Ecommerce 101: get ’em in with content marketing

Are you in the 10% club of content marketing?

You’ve set the foundation with your website in part 1, created and implemented your social commerce strategy in part 2, now it’s time to give your customers something to sink their teeth into by way of content marketing.

Content marketing, it’s nothing new or unique: most businesses are content marketing in some form. In fact, you’re in the 10 percent club if you’re not…and this 10% is not elite.

The good news? Whether using it as a direct response source or merely recycling ideas until there is no substance left, most of your competitors are getting it wrong and not doing it very well.

More good news: eCommerce is a content goldmine, your job is a lot easier. How-to guides, product demonstrations, comparisons and reviews, industry commentaries, you name it, it’s there for you.

While it possesses its intricacies, content marketing is not that complicated. Your goal: creating and promoting content that is informative and registers with your customers. One last thing…do not, under any circumstances, outsource at this stage! Let’s start.

Content marketing starts with…copy.

It doesn’t matter what your product or service is, you need content on your web pages. The balance between copy and images will depend on what and who you’re selling to.

Regardless of the balance, always start with copy and end with design. Remember the keyword audit you completed in part 1? The keyword will be the foundation stone of each page’s copy.

Stuffing is for turkeys, not your webpage: don’t do it. Weave the page’s keyword into your copy organically. Focus on what your customers will be focusing on — the content.

While unimportant to your page’s ranking, your meta description is essential for click-throughs. Provide a naturally worded meta description for every page, including the page’s keyword.

You’re an authority aren’t you?

You also need a blog and you need to post consistently. Hubspot suggests once per week, but the key is quality and quality is relative: what quality is for one group is junk for the next.

Do the groundwork: identify your buyer personas. How many are there, what are their interests?

The blog is not just a place to feature your product as the solution to their problems, it’s there to inform and even to entertain. Your domain authority will be a reflection of this and your industry authority.

One way to demonstrate your authority is to expand scope. The obvious is low-hanging fruit that most of your competition are already grabbing at, i.e. they only talk about what is directly related to the product.

A good place to start, you will eventually hit a content wall and fail to differentiate yourself. If you have buyer and industry knowledge, it should be easy to weave their interests into your content.

In a green world, your content needs to be sustainable

Sustainability is to consume something in a way that’ll extend its life. It’s easier in the digital than the physical world and no other form of marketing will reach the sustainability of content marketing.

One of the reasons, evergreen content. This content is perennial, it isn’t focused on a trend or year. Whether written or visual, e.g. infographic, it remains relevant indefinitely.

It is important for two reasons. Directly, the longer your content is relevant, the more opportunities its subject matter will be searched for; the more it contributes to your authority.

Indirectly, it’ll provide more people to explore your site over the long-term, sign-up for your mailing list, and ultimately become customers.

Create a path that is easy to see…

You’ve got your buyer personas, you’re creating diverse content that is relevant, interesting and creating evergreen pieces as well. Traffic is great but you want that traffic to go somewhere…CONVERSION. When you drive, you are directed to your destination by traffic signals and signs.

Ask yourself, “What is their path to conversion and how do you best get them there?”

To answer this, you must map the buyer journey from beginning to end and what they will need from your content at specific points on that journey. Mapping your content to the journey helps you develop the relationship.

Your traffic signals? Your calls to action: every piece should have one. The CTA will depend on the piece’s goal. Common CTAs are to read a related article, sign-up for a newsletter, download a guide, and finally some call to formally convert.

Segment your visitors further. What channel did they come through? Are they new or returning? Have they indicated a deeper interest, e.g. downloading content. The first sincere step to conversion…giving you their contact information…get it with a newsletter sign-up form and use it responsibly.

If a tree falls?

In the digital world…NO, it won’t make a sound. Sorry, creating content is only 20% of your work. The next 80% of your work is promoting it. This is not a one-time deal. Your initial posts won’t get much traction and “initial” can feel like a long time. That’s fine. Don’t take it personally, it’ll take time to build critical mass. Produce and promote, rinse and repeat.

The primary promotion channels will be newsletters, social media, forums, post-to-post and guest posts. Remember the homework in part 2? Fuse your post and promotion schedules together. This series is about the nuanced; let’s look at post-to-post promotion.

You’ll get a lot of content while providing a nice promotion base for each article by breaking larger pieces into multi-article series. When promoting the series through newsletter, social media and forums, mention that it is the first in the series.

At the end of each article, encourage engagement and mention the following article. At the beginning of each, mention and link to the previous in the intro. When the series is completed, promote it as the complete series. You also have the bulk material for an e-book.

Your content marketing homework and what’s next.

Part 3 is now in the bag! That leaves one last article for the “Get ‘em in” portion of the eCommerce series. On to homework: create your buyer personas and plan four pieces of content around them.

It is likely that you’ll come up with more than four, but four are a month’s worth of content at a piece a week. We want momentum and rhythm, commit to getting at least two pieces out within the month.

Once the first four pieces are decided, fuse them with your posting schedule and schedule multiple for each. For example, the Twitter feed moves the fastest, plan accordingly. No newsletter sign-up form? Get your plug-in NOW.

And That’s a wrap! Part 4 will be on using an ad network to get ‘em in. Specifically, we will look at why they are important and what to look for when choosing an ad network partner. Let’s continue the good work. Talk to you soon.

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