January 30, 2017

How to do content marketing for ecommerce

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Published: 30 January 2017 

Content marketing is an important factor for any business that is wanting to build a following. It allows for businesses to gain more hits to their website, more social media shares, all while producing content about the services they offer. Because of these reasons, content marketing has also become ever increasingly popular for ecommerce websites.

You only have to compare websites from a few years ago to how they look now to see the influence of content marketing. Compare online retailer Boots’ website from 2010 to 2015:

Source: Ometria

There has been an increase in customer demand for content, whether that be blog posts, vlogs or lookbooks. This has resulted in editorial-style content becoming far more predominant.

New content not only helps ecommerce companies to communicate with their existing clientele, but also helps them to expand and gain new customers. Companies no longer have to rely on their website or products to draw in the top-of-funnel customers. They can instead produce and promote content.   

How to run an effective ecommerce content marketing campaign

What are the factors you need to know about before you begin an effective e-commerce content marketing campaign?

Consider your customers

The first thing to keep in mind is always your customers. After all, they are the ones you’re targeting and who will ultimately purchase your products.

It’s important to remember your customers wants, needs, interests and problems. Focus on your target markets demographics. You want to know information such as their geographical location, their income, their gender, age and education, to name a few.

To do this, you’re going to want to make a “customer persona”, also known as a buyer persona. Hubspot defines a buyer persona as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

As stated, the buyer persona is made up from data. You can gather data in multiple ways, including:

  • Analyse your contact database. Are there any trends about how customers found your content?
  • Feedback from the sales team. Is there a certain type of customer they are interacting with the most?
  • Interview customers. Sometimes the best way to find out an answer is to just ask. This can be done in person, over the phone or via email.  
  • Competitor research. Look at the businesses operating in the same industry. What are they doing to generate leads? Do they have a completely different strategy?
  • Social media. Analyse your followers to find out their demographics.
  • Analytics. Use Google Analytics or your preferred provider to gather the necessary data.

This information will allow you to know precisely who you are targeting, who else you could target, and therefore what type of content you should be producing. Your content marketing strategy will ultimately become more targeted and therefore more successful.

Have a plan

Once you know who you are going to target, it’s important to create a plan, and remember to stick to it. Have an end goal and always keep this in mind. Some things to plan and set goals for include:

  • Content: what do you want to achieve? Shares on social media, followers, backlinks? Keep your goal in mind when measuring data and considering your success.
  • Content schedule: how frequently are you going to produce content? If you want to build a loyal following, they’re going to expect new content to be published on a frequent schedule. Make sure to publish content regularly, but don’t over-commit. Set a realistic number of content to be published per week, fortnight or month, and stick to it.
  • Promotion: it’s all good to produce content, but it’s not going to get much attention if it’s not promoted.  Think about where you want to promote your content. Are you going to undertake outreach to get your content or links published elsewhere?
  • Repurpose content: don’t forget about your existing content. You can repurpose old content to continue to give it value. Old content often has the strongest SEO and most social media shares, so it makes sense to repurpose it.
Types of content

So you’ve got your buyer persona and you’ve got a plan - you’re all ready to start producing content. This when you have to remember the purpose of your content. Generally businesses will be trying to increase traffic and links. There are several types of content you can produce to help achieve this goal:

Definitive guides: Longform content (generally content over 2000 words) are great ways to help establish authority. While there are formulas on how to create them, the most important thing to remember is don’t be too broad. For ecommerce, you can narrow down the topic to a certain type of clothing, jewellery, shoes, make up, rather than writing a broad article. This also means you can produce several definitive guides, instead of just one.

Crowdsourced content: This is an easy way to gain lots of links, shares and drive traffic. Ask experts in your industry for their opinion on a certain topic. You’ll be able to make a list with all the experts’ answers. People will become more inclined to share the article if they are mentioned within it. Just make sure the topic and people interviewed are relevant to the industry you work in.

Guest Posts: To try and drive traffic and links, it’s a good idea to consider whether you want to write guest posts. This will allow you to get content published on somebody else’s website, with the potential to reach new customers. Remember to choose your target carefully. You don’t want content on a website that could damage your reputation. If the site doesn’t look trustworthy, and it has a low domain and page authority, then it’s not worth writing a guest post for.

Visual: You have an ecommerce business, so it makes sense that the content you produce is going to be visual. It’s important to ensure the content you produce is appropriately optimised and includes images. This will increase your social media traction, as nearly two-thirds of social media posts include an image. You can even consider making infographics for something different.  

Reviews


Reviews are one of the most essential parts of content marketing for ecommerce. Not only do they make your business look good, but there are SEO benefits. If people are reviewing the businesses products, chances are they will leave a comment with a few keywords you can rank for. This will help boost your SEO. Google also looks favourably on positive reviews. Moz’s survey found online reviews make up 10% of how Google decides to rank search results. That is definitely encouragement for businesses to gain positive reviews.   

Not only will it help SEO, but it will help your business increase its sales. Invesp found 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews are a highly effective way to influence a customer's buying decisions.

If you’re after reviews, make sure to include a section below each item you’re selling. If you want reviews of your company, include a dedicated page on your website for reviews, or redirect visitors to sites such as Google or Yelp. A simple way to gain reviews is to simply ask your existing returning customers. Whether face to face or via email, your existing customers will be more likely to have positive reviews of your company and will be more willing to give you a rating.    

There are loads of possibilities and endless techniques when it comes to doing content marketing for ecommerce. Just remember that doing content marketing for conversions will take time. Mix up the type of content you produce, and always remember to produce content your target audience and potential customers will be interested in. If executed correctly, content marketing for an ecommerce business will result in strengthened SEO, a larger customer following, an increase in authority and ultimately, more conversions and sales.     

 

Ben Maden

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