Ecommerce content marketing: how to drive sales through blog content
Why is ecommerce content marketing vital to your online business? Because it drives organic traffic and conversions, the two most critical metrics for a successful online business.
A well-planned and executed ecommerce content marketing strategy will help your online business in the following ways:
- Content marketing will help in identifying relevant leads for your business.
- It will drive organic traffic to your online store.
- It will improve the rate of converting leads to customers, hence higher sales.
- Content marketing done right will create the roadmap for the customer journey from conversion to repeat purchase and retention.
However, you will only realize these benefits if your ecommerce content marketing strategy is done right. It has to be customized for your business and target audience and distributed on platforms where your audience lives online.
Let’s start by looking at what ecommerce content marketing is all about.
What is ecommerce content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content assets like blogs, videos, infographics, and podcasts relevant to your target audience. The marketing of these assets is designed to engage your audience and nudge them along the buyer journey, from capturing their attention to conversion and purchase.
As mentioned, it’s not enough to create and market content, it has to be done right, and there is a well-defined process to achieving this. If you’re just getting started with ecommerce marketing, I will encourage you to start with blogs. While this may not be the most popular approach for ecommerce companies, it’s very beneficial for SEO.
Here are seven tips for creating blogs that will gain views and drive traffic and conversions to your website.
7 tips for creating blogs that drive sales
Start by creating your content marketing plan before creating your blogs or uploading your videos to your website, social media, and YouTube. Remember, the main objective here is to drive conversions and sales.
Your content marketing plan should cover the following seven areas to get you traffic and conversions.
- Identify your audience and create buyer personas.
- Identify the keywords and topics that will help in ranking your content.
- Create original content that is valuable to your audience.
- Identify where your audience lives while online.
- Build backlinks to rank your content.
- Monitor the performance of your content.
- Promote your content.
The idea here is to create a plan that will enable you to maximize the benefits (traffic and conversions) from every piece of content you create. While this article is not a complete content marketing course, it should give you a pretty good idea of what goes into creating and generating content for your brand. Let’s look at each step in greater detail.
Step 1: Identify your core audience
I know this sounds basic, but you’d be surprised by the number of businesses that don’t have an answer to this question. You can’t develop an effective ecommerce content marketing strategy without feeling the pulse of your core audience.
Start by creating a buyer persona that defines your customers, needs, online habits, and likes and dislikes. The persona combines the customer’s demographic details like age, gender, location, and personal details like their habits, likes, and dislikes. Creating a buyer persona means you keep your finger on your market’s pulse all the time.
The persona will help you sharpen the focus on your relevant audience and the content you create for them. Let’s say you sell sports equipment online. Your audience isn’t just “people who play sports.” The needs of a high-school basketball player aren’t the same as that of a middle-aged golfer.
Creating multiple customer personas for the different audiences you aim to reach is an example of customer segmentation. By identifying what different customer segments are most passionate about, you can create content that speaks to them. Customer personas also help you create content that drives them to the one stage of the journey to the next. For instance, B2B content will require a different approach than a marketing campaign for direct consumers.
Step 2: Create engaging content
The buyer journey, from awareness to conversion and beyond, is also called the marketing funnel. Your potential customers’ needs change as they move down the funnel. Hence, you need to know where your lead is on the journey and then create engaging content relevant to that stage.
The content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) should create awareness of your brand and products. Use this content to pique the customer’s curiosity and drive them to your website.
Your content will include blogs, social media posts, videos, and infographics at this stage of the funnel. The content focuses on creating brand and product/service awareness. The content should highlight the problem your product can resolve, problems highlighted in the persona.
People in the awareness stage tend to use generic search terms like “running tracks in Seattle”. These search terms are easier to use since they don’t have an immediate impact on sales.
Content in the middle of the funnel facilitates evaluation. This stage is where the customer has identified 2-3 brands that fulfill their needs, and now they are comparing the brands to identify the brand that provides the best fit.
Typical MOFU search terms could include “best red running shoes”. While these terms are harder to rank for, they provide a higher ROI since users already know what they’re looking for.
Content created for the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is focused on converting the lead to a customer. Demos, customer reviews, and case studies will help convert leads by convincing them that your solution offers the best value for their money.
Step 3: Identify relevant high-volume keywords
Next, we need to look at the keywords that need to be an organic part of the content you create. The buyer persona is a good starting point when looking for keywords because it gives you an idea of the customer’s interest in your product or service.
Many keyword research tools help identify what people search for online and the number of people who search for a specific term. The most widely-used free tool is Google Keyword Planner. The planner will give you the number of times the phrase was used per month and offer alternative phrases that you can use in your content.
When searching for keyword ideas, focus on the first two columns:
- Keyword by Relevance displays a list of alternate high-ranking keywords based on the search term you entered.
- Average Monthly Searches are the average monthly searches for this keyword.
You can also add additional filters, such as Location. This filter will come in handy, especially for local retail stores or if you only ship to specific destinations.
When it comes to paid and premium keyword search tools, applications like Moz, Ahrefs, Serpstat, Semrush, and others will help you do the job efficiently. These tools provide the same function as Keyword Planner while offering advanced functionality and competition analysis.
The next question you may ask is how and where to use these keywords in your content. Use the following guide as your marker:
- Title: Ensure that the keyword forms an organic part of your title. Search engines look for titles that match the users’ search terms.
- URL: Include the keyword phrase in your URL for better searchability and visibility for search engines.
- Subheadings: At least 2-3 subheadings in your blog should contain the keyword phrase.
- Text: Use the keyword phrase organically after every 4-5 paragraphs of text.
Aside from standard keyword phrases, you may also use LSI keywords for better visibility and ranking with the search engines. These keywords work by signaling to Google that your content is indeed related to your standard keywords. For instance, if you’re trying to rank for “office chairs”, you can also use the related LSI keywords “backrest”, “armrest”, and “office desk”.
Step 4: Find where your audience spends their time online
Content marketing involves creating and distributing your content assets on relevant channels. Once you have created and optimized your content, the next step is to figure out where to post it. That’s why it’s so important to figure out who your audience is and where they live while online.
The infographic above gives you an idea of the age profiles of users on different social platforms. However, this is only part of the story. You will need to do more research to find a social platform that works for your brand.
Let’s go back to our original example of a business selling sports equipment. Let’s say the business wants to target high school softball players. If we just go by the infographic above, we might conclude that Snapchat is an excellent platform to promote your content since the age demographic matches.
However, this is only a part of the story since 49% of Generation Z users use Snapchat to post videos and selfies. Users on these platforms don’t follow many brands, and many brands don’t have a Snapchat presence. On the other hand, 48% of users say that Instagram is their preferred platform for following brands.
Understand where your audience lives while online and their behavior pattern on each platform.
Step 5: Build backlinks
Once you have posted your content, you need to focus on ranking this content on the search engine result page (SERP). This process involves building backlinks to your content.
Do a quick search of your keyword phrases and identify the top five ranking articles for that keyword. Next, use a tool like Ahrefs backlink checker to identify the backlink density and source in these five articles or blogs.
SEO tools use various metrics to measure quality. The three most widely used metrics, which rank sites on a scale of 0-100, are:
- Domain authority (DA): DA measures a domain’s relevance and power and is used by MOZ. The backlinks you source should be from sites that have a DA of at least 50. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bunch of low-quality, low-traffic backlinks.
- Domain rating (DR): Domain rating is essentially the same thing as DA in that it measures the power of a domain or site and is used by the rating system used by Ahrefs.
- Trust flow: Trust flow is a measure of the trustworthiness of the backlinks on your domain. It checks if the backlinks are authentic and relevant or if they link back to spammy sites. It’s a metric created and used by Majestic. Ideally, your backlinks should come from sites that have a trust flow of 20+.
There are two ways to generate backlinks to your content: Blogging on the relevant site and requesting the site’s content manager to insert your link into their content. To find industry-relevant backlinks, you can use the Ahrefs tool to see where your competitors get theirs.
Once you’ve identified high-quality referring domains, you can use outreach software to connect with the administrators at the relevant websites.
Step 6: Monitor the performance of your content
The next stage of your ecommerce content marketing strategy is based on reviewing how people engage with your content. Look for negative feedback and improve your content accordingly. For instance, comments on your Facebook ads can help you better understand how your customers are reacting to your content on the social media platform.
Review your content pages with Google Analytics to get an idea of the performance of each page. Look out for the following key metrics:
- Bounce rate. This measures the number of people who visited your page but left without exploring your site further. High bounce rates can be due to long page loading time, inaccurate copy, or a mismatch between the page content and their clicked link. Keep your bounce rate under 40%.
- Time on page. This metric tells you how long the visitor spent on the page. The higher the time, the more engaged the user was with your content.
- User flow. This indicates where visitors go after visiting your page. (Do they exit the site or go on to product pages?)
The three metrics above can tell you if your pages offer something of value to visitors or if they feel your site is a waste of their time.
Step 7: Cross-sell your content
So now you have content that is gaining eyeballs and ranking in SERPs, what else can you do to increase its visibility? Simple. Cross-sell/post the content on other relevant sites.
Google ranking is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to promoting your content. There are other ways to promote your content outside search engines.
Here are some other platforms you should consider when promoting your content:
- Use a scheduling tool to spread your content across social channels. Buffer and Hootsuite are two efficient scheduling tools you can try for your site.
- Share your content across all relevant touchpoints like Facebook groups, Pinterest pages, or Reddit pages.
- Use paid social ads to drive traffic to your content and push it to the top of your funnel.
- Retarget those visitors who didn’t buy into your content from the ads.
- Setting up email flows with a tool like Klaviyo to re-engage buyers immediately post-purchase using your content.
These are just some of the avenues you can explore while cross-selling your content. The basic idea here is to increase the visibility of your content to your relevant audience. It helps in keeping your content and brand fresh in your audience’s mind.
The focus of this article was to help you in devising ecommerce content marketing strategies that enable you to identify and convert relevant leads to valuable customers.
However, to make your content work, you need to think strategically and follow the seven steps identified in the article. Whether you outsource content creation to professional writers or keep it in-house, you need to be persistent and consistent in your content creation and distribution strategy.
When you do it right, ecommerce content marketing will have a significant impact on your bottom line. Good luck!
About the author
Allie Decker is the Head of Content at Omniscient, a marketing agency that works with SaaS brands. Before working with Omniscient, she spent 5 years as a freelance writer and then joined the content team at HubSpot where she worked for nearly 3 years.
She has contributed to more than 100 high-converting articles for HubSpot and collaborated with the folks at Entrepreneur, Hotjar, and Foundr. Her words are bookmarked by entrepreneurs, small business owners, and digital marketers worldwide.
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