A content marketing strategy for ecommerce is a lot more than repackaging your content for different platforms. A successful content marketing strategy can help you build a bigger audience, improve engagement, gather more high-quality leads, and increase your content marketing ROI, all while cutting your existing costs. The ecommerce boom and subsequent return to in-store purchases will increase customer acquisition and retention costs, making it a tough call for online stores.
A content marketing strategy can help clear the picture by answering:
- Why do you need to do content marketing?
- Who are your ideal customers, and the type of content they prefer consuming at various stages of your sales funnel?
- How will content help achieve your desired goal in terms of KPIs like increase in traffic, SEO benefits, and lead generation?
If you have an ecommerce store and are thinking of building a content marketing strategy, I will help you do it in one hour or less. If you have basic knowledge of digital marketing tools like SEMrush and BuzzSumo, it’s going to take even less. Buckle up to learn more on the topic in this power-packed article.
Before We Begin Building Your Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategy
You will need to have a few things clear in your mind before we start.
Write Your Business Case
In simple words, your business case is how you will provide value to your stakeholders. This includes customers, by solving a problem or improving an existing product/process.
Define Audience and Buyer Persona
The audience includes everyone who might be interested in consuming your content and engaging with it. Buyers are a part of your audience that is willing to make purchases from you. You should know their demographics, psychographics, behavioral aspects, and needs. This should also include their preferences, willingness to spend, and what motivates them to spend money.
Create a Brand Story
A brand story is the cause your brand stands for; your values, ethos, culture, and how you want to position yourself. Your brand story fills the gap between your company’s vision and mission.
Time to Run a Content Audit
As a store working on an ecommerce content marketing strategy, you might have published blogs, social media posts, infographics, and maybe even used gated content. Auditing these content pieces will give you an idea of what your audience likes the most out of your existing content pool. You may use an SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to perform a full website content audit. The report will contain valuable insights such as the top landing pages, page-wise performance, dwell time, bounce rate, click-thru rate, and other social sharing. It will also highlight any technical issues with your website like 307, 403, 404 redirects.
You also need to conduct an email audit and a chatbot integration review; this will help you check whether both of these channels are integrated with your business plan. That will include the technical aspects like CRM integration, email template guidelines, email marketing metrics, and chatbot automation workflow reviews on the technical end. On the creative front, you will need to check if brand elements are placed properly, whether your email copies and chatbot personality is in line with your brand identity.
Study Your Analytics
On the other hand, you can analyze the paid marketing efforts in terms of ROI, engagement rate, branded vs. unbranded traffic, and other metrics available from the platforms. You can also get a consolidated report from your marketing software (like HubSpot) to work quickly.
After downloading all of these reports, the next step is to run a competitor analysis. You can look for the ecommerce stores that are similar to yours and doing significantly well. This gives a rough idea of where your competition is investing in terms of investing in content and how it’s performing for them. You don’t need to do an apple to apple comparison or simply copy everything, but it will drop clues for areas that need improvement. Collecting all of these reports might take anywhere around 15 minutes, excluding email audit because doing it from scratch is time-consuming. However, if you have a well-organized marketing department, you can generate the reports quickly. Or, you’ve outsourced it to an agency, you can drop an email to get it in time before you sit with other reports.
Define Your Content Marketing Plan And Set a Timeline
Naturally, goal setting is the next phase of building a content marketing plan. You need to identify the areas that can benefit your overall business cause without troubling your finances. It should also include time-sensitive issues, platforms you need to cover, repackaging your content for better distribution, and recycling older pieces. A fixed timeline should back your goals, and you should have KPIs fixed for each of them. But, where do you get started? Here’s a time-tested way for defining goals.
Run a SWOT Analysis
Performing a content marketing strategy SWOT analysis will give you the answer to why you need to do it and what are the potential benefits of doing it right. You will also get an idea of what your ideal customer persona’s preferences are. This includes the platforms, content format, distribution, frequency, consumption time, and engagement rates.
- Strength: The content areas can be turned around with minimum effort and time. Tools like Screaming Frog help you find the content gaps that you can target easily.
- Weakness: Lookout for different platforms and content formats like infographics where you can do better. Usually, brands miss on this part while focusing on content distribution.
- Opportunities: The areas that require long-term efforts as link building falls under this category. You should work on them if they have a larger role in your content plan or help support other activities.
- Threats: Initiatives like running large scale paid advertisements to fall under this category.
Create Backward Goals
Once you have set your benchmark, use the ‘Backward Goals’ method to define a realistic timeline for each activity. If you want to increase your online store’s monthly organic traffic by 30,000 visitors in the next 90 days, list down where you need to be after 75, 60, 45, 30, and 15 days. This is an immensely powerful tactic. If you have been into the creative industry for a considerable amount of time, you would have noticed all top creative directors harnessing it.
Identify How Your Content Will Help You Fit Into Your Customer’s Needs
“Integrated marketing communications are a way to examine the entire marketing process from the point of view of the receiver.” – Philip Kotler.
Ask the Right Questions
For identifying how you can help your ideal customers using your content, ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of content are your customers looking for learning about your product category?
- Where and at what time they search for this content? Platform? Format? Frequency?
- After consuming information from how many sources will they finally make a purchase?
- Total interactions needed before an engaged customer buys from an online seller?
Analyze the Answers
Once you get answers to all of these questions, you can follow this framework for content production:
- This (pain point) is making it hard for your customer to work properly/make money.
- That’s (situation after buying our product, i.e., solution) what turns the tables for your customers.
- Here’s how to get it done right – CTA (purchase)
You can use BuzzSumo to get content ideas and find out the most happening platforms for distributing them. Remember, you should always produce a master resource for each of your content pieces and distribute it in various formats. This includes long-form articles, mini-blogs, infographics, emails, social media posts, podcasts, and even videos. This way, you can cover maximum audiences without paying separately to tell the same things. A lot of ecommerce stores don’t get success in content marketing just because they create content for one or two platforms, try to catch up with others, burn their budgets and finally give up.
Remember, content marketing is all about gaining trust, and building trust takes time. Small yet consistent efforts will put you at top spots even while spending very little instead of short, disconnected bursts of costly visibility. Expert marketers may take 30-40 minutes to conduct this exercise for SMBs, but you can work as long as it takes because your success depends entirely on learning from previous results and deciding the best action plan.
Set Your Editorial Calendar for Publishing Activities
An editorial calendar is the key to successfully carrying out content marketing. In fact, it helps in having small victories and feedback regularly by making your stay on the track. Winning daily and staying flexible to make improvements are the secret ingredients for a successful content marketing strategy. You can use Buffer, Asana, HubSpot, Trello, or any other tool of your choice to build and follow your editorial activities.
Interact with your audience, and you are bound to find sustainable success with your content marketing strategy. Distribute the workload to your resources after setting broad deliverables in the remaining time and get ready for enjoying your planned success.
A few takeaways:
- Your ecommerce content marketing strategy should be able to bridge the gap between your customers and your products.
- It should be well documented and based on data-driven, research-based goals.
- Go modular for content production.
- Be flexible with your content marketing strategy and improvise daily.