Guest blog from eCommercePlatforms.io: Content marketing is a must-have for eCommerce brands in 2019. It piques customer interest in an organic way, helping them engage with your brand without going for the hard sell.
But eCommerce content marketing is about more than just sharing a blog to your social. It needs a concerted strategy from start to finish to ensure its success.
Read on to discover how to create a content marketing plan for your eCommerce brand in 2019.
An email newsletter is a great way to share your content with your customers.
Here are four more types of email that eCommerce brands need to know.
Do keyword research to find the bones of your content
Your keywords are the foundation upon which your content marketing strategy is built. They are how your prospective customers find you, and it’s a key element of getting your brand ranking well in the SERPs.
Identify the words or phrases that your customers use to find you — e.g. “activewear” — and then narrow it down to get a more targeted audience. For instance: “activewear for women”.
Don’t focus on a single phrase though. Build on this with related phrases. There are plenty of tools available to help you with this. Keyword Tool is a free tool that helps you identify the most commonly searched terms around your industry keywords.
Create a content spreadsheet to keep it all together
Once you’ve got your keyword research, collate all your data into a spreadsheet. This should comprise your target keywords for your business and related keywords.
Collating your data should help you identify other topics that your target audience searches for in relation to your brand. For instance, if you’re a fitness brand, your customers might search for running tips for people with bad joints. This will help inform your content strategy further down the line.
Use this data to ideate topic ideas for your brand. As well as keywords and possible titles, you should include goals for your content too, which we’ll go into in greater depth next.
Identify your content goals
Each piece of content will have a different goal for your business. There are several options for your content marketing goals, but they might include:
● Boost engagement: engagement is crucial for building customer relationships, and your content should nurture relationships with your audience. User-generated content (UGC) and customer spotlights are good examples of content that achieves this.
● Increase traffic: this content is optimised to appear in search engine results pages. It provides customers with value while simultaneously leading them to your brand. This includes how-to guides and instructional pieces that address common queries your customers have.
● Help with product research: your content plays an important role in the research stage of the customer journey. Product comparison guides and explainer videos help inform your customers about their purchase decision.
● Generate sales: this content is the final straw that convinces your prospective customers to buy. This will be similar to the research content mentioned above, but more definite — special offers and post-purchase guarantees help compel customers to make the final purchase.
Not every piece of content will have a quantifiable goal like the ones listed above, but most should. Assigning a goal to your content helps you quantify its success further down the line, so be sure to include this on your content marketing spreadsheet.
Plan and create your content
Now you’ve identified your keywords and your content goals, it’s time to create your content. Take the time to plan your blogs, with keyword-targeted H1s, H2s, and H3s that show search engines (and your customers) what your content is about.
While the ideal length of written content varies, most pundits point to 1000 words as the sweet spot. However, there’s no point writing that many words if there’s no need for it — you’ll just end up repeating yourself or filling it with superfluous content.
Instead, opt for content that actually delivers value. 500 words of concise, valuable content is better than 2000 words of fluff.
And remember, don’t need to stick to just blogs. Remember, the key here is variety: there are lots of ways you can approach your content, from answering questions to influencer partnerships, so it’s worth striving for a diverse variety of ideas that keep your audience interested. Remember: photo essays, infographics, videos, and other formats than blog posts are open to you.
Each format works differently for each content goal too. For instance, videos are good for product explainers, while UGC collation is great for driving engagement and nurturing customer relationships.
Finally, give your content to someone else for a quick once-over. A second pair of eyes is crucial for providing you with feedback and spotting any mistakes you might have missed.
Create a promotional schedule
Once you’ve created and published your content, don’t let it just gather dust on your blog. Share and promote it across your social channels to drive organic traffic to it.
A social promotional calendar helps drive traffic to your content outside of the SERPs. The key here is consistency. Publish at the same time on the same day every week — this encourages your followers to check in regularly.
Research what time and what day is best to post on social for your target audience too. For instance, if your customers are based outside the US, you’ll need to adjust when you post your content accordingly if you’re based in the States.
It’s also worth thinking about how your content fits in with the piece shared before and after it. For instance, a product comparison guide might pique the interest of a prospective lead, while an explainer video shared afterwards capitalises on that interest and convinces the customer to convert.
Your email marketing also plays a role in your promotional schedule. Create a newsletter that collates the content you share each week and deliver it directly to your customers. This gets your new content noticed by sending it straight to your audience’s inbox.
Quantify your content KPIs
So you’ve created your content, it’s published to your blog, and you’re sharing it across your social and email marketing channels. Now it’s time to measure your efforts and quantify the fruits of your success.
This is tied to your content goals, and so the way you measure the success of each piece of content will vary accordingly. Consider the goal of each piece of content and identify the key performance indicators (KPIs).
Here are a few examples to help you based on the goals we identified earlier:
● Boost engagement: KPIs for this content includes shares and comments. More engagement of this kind shows that your customers are actually connecting with your content, and thus your brand.
● Increase traffic: look at your total blog visits per week, and consider how many of them are new or returning visitors. At the same time, track how long each visitor spends on your site — this shows whether your traffic means something or whether it’s just a flash in the pan.
● Generate sales: this one is simple: how many visitors actually turn into customers and make a sale? Your click-through rates from your sales-driven content show how successful your content actually is.
Quantifying your content in this way helps you identify possible flaws in your strategy and fine-tune it to be more effective. If you’re nailing your engagement but lacking in sales, you will know where best to allocate your resources further down the line.
Content marketing and eCommerce go together perfectly. It gets your products seen in a natural way without any aggressive sales tactics. But it needs careful planning to get it right. Follow the tips above and create a content marketing plan for your eCommerce brands that drives engagement, traffic, and sales well into the future.
Rodney Laws has more than a decade of experience providing marketing advice to online entrepreneurs and businesses. He’s set up and marketed his own businesses and consulted on crafting campaigns for established companies. Discover more about how Rodney can help your and your business by heading over to eCommercePlatforms.io or following him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.