The Importance Of Content Marketing For eCommerce

Writer:
Suzanne Wentley
Editor:
Casey Horgan
Published: Nov 17, 2023
Last Updated:
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Your e-commerce business needs three things to compete: great products, a well-built website, and content to draw in your customers. So once you've perfected your products and optimized your online store, all that's left to do is get the word out.

To reach your customers and stand out from the competition, you need quality content that attracts and engages people when they're online. When it comes to content marketing for e-commerce, specifically, you have the freedom and flexibility to raise brand awareness in creative ways, and you can connect with customers from anywhere in the world.

Of course, a comprehensive content marketing strategy for e-commerce is a long-term investment in your brand. It's all about raising awareness, strengthening relationships with your target audience, and establishing the framework for a customer journey to end in a sale. To execute it properly, it helps to write everything down, map out your strategies in advance, and earmark resources to put toward content creation and distribution.

E-Commerce Content Marketing Explained

E-commerce content marketing is an outreach strategy you use to attract and engage a specific audience by creating (and sharing) useful information. The goals associated with this strategy vary with each brand’s individual business plan, but it's often focused on driving traffic to an online store, thereby increasing sales.

Content comes in many forms, including:

  • Blog posts
  • Buying guides
  • Emails
  • Videos
  • Quizzes
  • Social media posts
  • Infographics
  • Technical white papers
  • Ebooks
  • Case studies
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Press releases
  • User-generated content

The right content for your business will depend on the products you're selling. For example, white papers can help customers understand the ins and outs of highly specialized products or add context to innovative items. "How-To" blog posts are great for building long-term loyalty, and comparison articles can help a reader see how your product is better than the competition.

Your approach also needs to keep your customers' preferences in mind. Brands selling trendy sunglasses may have better success with an e-commerce content strategy focused on social media posts, videos, or user-generated content motivated by contests or giveaways.

Regardless of which e-commerce product content is best for you, the process of creating a content strategy for e-commerce is the same. 

Start by identifying measurable goals you'd like to achieve within a certain time period. Then, drill down into your audience of potential customers, and figure out what their needs are. Next, develop content ideas that address these needs, and create a content marketing calendar that outlines your plan's action steps and content strategies.

Benefits of Content Marketing for E-Businesses

Content marketing for e-commerce has powerful benefits that you can (and should) measure by tracking common content marketing metrics. Try picking one or two key performance indicators, or KPIs, to follow at the beginning and the end of the campaign to determine what works and what needs improving. 

There are plenty of reasons content marketing benefits your company, including:

  • Increased brand awareness with frequent publication
  • Building trustworthiness and credibility through consistency 
  • More visits to your online store
  • Enhanced relationships with current and future customers
  • Providing a platform for feedback and improvements of products and selection
  • Offering value to potential customers, which can translate to loyalty
  • Opportunity to further customer journeys through sales funnels
  • Better sales conversion rate

When creating a content strategy for an e-commerce website, think about your goals. Note how your site traffic and sales are before you launch a campaign, and measure them again when it's finished. While e-commerce content marketing can give you all the benefits listed above, you’ll have more success when you focus on one or two.

Challenges of Content Marketing for E-Businesses

Selling your products and services online means you can reach people from all around the world. But so can your competition. And, unless you narrow down your target audience, your marketing efforts will have to be very general to include everyone. One of your biggest challenges, therefore, is refining your focus. You’ll have more success with e-commerce content marketing when you have a smaller group with similar demographics, pain points, behaviors, and preferences.

Another challenge is the simple act of staying consistent as you work to create high-quality e-commerce content writing. Take the time to create a detailed list of topics, figure out your brand voice, and assign projects on a set schedule. Delegate responsibilities for all tasks, from search engine optimization and keyword research to producing and publishing each piece of content on your site, social media platforms, and elsewhere.

12 E-Commerce Content Marketing Strategies That Work

We've put together 12 tried-and-true content marketing strategies you can leverage as you grow your e-commerce business:

1. Organize Your Content in Clusters

Having great content isn't enough. Search engines reward you for high-quality information, and when Google rewards you, more of your customers will see your content. But search engines also need to know what your site is all about, so you’ll need to structure your content accordingly. To do this, figure out the primary topics you want to be known for and build clusters of content around each topic.

These content clusters can be organized with a pillar page on the website, a menu or sub-headings that feature different subtopics, and hyperlinks that make it easy to learn even more about the topic. Map it out so that no content is more than a click or two away from a sales page.

2. Consider Implementing a Content Hub

You'll publish content on your website, post it across different social media platforms, and share things by email. Make it easy for your customers to find your content by showcasing everything on a content "hub." This space on your website keeps prospective customers engaged and teaches them about how you can meet their needs and share their values. The content hub should be separate from your online store, but it’s equally important for maximizing the results of your e-commerce website content.

3. Showcase User-Generated Content (UGC)

Develop fun and motivational strategies for encouraging your followers to make their own social media content. Loyal customers will love to be featured on your social media page, so give them the opportunity!

Create contests, raffles, or giveaways that require participants to follow your instructions and create fun videos or posts. When they tag you, their friends and followers will also learn about your brand. 

4. Master Conversion-Optimized Product Descriptions

Short-form content, like your product descriptions, can also boost your SEO efforts and increase conversions. Weave keywords into your writing so your customers can readily find items, and use the space to speak directly to your target audience. You can even add backlinks to helpful blogs and other content on your e-commerce website to improve your search engine page ranking.

5. Ensure High-Quality Imagery of Products

Customers need to clearly see a product before they buy it. When a file is too small, the image will be pixelated on your site — and can even make the viewer wonder if your site is legitimate. That’s how important high-quality product images are.

You also don't want images to be so large that they take forever to load. Aim for a file size of roughly 1 MB. Don’t forget to optimize your captions, file name, and alt text, all of which search engine crawlers scan.

6. Leverage Video Formats To Boost Engagement

Everyone loves videos. They're multi-sensory and easy to digest. In fact, YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. Even Facebook and Instagram have leveraged the trend with Reels.

When producing video content for your e-commerce website, pay extra attention to light and sound. If you have someone in front of the camera, write out a script (or at least an outline of points to cover), as well as a well-thought-out structure for the video itself.

7. Use Social Media To Spark Up Conversations

Every business, regardless of size, should have a Facebook Business page and Google Business profile, at the very least. You may want to expand to Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social media platforms frequented by your target audience. 

Social media is a must, especially when it comes to boosting your e-commerce brand. It’s smart to stay consistent and active while engaging followers with questions, quizzes, and other interactive content marketing strategies.

8. Optimize E-Commerce Marketplaces

You have your own online store, but to reach more customers, you'll want to offer your products on popular e-commerce marketplaces. Some of the most popular ones are:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Shopify
  • Etsy
  • BigCommerce
  • Poshmark

Tailor your content to the different customers who visit each e-commerce platform. For example, people use Amazon when they're looking for convenience or low prices. Etsy, on the other hand, attracts customers who value hand-crafted products, hope to support small businesses, or want to find unique items. Adjust your messaging accordingly to see higher returns.

9. Ensure a Good User Experience With UX-Friendly Web Design

As many sites are integrating AI with chatbot scripts and pop-ups, it’s worth mentioning the importance of an enjoyable user experience for e-commerce transactions. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re investing in paid advertising or using content to draw in organic traffic: Customers will come to your website, and the design needs to be both easy to navigate and visually pleasing. For a uniform brand identity, decide on the brand voice, tone, message, color palette, fonts, and images you want to use — and stick with it.

10. Discover the Power of Email Marketing

Email is one of the top three most effective marketing channels. In fact, over half of consumers prefer brands to communicate with them through email. Give the people what they want by leveraging email marketing best practices. Remind potential customers of upcoming sales, send out newsletters, and reward existing customers with advance ordering. The possibilities are endless, and the data you'll gather can inform future campaigns.

11. Determine Your Best Channels Through Analytics

There are many strategies to try with content marketing for e-commerce, but it’s worth the time to crunch numbers after a campaign ends. That way, you’ll know if you are reaching the measurable goals you set at the beginning of the work.

Leverage your analytics and monitor KPIs to determine if a change will benefit the long-term success of your company’s overall growth.

12. Create SEO-Optimized Blog Posts

Blogs are a quick, budget-friendly way to build a large amount of valuable content that current and future customers will appreciate. Just like with images and other website content, you’ll want to include keywords throughout your blogs to maximize your SEO efforts.

Never lose sight that your customers are who you're targeting with all of this content. Keywords boost your search engine ranking, but if your content suffers because of them, you won't convert leads into sales. Even search engine algorithms agree. Google looks for content that follows E-E-A-T guidelines, an acronym that stands for:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

The more experience you have in a subject, the more expertise you showcase, the more authoritative your website is, and the more trustworthy your brand is, the better your content will perform. When you focus on those qualities, your content will get noticed and get results.

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