“Content is the reason search began in the first place.”
~ Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing
It’s all about content marketing these days, isn’t it? Not really; the truth is content has always been the life blood of online marketing and no recent fad that will soon be over.
And it is still the most important force when it comes to driving traffic and sales, not to forget the impact it has on your brands reputation and social mentions.
Considering the myriad of advantages content marketing brings, there is hardly any reason for online retailers to overlook its significances.
Web traffic is of course one of the most important reason for eCommerce brands to give content marketing a serious thought. But as said, there is more.
It even helps to improve your website’s authority, bringing both mentions and visitors from various digital channels and at the same time improves your social media reach.
This, in turn, also enhances your online store’s search rankings and helps you better reach your target audience.
Achieving this, however, is easier said than done. In this post, we will discuss some great tips to help you set up an effective digital marketing production line. But before that let’s see what content marketing means for eCommerce.
Content Marketing and eCommerce
Have you ever realized the content you create today lives on the web for eternity? This means, the content you created years before is perhaps still driving traffic to your website.
Killer content typically goes round on social channels years and years and keeps driving back-links, referrals, traffic, leads and sales.
A killer content marketing strategy helps you start a chain reaction. Your focus, however, should be on creating informative and insightful content that creates a strong shockwave, leaving your readers clamouring for more.
For an eCommerce website, an effective content marketing is like your shop-floor staff, providing personalized services to your customers. In fact, it is even better as your content will work tirelessly, 24×7 to help your business grow.
Content marketing for eCommerce stores serves a number of purpose, including:
- Search engine optimization to help your store rank higher for certain products
- Build and retain audiences for your store
- Raise and improve brand awareness
- Improve social reach by providing something more than products and offers for your target audience to talk about
- To push customers down the purchase funnel with how-to guides and advices
- Raise product awareness to help selling
If you still need more reasons to invest in content marketing, this infrographic from ReferralCandy indicates that “70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles than ads.”
Here are 5 tips to help you get started with an awesome content strategy to boost both your traffic and conversion rates.
1. Create Longer Posts
It is true that the attention span of online readers is even shorter than a gold fish. Recent studies indicate that it is something around eight seconds.
But that is not an excuse for not investing your time to create longer, informative posts. Search engines, for one thing, still love long-form copy when it comes to ranking.
Neil Patel, the cofounder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar who has also helped one of the biggest global eCommerce brand Amazon grow its revenue, ran an A/B test on his homepage to understand the effect of lengthy posts on search engine ranking few years back.
He created a shorter version of his homepage, which was just 40 percent of the original content. It was found that the original homepage, although it had a lengthy copy converted better (7.6 percent more) with better quality leads.
This also proves that despite having a shorter attention span, online readers would read your posts as long as you write exactly what they want to read.
2. Leverage Social Trends
Newsjacking social trends is one of the best ways to attract the attention of your target audience. Today, we live in a world of hashtags and trends that change on a daily basis.
But if you can use them to your advantage, social trends offer great potential to boost your traffic and sales. A lot of eCommerce brands have been doing it actually.
Amazon, for example, framed its entire ‘Prime Day’ campaign around Black Friday, which almost always creates a media frenzy. Amazon’s slogan for its Prime Day was “more deals than Black Friday.”
This was a great example how online retailers can create campaigns around big-headline events to create a social buzz.
Here is another example from Arena Flowers’ witty tweets that came soon after the leaking of personal details from Ashley Madison. Its cheesy tweets got thousands of shares and favourites on the popular social media site.
However, be very careful when approaching such controversial issues and we also have so many horror stories associated with brand hashtag fails. Another rule to follow is that, the content must resonate with your target audience.
3. Videos are Worth Investing
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million.”
~ Barry Levinson, Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer
A video is perhaps the most powerful content to promote brands and products, especially for an online retailer. AO.com, for example, use videos to demonstrate products on its pages.
In addition, a content section called AO life within main site where it publishes text post as well as video content.
Patagonia, an eCommerce store selling outdoor clothing and equipment, also leverages video content very smartly. It uses videos to promote products rights on its homepage and also mixes video content with user-generated Instagram content.
But many online retailers shy away from creating videos thinking they are too complex to create.
The reality is, you can always create simple videos that combine different visuals such as product photos, customers’ photos or user generated images, and customer testimonials etc. along with a music and a voice over to describe your products’ features and benefits.
It can be a really short video of around 30 seconds or a lengthy one extending to around 15 minutes or more, depending on the purpose of the content. However, the rule of thumb is that it must be long enough to describe your products and educate your customers while being entertaining.
4. Tell the Success Stories of Your Customers
Your customers should be the hero of your success story. Chances are you are already doing case studies. Why not collect happy stories from your customers to create case studies based on them and post them on your store’s blog?
This will help you in two ways – first, you will already have a readymade pool of content to leverage upon and second, your customers will appreciate the effort and is more likely to share the stories on their social media channels.
However, the true value of telling the success stories of your customers lies elsewhere. Potential customer often becomes dubious when it comes to decision making process.
They start weighing down the options, emphasising on factors like risk associated with the product. The story of a fellow customer who has used the product under similar situations usually saves the day.
Reading the success stories of your existing customers makes your potential ones feel better about your brand as they can related to the story easily. See how Salesforce is doing it just right on its Pinterest page.
Patagonia, an outdoor silent sports’ clothing and gear designer, use their customer story in such a way that seems the customers are buying part of the story. “The stories we wear” from Patagonia have become such a big hit that the company has even created a movie on it.
Basically, you are touching the buyers’ emotional and psychological aspects with your story, establishing a strong connection. Add a dash of data and facts to please the more analytical customers.
But don’t just tell a story, tell a visual story. As mentioned in the previous point a video is worth a million words.
If possible, make a video-based success stories of your customers where others can see and hear them talking about their pain points and how your product resolved it. Alternatively, you can create infographics or pictorial stories that peak a customer’s curiosity and encourage impulse sales.
5. Focus on Building Influencer Relationships through Content
The current digital marketing landscape is characterized by influencers. You will find them in every niche. These are the people who blog and have a significant social media followers.
These individual can be bloggers, journalists, brand evangelists, your employees, or customers. In fact, your competitor can also be an industry influencer.
Building a strong relationship with these influencers will help you to reach out to reach out to their social connections as well. Read here how ShopStyle extends its ecommerce service to Snapchat with help from influencers.
A good part of your content marketing strategy should focus on these influencers.
Track them down and start building relationships with them. A brand mention from these powerful journalists and bloggers can help you boost your social reach.
Also, give them a reason to mention your brand or share your content. Simply put, provide them a pertinent and memorable experience with your brand so that they are motivated to voluntarily produce and share content about your brand.
If you weren’t able to make it big to content marketing landscape for your eCommerce store this year, don’t worry. You can always make it up next year.
All you need is to understand the issues you are facing and get some innovative ideas to resolve them creatively and give your content marketing effort a kick-start this new year.
These tips mentioned here is to help you get creative content strategy. If you have some more in your bag, we would love to hear them.
Author Bio: Mansi Dhorda works at E2M – A Digital Marketing Agency. A social media enthusiast, she is well-versed in content marketing and other internet marketing niches. You can interact with her on Twitter. Her Twitter handle is @mansidhorda.