Does your business create valuable content for your audience? All companies nowadays use an ecommerce content marketing strategy to raise brand awareness, gain leads, and generate more sales for their online stores.
Whether it’s binge-worthy podcasts, visually arresting images, or catchy videos, there are endless possibilities for the type of online content that’s being churned out with dizzying speed.
But how do you know if your ecommerce content strategy resonates with your target audience and provides value?
Forming a strong ecommerce content marketing strategy ensures all forms of content play an active role in nudging a visitor further down the conversion funnel as a potential customer gets to know your brand.
Why Do I Need an Ecommerce Content Strategy for My Website?
All content marketing efforts are naught without a solid strategy behind them. Your Instagram feed might be aesthetically pleasing and helps you gain followers, but are those followers engaged? Are they clicking on your profile bio and discovering your ecommerce website? Are they spending time on your website’s product pages and feeling compelled to make a purchase?
Content is the emotional connective tissue behind a brand. It can educate, motivate and even inspire belly laughs if done right. That’s why your digital marketing strategy is so important to your business and its bottom line. If you still need a bit more convincing, here are five more reasons why you need to start fine-tuning your content marketing strategy right now.
Improves SEO performance
Your content might be great but is it discoverable? To dominate search engines you’ll need to hone in on your potential customer’s search habits and common queries.
Search engine optimization (SEO) extends beyond just ranking on the first page of Google search. Social media channels can be search engine giants as well. Don’t neglect social media apps like Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok as more and more short-form video content gets created and consumed. In fact, Gen Z is slowly gravitating more towards using Tiktok search over Google so your SEO health now needs to be evaluated on multiple platforms to ensure maximum visibility.
Having discoverable organic content and making it easier for new customers to find your brand will reap significant rewards for your business. There is also the option of giving your content a boost through PPC ads but you’ll need a robust budget to make your rankings last. Having a strong organic SEO strategy will allow your evergreen content to have major staying power, bringing in organic traffic in the long run.
Completes the customer's buyer journey
It’s very rare that a prospective customer will view your product page and decide to make a purchase immediately (yes, even if the price point is low). Customers crave a connection with a brand and respect brands that take time to earn and build trust.
Good storytelling allows them to feel that they know the brand. Blog posts about your company’s founders, meeting the team and real-life stories about your product in use provide them with a much-needed human touch in the digital age.
Differentiates your brand
Content marketing is your chance to tell potential customers exactly why your product is different in your respective niche. One of the most common search queries is comparing two items (e.g., Nike vs. Adidas) to see what information we can find that will sway us. Take a look below to see the different types of search variations that involve these two major competitors.
Creating a comparison chart between you and your biggest competitors will allow them to see why you come out on top.
You can also note what differentiates your brand from the rest in your product page sales copy. If you can offer free shipping or a 30-day free trial, highlight that so it’s obvious to your target audience.
Optimizes your conversion funnel
You need high-quality content for all stages of the conversion funnel.
Brand awareness posts on social media, lead generation quizzes, or optimized SEO blog posts are necessary at the top of the funnel in the discovery stage.
Meanwhile, strong testimonials, customer stories, and buying guides are needed in the middle of the funnel to differentiate your brand.
Good content is also needed at the bottom of the funnel on your product pages, case studies, and pricing breakdown page. Having a strong checkout flow at the bottom of your funnel is also key to improving your conversion rates.
Amplifies brand loyalty
When a customer becomes a fan of a brand, they are more engaged and more likely to purchase again. Building brand loyalty and improving your customer retention can be done through strong and persuasive copy. Whether you're asking your community to be part of your tribe or creating a cool and unique immersive experience, the possibilities are endless.
Ecommerce brand Smash + Tess uses its Smash Rewards program to keep loyal customers excited and engaged. Customers earn points when they purchase an item. They can redeem these points for exclusive discounts on their next order. There are different ways to earn points, such as following their social media accounts, leaving a review, and sharing photos wearing their merchandise.
What Are Some Types of Effective Ecommerce Content Marketing?
Short-form video content
According to Wyzowl’s 2022 State of Video Marketing Report, the number of online videos being watched has doubled since 2018 thanks mainly to the mega success of TikTok. Its sharp rise as a short-form video darling has made all social media platforms rethink the value of championing short-form video content. (Although it remains to be seen at this time whether Twitter will revive Vine.)
One brand that does an excellent job of creating short-form videos is the language app Duolingo. Its TikTok account is one of the best examples of an online brand utilizing a cheeky bird mascot and relatable humor to create strong brand affinity and engagement.
When they are not posting about struggles to learn a new language or educating their audience on random words of the day, they are quick to jump on viral challenges and trends that put their unhinged bird in hilarious and compromising positions.
@duolingo real ones let you do the bare minimum and give you full credit 😌 #Duolingo #ourgodisanawesomegod #trend #comedy #god #imscared #DuaLipa #DuaLingo ♬ original sound - William
Their strong content strategy has allowed them to garner millions of views and their educational app is now the most downloadable app in the app store. How’s that for content that converts?
Having a blog on your ecommerce site is a great way to reach your target audience with relevant keywords and increase your organic traffic. Korean beauty retailer Soko Glam does an excellent job of this on their blog or “klog.” It’s a great space to discuss new product offerings but also target keywords like “skin routine”, “baby botox,” and “facial mist,” which are all related to their Korean beauty niche.
If you need help spreading the word about your content, affiliates are a great way to amplify your message on multiple platforms and help you create UGC (user-generated content). Quality affiliates are creative and can think of new ways to showcase your product. It also demonstrates social proof as they can show the product in use in their everyday lives.
This is a more cost-effective alternative to influencers and can be a great way to extend your brand reach if you are struggling with awareness or want to promote a limited-time offer.
Since affiliates are paid through commissions they are more driven to speak about your brand on an ongoing basis.
Amazon does a great job of recruiting affiliates by allowing them to create their own Amazon storefront to showcase their most loved items. Followers can shop from their storefront, and affiliates can earn commissions through every sale.
You can also find apps to help you streamline the UGC creation process. Gander connects you with a network of creators that can help you create UGC videos. Videos can be embedded onto product pages and various other pages on your ecommerce store without slowing down site speed and increasing conversion rates.
See more ideas for effective ecommerce content marketing ideas here.
7 Steps to Build an Effective Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategy
Now that we’ve gone over examples of content marketing, let’s go through a step-by-step guide on how to create an ecommerce content marketing strategy of your own.
Step 1: Identify your target buyer persona
First, let’s paint a picture of who your ideal customer could be and the challenges they are currently facing. Perhaps your product or service is targeting a very specific niche group or multiple different audiences for different reasons. When forming a buyer persona, you will want to ask yourself the following questions:
- How old is my target buyer? What demographic are they a part of? (e.g., 35-40 or Gen Z)
- What are some pain points or challenges they are currently facing? (e.g., finding an affordable alternative to keep their coffee warm)
- Where do they usually shop or go for info, online and offline? (e.g., the mall or Pinterest)
- What does their regular day look like? (e.g. walk the dog, grab a quick breakfast, run errands)
This is a good starting point in creating a sketch of who this buyer could be. Target buyer personas can be as detailed as you want. Just don’t forget to ask: How does my product solve their problem or make their life easier?
Step 2: Learn how your audience consumes content
Where is your audience hanging out? Facebook groups? Community forums? Or is your audience more visual and prefers to scour TikTok and Instagram instead? Finding where your audience hangs out online is key to developing the right content for the right channel.
Learning more about your audience preferences also saves you time and effort in the long run. You don’t need to be on every single platform to make a splash. Streamline your online presence and meet your target audience where they are. If you are selling wedding dresses, having a presence on Pinterest may make more sense for your business. While TikTok and Be Real make more sense for targeting a younger crowd that prioritizes authentic creators.
Step 3: Research content
Once you know who your target buyer is and where they usually go for screen time, it’s time to do a bit of digging. Some questions to ask before creating content:
- What performs well on this channel?
- Look at competitors in your niche and see if audiences engage more with posts that include text graphics, images, or video content
- Which hashtags or keywords should you include to make your valuable content discoverable?
- What are words that have a high search volume, and which ones should be avoided or have been shadowbanned?
- Is your content generating engagement?
- Are you getting quality backlinks for your articles? Content being shared or saved shows that audiences are engaged and find it entertaining or educational
- Is the feedback positive?
- Pay attention to the comments your followers or blog readers are leaving. Are they enthusiastic about the content you’ve been posting, or is the reception lukewarm?
Step 4: Identify content pillars and a style guide
Now that you have an idea of what content is out there, it’s time to determine what your content pillars are and create a style guide (if you don’t have one already).
Your content pillars should be three or four topics closely related to your brand values.
For example, outerwear giant Patagonia’s brand values are closely tied to being sustainable and mindful of the environment as it conducts its global business. It only makes sense that their content pillars reflect that as well.
Their brand values are reflected consistently in their beautifully crafted Patagonia Stories series. They feature notable individuals around the world who are also engaged in environmental activism, sharing their unique perspectives and cultures and commitment to doing more good in the world.
You can see more of their commitment to protecting the environment in various other touch points on their website. One of the tabs in the top navigation urges others to “Take Action.” At the same time, their top banner also shares their founder Yvon Chouinard’s open letter on why he vows to use Patagonia’s profits to combat climate change, aptly titled “Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder.”
Outlining your content pillars ahead of time will allow you to see that the goal of creating valuable content rests on these pillars and provides each content piece with a sense of purpose.
Ecommerce tip: Consider making Social Responsibility one of your pillars by supporting a charity that makes sense for your brand. Businesses with a strong social responsibility tend to be more attractive, especially to Gen Z audiences looking to support businesses with similar values.
Building a style guideline can also shape your brand voice and aesthetic.
- Are there specific brand colors that you want to use consistently?
- Do you want a more friendly and warm voice or sound more matter-of-fact?
- Does your brand voice frequently reference ‘90s culture or TikTok slang?
Ecommerce tip: When creating a brand voice from scratch, it may be helpful to ask yourself what your brand is about and what it isn’t.
Step 5: Publish content based on where it makes sense in the buyer’s journey
The buyer’s journey can take days, weeks, and even months, depending on the item you are selling. Do you have content that supports every stage of the funnel?
For Duolingo, once their TikTok videos go viral and get more profile views, do they have content in the middle and bottom of the funnel to convert these viewers into app users?
Judging by the number of downloads they have gotten lately, it's safe to say that they’ve thought about and executed their content marketing strategy well.
Step 6: Measure results and study analytics
Some key metrics to look at when measuring your content performance is seeing its placement within SERPs (search engine results pages) over time. An organic blog post won’t reach the first page overnight, but if you see a positive upward movement, that’s a good sign that Google likes what it sees.
You can also log onto your Google Analytics account and do a deep dive on a web page or blog post. Here are some key metrics worth analyzing
- Average time spent on page
- Bounceback rate
- Number of views
- Number of clicks
- How many blog readers are converting into newsletter subscribers
Step 7: Ask for customer feedback
Creating a feedback loop with your customers will help you generate more content ideas and get a better sense of what they like to make them stop scrolling.
Customer satisfaction surveys, Instagram polls, and private Discord groups are great ways to get a sense of how your customers feel about your content creation efforts and if there is anything that needs to be tweaked or added to the mix.
Other Ecommerce Content Marketing Essentials
Create a content hub
The easiest way to increase your online authority and your organic SEO standing is to create a content hub that houses all of your educational content. A content hub can take the form of a blog, but it can also be a section on your site devoted to connecting with your audience. Or even a tab that contains all the how-to videos and buying guides for your products.
Build SEO topic clusters on your blog
Use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find keywords with a high monthly search volume. You will want to create content around keywords that your audience will find either useful or interesting. If you are a brand that creates yoga wear for women, some topic clusters could focus on yoga, meditation, healthy recipes, etc.
Make the most of user-generated content (UGC)
Take a look at the mentions and tags your brand has received. Customers who post about your product love to interact with brands. Reach out and see if you have their permission to repost or share their content with your followers. Sharing UGC helps with community building and makes your content strategy look organic and authentic since you are amplifying real people and real voices.
Build a glossary
An easy way to differentiate your brand from others is to create your own vernacular or way of speaking. Similar to how Soko Glam referred to their blog as a “klog” (a mash-up of blog and Korean beauty), other brands employ the same tactic to help build the brand personality.
We love infographics, and for good reason. This visual medium can break down complex information in a digestible way. It’s also highly shareable, so you’ll be able to reach new audiences quickly. Design sites like Canva have templates available that will make your infographic creation efforts easier.
Click here to see more visual content marketing examples.
Create tutorial videos
Leverage platforms like Youtube or Tiktok to create educational videos about your product. For IKEA, educational content is key since they ask customers to build their own furniture. Their YouTube channel features content segments like step-by-step How To Build instruction videos. These videos help customers in need of visual aid. They also provide home inspiration ideas—like how to hang your curtains—to target new home renters or buyers looking to spruce up their space.
Create Content With a Purpose
Your ecommerce content marketing strategy is a great way to form a closer connection with your customers. Tell them why you are passionate about your product, how it works, and, most importantly, who you are and what you stand for.
Whether a customer discovers your ecommerce brand through an Instagram reel or a viral blog post, every piece of content you create should have a strategic goal in mind. Every interaction should be meaningful and rewarding and give customers a better picture of how you can change them for the better.
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