Building Your Content Strategy for Ecommerce
by Kathleen Booth, on Mar 17, 2021 2:48:19 PM
Brick and mortar retail has been facing off with ecommerce for years now, and after skyrocketing in 2020, ecommerce sales now account for 21.3% of total retail sales.
Thats up from 15.8% in 2019 and 14.3% in 2018.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in ecommerce sales that signal retail's future may be almost entirely online.
If you haven't taken the plunge into ecommerce with your business yet, now is probably the best time to do it as the pandemic continues to force shoppers to do much of their shopping online.
And an important step in growing your online store is knowing the best way to market your products, services, and brand to a potential customer.
One of the best ways to drive buyers to your ecommerce site these days is creating helpful and engaging content for your customers. We call this Content Marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Instead of pitching your products or services through a traditional outbound marketing strategy, content marketing is when a business creates helpful, informative, and engaging content to reach and maintain a target audience, ultimately generating leads and sales.
The result of this strategy is a trusting, communicative relationship between you and a potential customer that makes them more likely to convert on your website when the time comes.
The point is to create a space that a customer organically comes to when looking for solutions to their problems.
Some of the most effective types of content are:
- Blog posts
- Video Tutorials
- Social Media
- Product Guides
The most successful content is usually the most in-depth, fleshed out, and digestible to customers looking for your help, so it's important to know your audience and to become an expert on their problems.
Here are some helpful tips on building your ecommerce content strategy.
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Identify a Buyer Persona
The best way to ensure your ecommerce content strategy solves a specific buyer's problem is to do all the research you can to figure who your customer is, what their problems, challenges and questions are, and what they want.
What is a buyer persona?A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal buyer, based on data and insights you can cultivate by interviewing current or potential customers, reviewing your website analytics, and talking to your sales team to see what kind of leads they have been most successful with.
The most effective buyer personas will cover everything from age and location, to education level and career goals.
Brainstorm who it is you think you're selling to by asking yourself what kinds of problems your business is trying to solve, and for whom you are solving them. Then, back this up and expand upon it by checking your web analytics and speaking with your sales team to see what kinds of leads they're getting.
Generate Content Ideas
Now that you have a confident idea of who your ideal customer is, it's time to start brainstorming your content.
You want to create content that brings customers to your ecommerce site because they believe it is the best place to get answers to their questions and solutions for their problems. And the best way to create the most helpful content for your customers is to understand exactly what problems they're trying to solve.
Since it's always best to be upfront with your customers, don't be afraid to be straightforward with them and ask what their biggest challenges are.
Set up interviews, send out surveys, and build form fields on your website in order to gather as much feedback from potential customers as possible.
The next step in your brainstorming should be getting an understanding of where your ideal customer is currently going for their solution.
Try and get feedback by asking your customers about their reading habits and what some of their favorite online resources are.
Once you're able to put together a list of the websites your buyers rely on, visit those sites and see what topics are getting the most engagement.
You should also check out your competitors' websites and social media presence. See what topics have the most shares, likes, and reads. If you believe your target audience is the same, it's likely that the topics trending for them will also do well for you.
Another useful exercise is visiting Question and Answer websites like Quora and Yahoo Answers. Do some digging about the questions buyers typically have about products similar to yours and see what some of the most popular ones are.
You can even take this a step further and look into Google's search engine analytics and see what the most commonly searched phrases and questions are when it comes to your products and solutions.
Lastly, try to pull some questions out of your own experiences. What challenges do you find when selling or promoting your product or service? What kinds of questions do people have?
Host a brainstorming session with your sales team and see what questions they need answers to in order to sell your product.
Learn Which Social Media Platforms Work For You
Now that you're starting to produce some content, the next important step is understanding when, where, and how your audience consumes content.
Each social media platform provides something different and reaches a different demographic. It's important to experiment a lot at this stage and keep a keen eye on your results in order to create a successful strategy.
Start by learning where your audience spends their time online. Go back to your buyer personas and try to correlate them with the demographics and usage patterns of these major social media sites:
2.7 billion monthly active users,
56% male 44% female
38 minutes a day
187 million daily active users
32% female 68% male
3.53 minutes per session
1 billion monthly active users Age: 25-34
57% female 43% male
29 minutes a day
2 billion active users
72% of all internet users
41.9 minutes average by daily users
738 mil total users Age: 46-55
51% male 49% female
400+ million users
78% female, 22% male
14 minutes a day
Also, be sure to track your internal data to see where your audience is engaging with your content the most, and on top of that, which kind of content is doing the best.
The point here is not to overextend yourself. If your posts aren't resonating on a certain platform, drop it and focus on the places where they are. If a certain kind of content is struggling to engage users, cut it and focus on the ones that are.
It's important to not only experiment with what kind of content succeeds where, but when and how frequently. The best way to track this is to focus on your engagement KPIs (likes, shares, comments, reads) and see at what time your audience is most likely to to engage with your content.
Avoid posting the same content across multiple channels, and abstain from posting too frequently so you don't frustrate your audience by repeating the same content over and over again.
Find a lane that works for you and stick to it.
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How To Promote Your Content
There are two ways to promote your content online. First is by using SEO (search engine optimization) so your content comes to potential customers organically. Second is by using paid marketing to bring your product into a user's feed.
In SEO, the goal is to make your content easily discoverable to potential customers using a search engine like Google. A powerful way to accomplish this is to focus on a few keywords and topics across a number of articles and linking them together in order to build topic clusters and pillar pages.
This not only makes it easy for your audience to understand and navigate your brand and website, but by linking similar content together, you let search engines like Google know you are an authority on the topic and they will begin to send customers with the right questions in your direction.
Paid ads are a great way to fill the gaps your organic efforts can't reach, while also potentially attracting markets you had not thought of yet. The most cost effective way to do this is through Google, or rather Google Ads, itself.
You see Google ads at the top of your google results page, and they get a large majority of the traffic from their related searches.
Track, Measure, and Analyze your results
Lastly, it's important to keep track of how well your marketing strategy is doing. Be sure to check in on your web and social media analytics to see what parts of your content are working, and where you might need to make adjustments.
For your web analytics, make sure you're watching how many people are regularly coming to your site, how long they're staying, how your keywords are ranking through Google Analytics, and your conversion rates on your site.
This way, you can tell how healthy your content marketing strategy is, whether or not your content is engaging to your audience, if google is effectively promoting your content, and how all of this is coming together to drive sales for your business.
For social media, important KPIs include the number of likes, shares, and comments you're getting and when, and then how many customers are being led to your business through your posts.
It's possible for a social media post to explode in popularity over Twitter, but fail to drive the right audience to your ecommerce site. It's best to look out for such issues so you know what kind of adjustments you need to make.
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Your online store, if it hasn't already, may soon become the lifeblood of your retail business. And making sure your are driving effective traffic to your site will make or break the success or your ecommerce store.
Creating a helpful space through relevant and useful content creation to give your customers a crash course in their problems will help bring curious customers to your site while building and maintaining a trusting relationship that will keep them coming back.