Did you know that businesses that utilize content marketing generate six times as many sales than those that don’t? If you’re looking to drive more traffic and sales to your online store, ecommerce content marketing might be just the right solution for you.
Ecommerce content marketing is a type of marketing that is focused on creating and distributing relevant and valuable content with the intention of attracting a target audience. It allows you to communicate with your customers without selling to them, establishing a deeper, more honest relationship.
There are so many benefits of content marketing that every business should be doing it. Here are just a few:
- Allows you to connect with your customers
- Helps increase engagement and brand loyalty
- Drives traffic
- Helps you become an authority in your industry
- Builds brand awareness
- Helps you maximize ROI
Before engaging in content marketing, you need to consider what topics you’ll be covering and what type of content you’ll be producing. I always suggest starting by analyzing what your competition is doing.
Find 5 to 10 of your competitors online and check out their website, blog, and social media pages. What kind of topics are they writing about and what type of content are they producing? Do they write blog posts, create videos, ebooks or something else?
While you should use your competitors’ content to give you some ideas, you shouldn’t try to copy them. You should try to create something better.
Write down a list of topics that you would like to cover with your content. Think about the best way to cover each topic. Some topics might be better suited for discussing in a blog post, while others would be perfect for a video.
When engaging in content marketing, it’s important to stay organized. Creating a content calendar can help to keep you and your team on track.
There is no right way to create a content calendar. You will need to decide what kind of information you need to include in your content calendar to make the content creation process easy and straightforward.
When creating your content calendar, you will probably want to include fields such as the content title, type of content, and the stage of the buyer’s journey the content is targeting. This last part is very important for your overall strategy, and it’s what we will be discussing next.
The buyer’s journey consists of three stages through which every customer goes through before making a purchase. These three stages are Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
When creating content, you need to consider the stage of the buyer’s journey that your visitors are currently at and use that information to develop appropriate content.
If a visitor arriving to a particular piece of content is in the awareness stage, it makes little sense to try to use that content piece to sell your product to the visitor. Instead, you should take that opportunity to educate the visitor about his or her problem.
Your goal should be to move your customers forward in their buyer’s journey and guide them towards making a decision to purchase. After the awareness stage, the customer moves to the consideration stage, examining the different solutions for his or her problem.
For customers at this stage, it’s important to use your content to showcase how your product can help them and how it differs from other products.
Finally, at the decision stage, the customer is ready to purchase, and you should make sure to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
After we’ve covered the basics, let’s go over some content marketing ideas.
Having interactive content on your website can be a great way to attract potential customers. In order to create interactive content, you need to identify a problem that your customers have and then think of a way to help them solve that problem using interactive content such as apps or quizzes.
I suggest placing your interactive content on a dedicated page and then promoting that page through your website, as well as through social media, email marketing, etc.
If you’re looking for inspiration for interactive content, a great example is Sephora’s Virtual Artist app, which lets users apply makeup to their own photos to get an idea how it would actually look like.
Product guides are another great example of content marketing. You can use product guides to explain:
- How to use your products
- Which products to choose depending on the customers’ needs
- Ways of combining products to achieve a desired effect
Product guides are a staple of Huckberry’s content marketing strategy. They sell men’s clothing and gear, and publish guides such as 9 Best Men’s Boots for Every Fall Adventure and 8 Men’s Shirt Jackets for the Fall’s Best – and Worst Weather.
40% of shoppers start doing research for holiday shopping in November, with 50% starting before October. The holidays are the perfect opportunity to use gift guides to help your customers find gifts for their loved ones.
When using gift guides to promote your products, you have two options: pitching your products to other people’s guides, and creating your own gift guides. For best results, try using both approaches.
Follow these steps to start pitching your products to gift guides:
- Find websites in your niche/industry – Use Google to find websites in your niche that have already published gift guides in the past.
- Reach out – Find their contact information and reach out to them, either via email or their social media pages.
- Personalize your outreach – They probably receive a bunch of these requests around the holiday so try to personalize your outreach to grab their attention.
You can invite guest bloggers to write content for your brand. Do some research on blogs in your niche and reach out to people who you consider might be a good fit. You can also create a guest post submission page to let interested bloggers come to you.
When discussing a collaboration, make sure to let them know what exactly are they getting in return: a valuable backlink, traffic, or exposure. You’ll also need to explain what kind of content you expect from them in terms of length, amount of research required, etc.
70% of the top Google search results are occupied by videos. It’s estimated that video will comprise 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021.
The best videos tell a story and show the product being used. Your videos should also make viewers relate to your brand and overall message.
As a general rule, product videos should be short – up to 30 seconds in length. There are three main types of product videos you can create:
- General overview videos – These videos are meant to present your brand and product line without going into too many details.
- Product demonstrations – Used to show your product’s features and demonstrate how it should be used.
- Behind-the-scenes videos – Videos designed to show customers how your products are made, prepared, or shipped.
If you need help brainstorming ideas about what to include in your videos, here are some questions to get you started:
- What are your product’s key features? What problems does it solve? Explain how your product can make your customers’ lives better.
- What are the most frequently asked questions about your product? Use your product videos to answer these and make it easier for viewers to decide to purchase your product.
- Does your product or brand have an interesting story behind it? If it does, let your customers know about it.
Apart from posting your product videos on your website, you can also share them on your Facebook page, Instagram account, and Youtube channel for additional exposure.
User-generated content consists of reviews, photos, videos and other types of content created by your customers. This type of content has been shown to build trust and increase conversions, with 84% of millennials stating that user-generated content influences their purchasing decisions.
Since users create the content themselves, user-generated content is a very cost-effective content marketing solution for ecommerce businesses.
User-generated content helps create social proof by showing other people using your products and being satisfied with them. It’s also a way of differentiating yourself from other brands.
There are a lot of ways to invite users to share how they feel about your products. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Email your subscribers – Send an email to your email list subscribers and ask them to share their experience. Consider making an email like this a part of your welcome email sequence.
Invite your followers to share – Invite your social media followers to share photos or videos of them using your products. Create a branded hashtag and suggest your followers use it when posting content related to your products.
Create a competition – Give your customers an incentive to create content by offering a prize such as a discount or a free product for the best photo or video created by a customer. The watch brand Shore Projects rewards customers who post the best Instagram photos and videos featuring their products with a free Shore Projects watch every month.
Build a dedicated page for user-generated content – Create a dedicated page on your website where you will feature user-generated content. If you’re also hosting a competition related to your user-generated content campaign, this page is a great place to let people know about it.
GlassesUSA features their customers’ photos on their Social Shop page, which consists of a shoppable feed of photos showing satisfied customers wearing eyeglasses from GlassesUSA.
You should also be sharing the content your customers create (with their permission) any chance you get. Here are some places where you can display user-generated content:
- Homepage – Feature the best photos or videos your customers created on your homepage.
- Product pages – Place user-generated content on your product pages to increase conversions by displaying social proof and showing your products being used.
- Social media – Repost your customers’ content on your social media pages to give them more exposure.
Curate content from websites related to your industry and share them with your customers through your blog, email, and social media. Make sure to add some additional value for your customers by adding relevant insight or presenting the content in an entertaining way.
Repurposing content is a great way to create more content in less time as well as to make sure that you are fully taking advantage of all your content. Here are some ways to repurpose your content:
- Blog posts – You can use the content of your blog posts to create infographics, videos, ebooks, email courses, and podcast episodes.
- Videos – You can transcribe your videos into blog posts or use the audio to create a podcast.
If time is the only thing stopping you from engaging in content marketing, you should consider outsourcing your content creation needs. Plenty of freelancers and agencies specialize in content creation and content marketing and would be happy to help you. Upwork, in particular, is a good place to find freelancers that can help with content creation.
Content marketing doesn’t end with creating the content. You’ll need to actively promote your content as well. Here are some ways you can promote your content and increase its overall reach:
You should start by optimizing your content for search engines. This means optimizing meta title and description tags where possible, as well as using any relevant keywords that you’d like your content to rank for in search engines.
To help your content rank even better, you should also try to build some links. The easiest way to do this is to contact other websites in your industry and offer to write guest posts for them and then link to your content within those posts.
After optimizing your content for search engines, the next step is to promote it on social media. Post your content on all your social media channels.
When looking to promote blog posts on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, make sure to create some compelling images to go along with it. This will help to capture your followers’ attention more easily.
You should definitely utilize your email list when trying to promote your content. The people who signed up to your email list are most likely interested in your content and would love to check it out.
Send your email subscribers a weekly or bi-weekly email showcasing your new blog post, video, or guide.
Paid advertising is the quickest way to reach more people with your content. The most popular paid advertising options include:
- Google Adsense – suitable for promoting blog posts. Depending on your niche and the keywords you use, this can be a costly option. If you have a small advertising budget, you might want to consider using social media ads instead.
- Youtube Ads – a great way to promote your video content and give it an initial boost.
- Social media ads – Social media ads on networks such as Facebook and Instagram are a great, low-cost solution for getting your content in front of more people.
Promoting your content with the help of influencers is a great way to get your content seen by a large number of people. If you’re already engaging in influencer marketing, ask the influencers you’re currently collaborating with if they would be willing to share your new content with their followers.
Otherwise, look for influencers in your niche and message them about a potential collaboration. You will probably need to provide some sort of incentive for them to be interested in working with you.
Examples of effective ecommerce content marketing
There are a lot of brands out there doing a great job using content marketing to promote their products and generate more brand awareness and sales. Here are nine of my favorite examples of ecommerce content marketing:
1) Blendtec’s Will It Blend Video Series
You might think that there’s no way to make interesting content around blenders. If that’s the case, Blendtec can prove you wrong. Their Will It Blend YouTube video series helped them amass over 800,000 subscribers who are eagerly waiting for new videos from the brand.
The videos revolve around the Blendtec team trying to blend different popular items in the Blendtec blender, including an Amazon Echo and an iPhone X.
Some of the videos were published to coincide with events such as the Super Bowl and the release of the Transformers movie, and featured related themes in an effort to take advantage of the popularity of the events.
Blendtec’s videos attract millions of views and have helped introduce the brand to more people. Tom Dickinson, the founder of Blendtec, has stated that the video series has had a significant impact on sales.
2) Bonobos’ The Official Chino Fit Quiz
The online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos has created a quiz that helps customers decide which chinos they should buy. After completing the quiz, shoppers are shown specific products based on the results they received.
They’re also given the option of sharing the results with their friends via social media. This social aspect is what helped Bonobos make the quiz widely popular among shoppers
The effectiveness of the quiz lies in its ability to successfully shift the focus to consumers and play to their sense of identity to gently nudge them into making a purchase
3) REI’s Expert Advice Blog
REI is a brand that sells a wide variety of outdoor gear. Their Expert Advice series is focused on educating their target audience on topics related to camping, hiking, cycling, and other outdoor activities.
REI uses videos, articles, buying guides, and checklists to educate their customers and help them make sound decisions when it comes to staying safe during outdoor activities as well choosing the right gear for their next trip.
Apart from helping REI build brand awareness and position themselves as an expert in their industry, the Expert Advice blog also enables them to drive high-converting organic traffic by giving them the opportunity to rank for a variety of searches related to outdoor activities and gear.
4) Warby Parker’s Eyewear A to Z Glossary
The eyewear retailer Warby Parker created the Eyewear A to Z glossary to make it easier for shoppers to buy their next pair of eyeglasses. The glossary contains definitions of various terms related to eyewear and optometry, such as astigmatism and myopia.
Warby Parker understands that buying eyeglasses can often be a frustrating experience. That’s why they try to educate their customers through various resources on their website and ensure that shoppers won’t be disheartened by all the nuances between different pairs of eyeglasses available for purchase on their website.
5) Best Buy’s Buying Guides
The electronics giant Best Buy created a series of buying guides to help their customers make their next electronics purchase. They have buying guides for major and small appliances, TVs, computers, tablets, cameras, smartphones, and a variety of other types of electronic devices.
These guides are very comprehensive and include everything shoppers might want to know about buying a particular type of device.
For example, their Desktop Computer Buying Guide talks about the benefits of using a desktop computer as well as possible alternatives, popular operating systems, and then discusses the major parts of a computer system, including the process, RAM, internal storage, and port selection.
These guides help Best Buy build a more meaningful relationship with their customers, as well as educate shoppers and make them more confident about making a purchase. The in-depth nature of these guides also makes sure that they’ll be able to rank high in search engine results and drive high-quality organic traffic to Best Buy’s website
6) Birchbox’s The Magazine
Birchbox is a subscription box service that delivers personalized beauty products on a monthly basis. Their online publication, The Magazine, is focused on sharing articles and videos on topics related to makeup, skincare, and haircare.
Birchbox’s content is designed to educate their target audience on topics they care about, and then recommend relevant products from Birchbox’s catalog that can help customers with whatever issues they’re having. While Birchbox does recommend their own products, the main focus is on educating customers and providing them with as much free value as possible.
According to Mollie Chen, Birchbox’s Editorial Director, content has been at the heart of Birchbox’s marketing strategy from the beginning. It’s the main reason they were able to grow from having 600 subscribers in 2010, to over 1 million subscribers today.
7) GoPro’s User-Generated Video Content
GoPro is a brand known for making high-quality action cameras. They have an enthusiastic customer base that loves to create and share content for the brand. In fact, as much as 6,000 videos recorded with a GoPro camera are uploaded to YouTube every day.
The nature of GoPro’s product makes it easy for their customers to create content for the brand. While most of their customers are self-motivated to do it, GoPro also makes sure to arrange collaborations and republish this content on their own YouTube channel, as well as on their official website.
Apart from working with amateur enthusiasts, GoPro sponsors athletes to create videos with their cameras as well. This allows them to gain additional exposure from the athletes’ fans, as well as give their audience a glimpse into what it looks like to be a professional snowboarder, skateboarder, or hockey player.
GoPro has also partnered with hotels and other travel-related brands. They provide hotel guests with complimentary GoPro cameras and encourage them to record and share their travel adventures.
All of these efforts combined have helped the brand grow their YouTube channel to over 3 million subscribers.
8) Dollar Shave Club’s DSC Original Content
Dollar Shave Club is a subscription box service that ships men’s grooming products to its customers every month. While their initial offering included shaving razors only, they’ve expanded it to start sending other beauty and grooming products, including shampoos, face and body cleansers, toothpaste, etc.
Their DSC Original Content section focuses on entertaining and informative content revolving around grooming tips, hygiene, exercise, style, and relationships. They post the content on their website in the form of articles but also put in the effort to print those same articles and mail them to their customers inside their monthly subscription box.
The company is also known for their highly-entertaining viral videos which propelled their brand into a household name almost overnight. Dollar Shave Club was sold to Unilever for $1 billion in 2016.
9) Bulletproof’s Blog
Bulletproof has a great grasp on the exact topics that interest their target audience, which can be proven with the engagement rate they’re experiencing – each of their blog posts gains hundreds of shares and comments.
The brand made the term and practice of bio-hacking mainstream with the help of their thought leadership content written in a provocative, disruptive language and tone.
What makes their content so special? Well, it’s backed up by comprehensive research and reports on nutrition, neuroscience, psychology, and bio-hacking. The brand’s dedication to publishing cutting edge content on these topics shows that they deeply care about their customers’ health and well-being.
It also allows them to position themselves as industry experts, as well as build trust and develop a more meaningful relationship with their target audience.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy that will generate traffic and sales for years to come. Remember, when it comes to content marketing, consistency is key. Make sure to stick to your content calendar and keep producing content on a regular basis.
It’s better to focus on quality rather than quantity. Instead of pumping out as much content as you can in the shortest amount of time, try to create the best resource possible on every subject you tackle.