- Content marketing is one of the most effective ways an ecommerce brand can differentiate itself from the competition.
- Ecommerce content marketing enables brands to cover every step of the buyer’s journey.
- Ecommerce content marketing allows online retailers to build deep, authentic relationships with their audiences.
With the entire world lunging toward digital customer experiences, ecommerce content marketing can give you the edge to beat your competitors. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to generate brand loyalty while increasing online sales in the process.
Below, I’ll explain why ecommerce content marketing is so powerful. I’ll also reveal nine different strategies you can use to achieve greater ROI.
Why ecommerce content marketing gives online retailers a strategic advantage
When enterprise brands with online stores invest in digital marketing campaigns, they tend to prioritize paid advertising and social media for fast turnarounds. But, when you dig into the metrics that drive real marketing ROI throughout the sales funnel, they all point to content marketing.
Furthermore, if we expand the definition of ecommerce marketing to include SaaS, then the opportunity really explodes. Through that lens, content can include webinars, podcasts, templates, white papers, case studies, and so much more.
Ecommerce content marketing improves SEO performance
Content marketing for ecommerce sites delivers a major advantage when it comes to SEO.
When you consistently create and optimize high-value content around relevant keywords, you attract organic search traffic that you typically would have to pay for in the form of advertising. And that translates to massive savings considering the better return on investment of SEO vs PPC.
Plus, a well-executed SEO strategy delivers compounding organic traffic over time, leading to new customers and greater revenue. Compare that to paid media, where traffic goes to zero if you stop buying ads.
The benefits of ecommerce SEO go beyond ranking in the search engines, traffic, and lower costs. In a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Terakeet, the broader business value of SEO is highlighted: “Marketers often see that customers who come to their sites through SEO tend to be more loyal, leading to greater lifetime value. They engage more and spend more time on their sites.”
Ecommerce content marketing completes the customer journey
Content marketing for ecommerce companies should span the entire customer journey map, from the moment when a prospect becomes aware of a problem, through the purchase, and even retaining. By creating content that solves a specific problem, educates the prospect, or offers valuable information, your brand can be present every step of the way as a customer progresses through the journey.
If your content is limited to only product pages (as is the case with many ecommerce retailers), your customer touch points may be limited to the final stages of the customer journey. In turn, this leaves major gaps for your competitors to swoop in and help address your prospective customers’ needs throughout the majority of their buyer journey.
Content marketing differentiates your brand
Unless you’re selling a one of a kind product, differentiation can be really hard in the ecommerce world. Content strategy can help set you apart. It allows you to show off your brand personality and attract customers who otherwise might not be particularly loyal to a specific brand or product.
Red Bull is a great example of this. They don’t necessarily have the best energy drink. In fact, many people would argue that it tastes pretty bad. But, by relentless content marketing, mostly in video, they’ve built a protective moat around their brand.
Ecommerce content marketing optimizes your conversion funnel
Ecommerce brands tend to silo their content, disconnecting it from their ecommerce site and operations. As a result, potential customers experience friction during the journey which lowers your conversion rate.
On the other hand, the best ecommerce content marketing strategies seamlessly move customers through your conversion funnel until they’re ready to buy. Remember, not everyone who lands on your website wants to make a purchase. So, it’s important to strengthen your relationship with your audience during each brand touch point.
For instance, B2C marketers can invite new visitors to become email subscribers to get the latest deals. Or, in the B2B space, you could encourage users to download a white paper, view testimonials or download your latest case studies and customer stories.
These micro-conversions can help you move them through the purchase funnel.
For those who are ready to shop, you should also be including CTAs to drive them towards an actual purchase. In this way, you can be continually guiding them towards greater and greater engagement and more and more purchases.
Content marketing for ecommerce amplifies brand loyalty
With the massive proliferation of choices, brand loyalty is increasingly difficult to create. One retail customer experience study showed that nearly 50% of consumers abandoned a brand they were loyal to after having a better experience with another brand.
Content marketing allows you to strengthen the relationship you have with your audience and deepen brand loyalty. By regularly creating valuable content that educates, entertains, or both, you form a connection of sorts with your customers. They look forward to the next piece of content you are going to release because of how it enriches their lives and/or solves their pain points.
Ecommerce content marketing strategies and examples
Now let’s talk about content-specific marketing strategies you can use to grow your audience and engage your current customers.
1. Create a content hub
Content hubs are some of the best ecommerce content marketing examples you’ll come across. A content hub is a centralized location on your website that contains curated content around a specific topic. It can include everything from blog posts to videos to social content to printable checklists. What matters is that all this content creation is organized around one central topic.
For example, if you sell supplements, you could create content hubs about the best supplements for pain, energy, health, or any other topic that is relevant to your audience.
Content hubs can be extremely valuable to both you and your customers. In terms of how they benefit you, they:
- Generate increased organic search traffic
- Increase audience engagement
- Generate more social shares
- Provide you a space for thought leadership
For your customers, content hubs provide them with superior user experience on your site. They make it simple for your audience to digest a topic in one place, with all the best information gathered into one spot.
A good example of an effective content hub is Lowe’s “DIY Projects and Ideas”, which contains different types of useful home improvement content, including hundreds of how-to articles, buying guides, inspirational pieces, and calculators.
2. Build SEO topic clusters on your blog
Topic clusters are an incredibly effective way to increase organic search performance as well as conversions. A topic cluster is defined as a hub-and-spoke model of content organized around a central theme. It’s anchored by a pillar page, acting as the hub. The other pages in a topic cluster are typically blog posts that cover related subjects.
The pillar post covers all the topics in the cluster at a relatively high level and links out to all the supporting posts in the topic cluster. Each of the supporting pages links back to the pillar page, and also includes internal links to the other cluster pages.
For example, let’s look at Terakeet’s SEO strategy article which ranks on Google page one for the keyword “SEO strategy”. This pillar page links to many supporting pages covering topics related to:
Blogging helps you dominate search by ranking for an entire keyword vertical with several pieces of hyper-targeted long-form content.
In addition, topic clusters provide the ideal structure to help your entire website rank better. As individual cluster pages rank higher in Google, they’ll earn backlinks which will pass along value to the other pages within the cluster. This, in turn, will help them rank better, and they’ll earn more backlinks to pass along PageRank. It’s a virtuous optimization cycle.
3. User generated content (UGC)
As yet another content marketing strategy for ecommerce, user generated content is especially effective because it often shows real people actually using your products. It acts simultaneously as word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing and social proof. People might not necessarily believe everything you say about your products, but they’re much more likely to believe what actual customers have to say.
There are a number of ways you can encourage UGC:
- Create a contest that involves customers submitting content (videos, photos, etc.)
- Encourage people to leave reviews after a purchase is made
- Create a social media hashtag around your brand or specific products and then encourage customers to use that hashtag
- Regularly post UGC on your own social media feeds
A good example of a brand with strong, interactive UGC is Lush Cosmetics. Instead of plowing their marketing budget into ads, Lush focuses on user engagement. At every turn, Lush is encouraging its customers (affectionately known as “Lushies”) to share their experiences with the brand online.
Sabine Schwirtz, prior Community Manager at LUSH, explains the value of UGC to the brand: “User-generated content is a great way for us to produce larger quantities of content that performs really highly and engages our community. Our consumers are giving us exactly what they want to see. It’s important that we’re listening to those needs and providing what they want.”
4. Build a glossary of terms
If your products involve terms that are unfamiliar, building a glossary can be a very effective form of ecommerce content marketing. It provides a central location for your customers to learn about your product and the language associated with it.
A glossary can also be an effective SEO strategy, attracting visitors who are searching for a specific term. Since your product aligns specifically with their search, it’s likely that they’ll explore your site and product further.
GEICO includes a glossary of insurance terms in its website, for example, to help site visitors understand all the industry jargon, which can be confusing to many.
5. Infographics/gift guides
Infographics are an effective way to convey information visually and make it easier to understand. The education stage of the buyer’s journey is a particularly good place to utilize infographics as a means of helping potential customers better understand their pain points and how your products can help alleviate them.
What’s more, infographics are highly shareable on social media, which can help you increase brand awareness and drive additional traffic back to your site.
Gift guides can help customers make purchasing decisions while also giving you the opportunity to show off your products. They can be particularly effective around holidays where gifts are given, like Christmas, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, etc.
6. Tutorial videos
The popularity of tutorial videos has surged in recent years, as people increasingly turn to YouTube when they want to learn how to do something. You can capitalize on this trend by creating video content that teaches viewers how to use your products to solve specific problems or challenges.
This type of video marketing works well for both educating potential buyers on the value of your product, as well as retaining existing customers on how to get the most value out of your product.
Since tutorial videos are generally very actionable, they’re a good way to build trust with your audience with good content. This is clear in the Bobbi Brown Cosmetics YouTube video below. The more they see you as a trustworthy resource, the more likely they will be to convert when they’re ready to buy.
7. Reviews/comparison pages
Online reviews provide your audience with social proof of the high quality of your products. Ninety-three percent (93%) of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decision. Eight-two percent (82%) of consumers make a special effort to read the reviews before they purchase a product.
Clearly, featuring reviews in your ecommerce website can help you win more conversions.
Another type of ecommerce content marketing that involves a review is what’s called a “comparison page”. This may seem counterintuitive, but creating pages on your site where you review and compare your product against a competitor’s can be a great way to get more customers.
Toward the end of the buyer’s journey, potential customers are actively comparing a few products that they think are the best possible solution for them. In fact, there’s a good chance they’ll search for “[competitor product name] vs. [your product name]” or “[competitor product name] alternative”.
By creating review and comparison pages, you can capture some of this search traffic and also show why your product is superior to your competitor’s. You can also link to these pages directly from your product pages as a way of further convincing potential buyers that what you offer is superior.
For example, the IP detection software developer Leadfeeder has comparison pages against its top competitors. These pages include a comparison of features, pricing, and third-party integrations.
8. FAQ pages
Among the types of content that ecommerce brands tend to focus on, FAQ pages may not be the most glamorous, but they are very useful.
Inevitably, both potential and existing customers are going to have questions about your products. An FAQ page allows you to overcome objections from potential buyers while also supporting your existing customers.
One caveat here though. If you consistently get the same questions about a specific product, you should answer those questions directly on the product page. Don’t make a visitor have to navigate to an FAQ page for product-specific answers. Use your FAQ page for other questions, like shipping, returns, etc.
9. Content amplification
Your content won’t deliver ROI if very few people see it. Once you’ve published a piece, you need to focus on content amplification so that as many target audience members as possible know about it.
There are a number of strategies you can use to highlight and distribute your content, including:
- Social media marketing—sharing multiple times across multiple social media platforms
- Email marketing to your mailing list
- Collaborating with partners
- Sharing with thought leaders in your space
- Paid advertising
- Sharing your content in online communities (branded communities, FB Groups, Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, etc.)
- Partnering with influencers to share your content or to collaborate in creating something new
- Building backlinks to your content
- Incentivizing customers to share it through discounts, giveaways, contests, etc.
The importance of amplifying your content can’t be overstated. If no one sees your content, you’re essentially throwing your ecommerce content marketing investment into the trash can.
The ROI Of Content Marketing
To be done well, ecommerce content marketing requires a lot of time and effort. But if you follow the strategies listed above, your content marketing ROI will soar. A piece of content that took a few days to create can draw in new visitors for years to come. Over time, this can become a flowing, organic funnel of new customers for your ecommerce store.
And even more importantly, your content marketing efforts build a relationship between your brand and your audience. This then translates into brand love, more loyal customers, as well as greater word of mouth and referrals. In addition, it ultimately leads to increased revenue and greater lifetime value.
Content marketing for ecommerce websites is more than important. It’s one of the most strategic marketing investments ecommerce business owners can make. Invest wisely!