Step By Step Guide – How To Start Content Marketing For E-commerce

Of late, have you been exploring newer ways to drive traffic to your e-commerce website?

Well, everyone in the e-commerce business needs that spark which can drive traffic to their website. Entrepreneurs look for and explore newer ways to achieve this. At the end of the day, you want your e-commerce business to grow and spread across rapidly. However, content marketing for e-commerce is one such technique which is age-old and guarantees an increase in conversion.

It’s very likely that over the Internet you would come across multiple suggestions to improve your conversion. How good and effective are these techniques is a different game plan and requires accurate evaluation based on your business domain and several other factors.Content Marketing is a trusted technique and has been around for a long time now. Content marketing for e-commerce is still evolving on a daily basis.

Before we start let us first broadly understand what exactly is content marketing.

Content marketing is a form of marketing which focuses on creating, publishing and distributing content to the targeted online audience. The main intention of using content marketing for e-commerce is-

  • Attract attention and generate leads
  • Expand existing customer base
  • Increase online sales. Generate more revenue
  • Increase brand awareness and credibility
  • Engage an online community of users
  • Improve and evolve based on customer base reactions and demands

Content marketing targets the audience by building trust and rapport. This is not direct sales or endorsement but contains continuous and large amounts of content focusing on your products.

With content marketing for e-commerce, equally important is to have a measurable and accurate content marketing strategy.

Why does content marketing for e-commerce work?

Needless to say, consumers are bombarded with advertisements on a daily basis. In most cases, these are ignored or are never viewed. The dilution of direct marketing has led to a rapid rise in content marketing, where companies publish articles and provide information that users are genuinely interested in. Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing: instead of going to users at the point of sale, content visibility brings users in.

While content marketing cannot sustain a business by itself, it’s an important means of attracting new customers and generating brand equity. Content marketing educates prospective customers, thereby building a rapport that can lead to short-term sales and long-term loyalty.

When effective, content marketing can spread in a viral manner across social media channels. This is more effective than traditional advertising. By all means, word of mouth advertising is more popular than direct advertising.

Content marketing for e-commerce depends on two key factors-

  • Producing content that people legitimately want to consume
  • Effectively distributing it to be found via organic search, social media, or email

Before we start let us look at a few interesting stats about content marketing. This would help in understanding the importance of content marketing for e-commerce.

Stats about content marketing

Content marketing requires a huge online customer base and this is exactly what we have today. According to Pew Research, 26% of US adults are almost always online. They’re part of the 77% of US adults who go online daily. They go online between once and several times a day.The global digital population is over 4 billion. Out of this 3.7 billion are mobile internet users. Overall there are over 3 billion social media users.

Stats about Content Marketing

As per the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), in 2018, 91% of B2B businesses use content marketing. 86% of B2C businesses think content marketing is a key strategy.

About 60% of B2C businesses are committed to content marketing. However, 63% of businesses do not have a content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Strategy

Further to this as per CMI, 64% of marketers want to learn how to build a better content strategy. While there are 32% of marketers who think their content creation workflow is fair or poor. 60% of businesses find it hard to produce content consistently.

Even if the content is created, 65% of businesses find it hard to produce engaging content. Below are few content marketing ROI stats-

  • 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement. In addition, 72% say it has increased the number of leads.
  • Businesses have achieved 60% returning customer rate with video content marketing
  • 66% of people have found a new business on Twitter
  • 69% of people bought something because of a tweet
  • 94% plan to make a purchase from a business they follow

SEO plays a key role in content strategy. Search engine optimization affects where content appears. It also affects whether people see it and whether they click through to your site. The best content marketers focus more on conversions and engagement as compared to purely traffic. 95% of the people do not go beyond the first page of the search results. This is one of the reasons why SEO is tightly coupled with content marketing.

Stats show that blog posts are the most shared online content.

Average Shares by Content

This is one of the reasons why blog creation is a top priority for 53% of marketers. Hubspot’s research indicates that blog post titles with 6-13 words get the most traffic. And Orbit Media suggests that the average blog post is 1142 words long.

Bloggers Typical Blog Post

However, if you really want to rack up those social shares, you’ll need to go long. According to OKDork, the posts that get the most shares are more than 3,000 words long.

Another interesting fact is about mobile internet users. 52% of the overall web traffic is through mobile and this is rapidly increasing.Web Traffic Through Mobile

While these are interesting stats showing the importance of content marketing for e-commerce, let us check on techniques you can induce to have effective content marketing.

Below are the steps you can follow to start content marketing for e-commerce.

Mission, Vision,and Goals

As a first step, create a content marketing mission, vision and set of goals. A good starting point for your content strategy plan is to set out a content marketing mission statement. This is a brief statement that makes it easier to focus on what’s important and what’s not. This in a way is to ensure content marketing strategy is in sync and is focused.

A content marketing mission should focus and outline-

  • The target audience
  • The kind and quality of content you will use to reach them
  • The positive aspect and the benefit you will receive from content marketing

One such impactful example is –

Create Content Marketing Mission,Vision and Goals

The above example is for a non-profit organization. With a simple and lucid mission and vision, the goal of the organization is clear.While the mission statement covers what your audience will get from your content marketing strategy, you also need to think about what your business will get from it. That’s where your business goals come in.

Typical goals include:

  • Improving revenue as a result of your content marketing strategy
  • Making more sales and getting more high-quality leads, which will help you meet your revenue goals.
  • Getting more traffic to your site, as the more traffic, there is, the greater the possibilities for meeting your other goals.
  • Improving the perception of your business, so you gain influence and authority and are seen as a thought leader.
  • SEO success, which leads to more traffic.
  • Reduced marketing costs, as your content becomes more effective.
  • Social media engagement, which can help with both traffic and authority.

Once you have your mission and vision, you can set a well-defined content marketing goal. Once the goal is clear, you can start moving to other aspects of content marketing.

Create your KPI

Once the goals are ready, you can achieve them only if they are specific and measurable. That means setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing strategy.The KPIs will help you know when you have achieved your goals by providing milestones you can check off. They’ll include what you plan to achieve in terms of revenue, sales, traffic, SEO, traffic and different aspects of digital marketing like email marketing and social media metrics.

Typically, this can be achieved in multiple ways. Few examples of this are-

  • Hit a specific revenue target within a month, year or quarter
  • Get more signups for your lead magnet as a sign that you’re getting more high-quality leads
  • Get a certain number of new email subscribers
  • See an increase in site traffic and in engagement with your onsite content
  • Improve the search ranking of some of your key pages to help boost traffic
  • Get a certain number of mentions, shares,and comments for your pillar content
  • Be invited to participate in certain key industry events

This could also be in terms of marketing expenditure, the establishment of campaigns, the cost of acquiring leads or sales. There are few tools such as Salesforce, Geckoboard, Tableau, Grow, Olation and many more available in the market.

Learn about your audience

Learning your audience is one of the initial steps in developing effective content marketing for e-commerce. Sadly, this is never straightforward and requires out of the box thinking a lot of times. As a first step, you can create demographics about your visitors, subscribers and social media followers.

Web analytics, social media analytics,and email subscriber analytics will give you the data you need on your audience’s:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Income

You’ll also get insight into their key interests. To find this information in Google Analytics, go to Audience->Interests->Overview. You can see the market segments your web visitors fit into.

Market Segments

If you use social media, then you can get these demographic insights from there as well. For example, you can get demographic information on your Facebook fans via Facebook Page Insights.

Demographic Insights

Similarly, Twitter has its Twitter analytics. Along with such analytics, you can also incorporate other techniques such as getting customer feedback. The feedback could be answering some basic questions such as-

  • What is their opinion about the quality of the content?
  • What other content are they looking for?
  • What are their urgent needs and how can you address their problems?

Such constant feedbacks can help you decide the best place to find your target customers, understand more deeply into your reader’s priorities.

Get an idea from a competitor

A tool such as BuzzSumo allows you to find content around your topic. This allows you to see what content is performing the best around a particular topic or on a particular site. You can use it to find both topic ideas and other quality blogs. These are also a good option to get backlinks.

Another such tool is Ahrefs. Ahrefs is an SEO tool that shows you how difficult it is to rank for a keyword, how much search traffic a keyword gets, and viral content (sort of like BuzzSumo).Here you can search in the most popular blogs details about the organic search. It gives high volume keywords. From the most popular keywords, you can find relevant blog ideas.

Create Buyer’s Persona

Along with demographic data and customer feedback you can create a buyer’s persona. Buyer personas, also known as customer avatars, describe your ideal readers and customers so that you can target content better.

The best customer avatars include information on your customers’ pain points, challenges, sources of information, and behavioral motivators. With this, you can have an understanding about-

  • The kind of content your audience will respond to
  • How it will help them
  • What will make them care about it

Evaluate your current position

Many similar e-commerce businesses would have contents. This will include content that’s on your blog, as well as social media content, podcasts, videos, and so on. So the important aspect is to figure out if a given content helps you meet your goals. This requires a content audit.

  • Logging all the pieces of content, such as blog posts, guest posts, and so on
  • Assessing their usefulness or success
  • Identifying the gaps

This also requires a comparison with your competitors to figure out how a new content will fit the market. If you want to log all your site or blog content, Screaming Frog is an excellent starting point. It’s a URL crawler that will:

  • List URLs
  • Analyse page titles and descriptions
  • Find duplicate pages
  • Create sitemapsEvaluate Your Current Position

The free version crawls up to 500 URLs. With this tool you can also perform a competitive research, carrying out the same kind of analysis on your competitors’ content.

You can also log your content with the Content Audit tool from SEMRush. To do this, set up a project and select the section of your site you want to audit, such as your blog. Once you select the URLs, press the Start Content Audit button.

Content Analyzer

This will give a complete analysis of your content including-

  • Content titles and descriptions
  • Content length
  • Backlinks
  • Social shares

Once these stats are ready, the next step is to assess the usefulness of the content. This will include-

  • Whether there are a lot of inbound links to the content
  • What the search engine ranking is for keywords associated with that piece of content
  • If the content is widely shared

You’ll get some of this information from the SEMRush report above but can also find more by using other SEMRush tools, such as the site audit and position tracking tools.

Position Tracking Tools

This provides valuable content insights such as-

  • Which pieces of content are so effective that you don’t need to change them
  • Which ones need some improvement or updating to meet your goals
  • Which ones need to be removed or replaced

As the last step, identify the gaps in your content. This would include-

  • Keywords related to your niche that you’re not targeting with your content
  • Questions your target audience is asking that you’re not answering
  • Content that’s starting to rank well but could be improved. Target Google’s answer boxes. These are the boxes that appear above search results and provide the answers to a specific question

Here as well you can use Ahrefs. To do this, go to the Organic search » Content gap. Add the domains for your main competitors under Show keywords that the following rank for. Add your own domain under but the following target does not rank for. Press Show keywords.

Content Gap

This will show a list of competitor keywords that you can target on. A similar analysis can also be carried out using SEMRush.

Watch out for Best Content Channels

As you start evaluating more strategies, you will get a sense of where your audience is hanging out, and where you already have a successful online presence. It’s best to focus on what’s working and expand from there, rather than try to do everything at once.

This would require you to evaluate your content using web analytics such as Google Analytics. For instance, in the below screenshot most activity is taken place using YouTube.Watch Out For Best Content Channels

To find similar data, you can also use BuzzSumo. Go to their Content Analysis tool and type your domain name into the onscreen search box. Press enter and you’ll see charts showing-

  • Shares by network
  • Shares by content type
  • Shares by content length
  • Top content in the past year

Use BuzzSumo

You can also refine your search for more details. This information can provide new insights into the most effective channel to popularize your content.

Decide the content types

As a next point, you need to decide the type of content that will be required. There are some content types that every content marketing strategy will include. In most cases, the content is published on your home website and then later republished or shared on other sites.

Blog posts are an essential part of your content marketing mix, and they still deliver strong results. Ideally, your blog posts will be actionable, valuable, and shareable, and may include a range of article types.

You can use the BuzzSumo tool mentioned to filter types of blog posts you want to create to improve the social shares and to boost engagement and reach.

For instance, below is an example. Click on a content type and a network to see a list of your most shared articles for that metric.

Most Shared Articles

This way you can also check out your competitor’s content strategy. BuzzSumo can be helpful over here too.Other Buzzsumo features allow you to track backlinks, trending content, and questions people ask, and the standard Buzzsumo search includes sharing data for videos.

 

Video marketing should be an essential part of any marketing, as it’s proven to engage your visitors to keep them on site longer, improve lead generation, and reduce abandonment. Also, you can add other visual based contents. Consider creating infographics with tools like Piktochart and Canva, and using Canva and similar tools to create customized graphics and memes for social sharing, like Grammarly does.

Use Grammarly

Other contents which can improve lead generation are- webinars, eBooks, whitepapers, checklists, podcasts.

Hire a specialist

Now, that you have a plan in hand and a content strategy, it is important to allocate a resource for content building. A specialist in digital marketing and content generation is required at this juncture. This will include-

  • A dedicated specialist or team owing up content marketing
  • Tools you need to create the content
  • Decide on how the publishing workflow will look like along with a content schedule

One way to find great freelancers quickly is to return to your Buzzsumo search results, and see who’s written the top content. There’s no harm in approaching them to see if they’re willing to contribute to your content team. You can also find great freelance content producers through networks like Contently, NDash, ClearVoice and similar.

You can choose one of the below is a combination of these to produce content.

  • In-house content creators
  • Specialists in video creation, podcasting, or graphic design
  • Freelancers

Create a content calendar

Once you have your content strategy in place, know exactly when to publish a new content on each platform you choose. Lack of planning is the biggest content marketing mistake. It is essential to use a content calendar to get all content scheduled.

For instance, you can use Google Calendar and simply put the due dates for each piece of content there. That works pretty well, especially if you’re not publishing a lot of content. This is the simplest approach. However, in case you need more detailing then you would have to choose one of the content calendar tools.

Options for managing this include productivity and task management tools like Asana or a purpose-built editorial calendar tool like CoSchedule. Both of these will allow you to schedule different parts of the content creation process.

Create content

Creating content is never easy. To get more topics to do some research on what your customers need answers for. One way to find that out is to use Buzzsumo’s Question Analyzer or Answer the Public. Type a topic into the Answer the Public search box, and you’ll get a list of questions people have actually searched for on Google.

Create Content

Research more about the topic and understand what is popular amongst your audience. This means doing a Google search, checking out the top content for your topic, and seeing how you can improve on it. That’s called the “skyscraper technique”. Optimize and keep creating contents. Reflect your brand’s personality through your contents.

Distribute and Market

Once you have the content ready it is equally important to reach the market. Few of the techniques that can be adopted are-

  • Set a schedule for sharing your content on social media, both immediately, and through a campaign via a tool like Missinglettr.
  • Use email marketing to distribute your content to subscribers.
  • Notify any influencers mentioned in your content to spread the word even wider
  • OptinMonster is also a great tool to use for promoting your content, both on your site and via your email newsletter

Using tools such as OptinMonster you can:

  • Deliver your lead magnet
  • Direct new visitors to the most important parts of your site
  • Engage visitors by showing them new content every time they land on your site

Optimize your content

This is probably the toughest part of all, to optimize your content. Use an SEO checklist such as-

  • Create an attention-grabbinga headline
  • Identify your target keywords
  • Make sure Metatags, Headings, and URLs are optimized
  • Any images should be optimized too
  • Include your keywords naturally throughout your text
  • Link internally to other pages where possible, such as product pages’ other content
  • Link to Influencer’s content wherever possible
  • Make sure social sharing buttons are visible and functioning
  • Check for mobile friendliness and speed

In order to rank high in search, you would need backlinks. It is difficult to get backlinks to product pages. Normally no one does this unless they have a specific benefit or a commission. However, getting backlinks to your blog posts is simple. Search more for authority websites to optimize backlinks as well as gain more influencers.

Measure Results

Once you have achieved all of this, it’s not the end of the journey. It important to measure results and understand how you can improve content marketing for e-commerce. This is a phase where you measure the KPI that was set at the beginning of the content strategy plan. You can use tools such as Google Analytics, OptiMonster, BuzzSumo to evaluate this.

Other tools for tracking content marketing success include Google Alerts and Mention. You can monitor the performance of your content at regular intervals. Also at regular intervals, it is a good practice to reiterate these steps from scratch. This will ensure your marketing strategy is in sync with the customer demands.

A Final Word

Through this post, we have seen the multiple steps you would need to follow in order to ensure you get effective content. Content marketing for e-commerce is tricky and requires in-depth knowledge of content, social channels, customers, visitors and also market expectation. This along with well-known tools can be a sure shot guide to start content marketing for e-commerce.

Also Read: 20 E-commerce Growth Strategies Checklist for 2018

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