enough water in the day given their weight and level of physical activity.
Unless you’re a skilled creative developer, you’ll probably have to outsource the creation of interactive content to an agency or solo developer but it could be well worth it in terms of potential sales.
Distribute Content Through Different Channels to Expand Your Audience
Once you’ve created and optimized content, distributing it through your social media accounts will get it in front of your customer base as well as prospective customers. Here are the best ways to share content on each platform.
Sharing directly to your page followers with a couple of applicable hashtags will be a sure-fire way to generate engagement for your content. If your content is a useful guide or presents new, interesting information, consider finding and sharing it with Facebook groups focused on your niche.
For example, if you run a board game company and wrote a listicle on the topic, sharing it with a gaming Facebook group could be a great way to expand your audience. Of course, be mindful of group rules as it relates to promotion.
When sharing articles, add the link to your bio and direct followers in the description of a posted related-image to read it if interested. Try posting an image associated with the article, whether the story’s featured image or a blurb from the post itself. Adding applicable hashtags in a comment separate from your caption can expose your article to new audiences.
If you’re sharing a video link, consider posting a particularly interesting clip from the video to your feed to attract interest.
If you have over 10,000 followers, you can share links in your Instagram Story, which followers can open by swiping up on the Story.
On Twitter, try posting articles and videos in new creative ways to test what results in the most engagement. For example, sharing the link alongside a single or multiple images, a GIF, or a clip from the video will keep your content fresh and interesting. Once again, using hashtags will expose content to new followers and potential customers.
Launch a Contest to Increase Brand Awareness
An excellent way to increase brand awareness and interest in your product is to host a contest on your social media channels, offering tiered prizes like product bundles or gift cards to social media followers who post the best pictures of your products in use or product creations. For example, if your product is entirely functional like the Flex Tape, you could have followers post photos of their proudest fix-jobs.
Submissions should use a content-specific hashtag to garner attention and so that you can easily review and collect submissions. Once you’ve chosen the winners, write up a blog post with the winners’ posts, honorable mentions, and images of the prizes.
This tactic will help you better engage with your customer base, expose your product to thousands of people depending on the follower-count of your customers, and provide another opportunity to create content.
Successful Content Marketing is a Boon for Ecommerce Sales
Content marketing is well worth your time and funding to drive traffic and leads, engage potential customers, and generate sales. There’s always more that can be done with content marketing to increase traffic and you must prepare to experiment and improve to gain a high rank for target keywords and increase conversions.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and create some content!