eCommerce stores make money from selling products. It’s obvious to say, but important to underscore because sometimes marketers get carried away and forget to recognize that their efforts are meant to drive brand awareness and conversions, not simply traffic to the website. All the traffic in the world is useless without any conversions from which the business makes money.
That said, content marketing can be an incredibly valuable way to build a loyal group of users and customers, get your message spread to the world via social media, and also drive new external links to your website which helps it rank better across the site and drive more organic traffic.
We’d be extremely wrong to just think of content marketing as a way to improve your search traffic though. While it definitely can have that effect, at the end of the day content is its own vehicle that can drive massive amounts of traffic, microconversions such as email addresses and new users, and allow you to take them deeper into the funnel via email marketing, remarketing, and other marketing channels.
Any channel in a silo is not going to be close to as effective as when it is integrated with the other channels.
In this chapter, you will learn ideas for ecommerce content marketing such as:
Content marketing is an effective way to build thought leadership, rank for keywords related to the products that you sell, and also earn those all important links back to your website.
There are many ways to build a company. Some companies prefer to expedite the process with Facebook Ads or Adwords, which can be quite profitable but also can make it tough to build a strong brand and have low enough cost of acquisition to sustain the company long term.
By investing in content marketing, you are investing in the long term growth of your site and brand because you are directly able to target your customers at many different points in their buying journey. You can also use content to take them from casual readers to engaged email subscribers and finally to paying customers.
A study done by the content marketing firm Fractl over on Moz shows as well that tangentially related content earns great links and shares for “boring” industries. As a marketer, I would argue that this is true in non-boring industries as well.
Think about a shoe company. You may have a very hard time getting links to your important category pages and products, but people love reading about and sharing content about their favorite sports star who just so happens to wear a specific kind of shoe.
Getting people to a content piece about a celebrity athlete is not that hard. You can then link internally to your product or category page (or both) as well as tagging them with a Facebook or Adwords pixel to then retarget them with ads for those specific products.
See the possibilities?
Content marketing is an inherently creative and data driven channel at the same time. And at the end of the day, great content becomes successful or not based on the outreach and promotion done to get that content in front of its intended audience.
And it probably doesn’t need to be said that every niche is going to have different topics and opportunities to talk about that their intended audience may be interested in.
At the same time, “content” doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be limited to something “that the marketing team does”. Many companies are guilty of thinking that “content marketing” is “writing blogs”, which couldn’t be further from the truth. To start with, you write blog posts on a blog, but that’s just a personal pet peeve that drives me crazy.
Content can be SO many things. Content can be:
We do ourselves a grave disservice when we think of content as just being words written on a blog. Content can be many different mediums:
At the same time, you can use in-depth content to drive both traffic and conversions on pages like category pages.
Here are some of my favorite examples of ecommerce and marketplace (which are essentially an ecommerce site, just with multiple sellers) content marketing.
AirBNB has not invested in these in a few years, but at one point they were building in-depth pages about their major cities and the neighborhoods within each. Here is their page for Sant Pere, a neighborhood in Barcelona:
As you scroll down the page, you see incredible photography that gives you a feel for the neighborhood, which is important if you plan to stay for a few days to a week or more
Warby Parker, if you don’t know, is an eyewear company that started online and now has stores around the US, such as in SoHo in New York City, Hayes Valley of San Francisco, and Boulder, Colorado. They became known through their Home Try-On scheme back in 2010 and are still going strong today. In fact, I just recently did a new home try-on set because I need new glasses after my 2014 Warby Parkers have the wrong prescription now.
On their homepage, they have a quiz that helps you narrow down to your preferences. This is smart content as well as a conversion driver I’m sure:
Patagonia is a clothes company that sells a lot of product online as well as through their physical stores around the United States and the world. If you’ve ever done outdoor sports, you have probably seen people wearing Patagonia.
Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, was one of the original rock climbers in Yosemite in the 1960s and 1970s and also founded Black Diamond, which makes outdoors equipment. Chouinard sold Black Diamond to concentrate on Patagonia, and over the last few decades Patagonia has been driven by its mantra to be good to the environment and reduce their impact on the world.
As an ecommerce store, they benefit from stances their company and founder take and thus the press coverage that it brings for Chouinard. Taking a stand for something can be incredible content marketing.
This one initiative alone has earned them over 10,000 backlinks:
In the next chapter we are going to cover link building for ecommerce websites, but we should also remember two important things:
Many “content marketers” spend most of their time ideating and creating content and yet very little time creating it. They either fear that their audience will not actually be interested in it, or they do not know where to start with promoting the content they have produced.
To the first point, if you have truly created something useful and interesting then you should trust that others want to hear about it, see it, and share it with others. If you are not sure, then you have not done your job of ensuring that what you are creating is actually useful and/or interesting to them.
Second, there are a myriad of ways to promote content. As you go deeper into a content marketing career you will learn the value of prelaunch checklists, building targeted lists of people with whom to share it who can amplify it, the importance of a group of people who will always amplify it, how to work with a PR professional to amplify it, and more.
eCommerce presents so many great opportunities for content marketing because you are selling products that help people do things they enjoy or need to do. Thus, you can tell so many interesting stories or take part in interesting discussions that drive that industry forward. Or you can go the route of being informative and answering as many of their questions as possible.
The opportunities are endless. Have fun with it!