Updated: Mar 28, 2020
But what if it’s not doing that?
Worse yet, what if you have no idea where to start when it comes to fixing that problem?
That’s where ecommerce content marketing comes in.
In this article, we’re going to walk you step by step through everything you need to know about effective ecommerce content marketing, how to get more leads to your website and increase conversions (without spending a ton of time creating content)!
Oh, and make sure to read in order. If you do, Step #3 is going to rock your world!
How Finding Your “Tribe” Will Save You From WASTING Time
Content marketing is not about creating blog posts that magically go viral and get you tons of business.
There is a STRATEGY behind it.
And that strategy starts with one thing...
A solid, defined customer avatar.
Here are the no-fluff instructions on how to do that:
[NOTE: There are all kinds of blueprints out there for creating a customer avatar. You may find one or another that works really well for you. What follows is the process that I followed (and it helped a ton). I’d been frustrated for a long time with all of the other things out there & this specific formula was what helped me really nail down my customer avatar. So I hope it helps you out too! Shoutout to Mr. Donnie Boivin for showing it to me!)
Write down the name of your best client
Find them on social media (Facebook works best for this in my experience)
Scroll through their feed & fill in as many of the following blanks as possible (don’t stress if you can’t find info on some of them, just do as many as you can):
How Many Kids?
Where do they live?
Own or Rent?
City, Suburbs or Country?
What Books do They Read?
What Music do They Listen To?
What Podcasts do they listen to?
What TV Shows do they watch?
What magazines do they read?
What conferences do they attend?
What are their hobbies?
What Influencers do they follow?
Which social media do they use?
Where will you find them? (Online Groups, Offline Groups, Networking Organizations, etc.)
Now that you’ve done that, please don’t think that all of your customers will need to tick all of the same boxes. We are all different and unique. The same goes for your customers.
What you will have learned after doing the above exercise are some key things about your best client or customer. Depending on your niche, different pieces of info will be more relevant than others.
If you are selling a high ticket item, getting an estimate on your ideal prospects yearly income will be very helpful.
If you are a local business, where they live will be very important.
If you are informational products, the kinds of books and podcasts they like will allow you to tailor your content to them.
EXAMPLE - KNOWING YOUR TRIBE
Check out these examples of Zipcars content marketing via social media:
Zipcar has obviously decided that their tribe is the young urban dweller who wants to experience more of life without anything holding them down.
They’re not going after people who just bought a car or a large swath of the older generation.
Based on that knowledge, they’ve tailored their content to appeal to THOSE people.
And speaking of tailoring content…
Now that you have a basic idea of your perfect customer, it’s time for Step #2.
Use These Techniques to Get Killer Topic Ideas & Completely Remove Writer’s Block (Forever)
Effective content marketing begins with knowing exactly WHO you are marketing to.
Because only when you know who you are creating content for can you know what content to create.
Otherwise, you are literally shooting in the dark (which I can tell you from experience is quite dangerous!;).
Now you know WHO you are marketing to, it’s time to dig in and find out what kind of content they want from you.
How do you do that?
Glad you asked…
First, you need to make sure that ALL the content you create does one thing:
It must solve a problem that your prospect is experiencing.
Here are the techniques that will allow you to create content that your ideal prospects can’t wait to consume:
What a novel idea!
But seriously, if you have an existing customer base, they will LOVE to give you their opinion if you just ask them…
“What problems are you facing?”
“What’s your biggest struggle right now?”
“What’s the biggest irritation you wish you could remove from your life?”
-DO A LITTLE "SPYING"
You should have some idea of the places your ideal customers are hanging out online.
Check out those [websites, social media groups, podcasts, blogs, etc.] and see what kinds of content they are producing.
Create a list of topics and problems based on your “spying” and use that to compile some problems you can address from your own unique perspective and expertise.
-USE GOOD OL’ GOOGLE
Seriously. Google knows.
Use the predictive completion function to get some more ideas.
If you had an online archery store, you could start typing something like:
“Why does my bow…”
“How do you...arrow…”
“Best bow for…”
Let Google fill in the rest and there you go! More topic ideas for your ecommerce content marketing!
EXAMPLE - SOLVING PROBLEMS
GROW from ACORNS
Acorns is all about fractional investing for people just getting started. If you take a look at their blog called “Grow”, you will quickly see how they have positioned their content marketing to provide answers to people interested in investing (read: solve problems).
With the blog organized by handy categories, Grow has a TON of answers to common questions as they solve problems and provide value for the people they are hoping will soon become their customers!
You’ve got a boat load of topics...now what?
On to the next step!
How to Choose the Right Content Marketing Medium Without Pigeonholing Yourself
Effective ecommerce content marketing doesn’t have to be ONLY a written blog.
It could also be:
Social media content
Or some combination of all of the above!
Here’s how to pick the best option for your ideal prospect…
Go back to the customer avatar that you created in Step #1 and ask yourself:
What medium of content do I see them engaging with the most?
-Are they liking and sharing videos all the time?
-Do they post cool articles they just read?
-Is their wall filled with screenshots of podcast players?
Once you’ve answered that question, check out the brands and individuals that your ideal prospect is following and engaging with on a regular basis. Then ask yourself:
What medium is THAT brand or individual focussing on the most?
To get the most out of your content marketing efforts, you definitely need to pick ONE medium to focus on.
These two little exercises should give you a good idea of what medium you should be focussing on as well.
That doesn’t mean you only do that one medium.
Instead, smart businesses REPURPOSE their content.
Let me walk you through this…
After your research, you see that your ideal prospect is totally a podcast addict (which I totally identify with!:).
You start a podcast where you address all of the awesome topics you found in Step #2.
Thus far, things are great BUT…
You are potentially missing out on a TON of extra leads that would come in from other sources (like a blog post, YouTube channel, etc.).
How do you make sure they don’t fall through the cracks without spending 24 hours a day making content?
By repurposing your content.
Here’s how it’s done...
Once you’ve recorded your podcast:
Upload it to a YouTube channel (once you’ve made it an MP4 file of course:).
Then you can run the audio through something like Headliner to create awesome little audio/video clips to post on your social media.
You can take a transcript of the podcast (or just clean up your notes a bit) and post it as a blog (that you can also share on social media!).
Grab some highlights from the episode and put them in an email to your list.
Use Canva (or Google Slides) to whip out a few shareable images based on the episode content.
It’s ALL the same content, just used in different ways around the internet.
Your core group (your ideal prospects) are most likely going to (in this example anyway) be listening to your podcast. But you never know when another ideal prospect is going to see one of your social media posts, get one of your emails, or see your YouTube video when they otherwise would not have gotten your awesome content.
Another thing to keep in mind is getting found, also known as - SEO (search engine optimization). Not only is this important for you online store as a whole, but also for your content marketing. I highly recommend that you check out this article from StoreCoach.com.
They walk through a ton of super helpful info that will help you get going with your SEO (even if you have no clue where to start!:).
Check it out here - StoreCoach.com
EXAMPLE - RIGHT MEDIUM & REPURPOSING
As a bit of a comic book nerd, I had to include this one!
While not what most people think of when it comes to ecommerce brands, Marvel has been creating content since 1939 (so you could say they have a bit of a head start on things:).
They know what medium their CORE fanbase wants - comics.
But they don’t stop there!
They are masters at repurposing comic content into a ton of different mediums.
Take Captain America (my personal favorite). We all know the basic story from the comics, but look how they’ve used that content over the years…
Movies (a lot of movies)
T-shirt & clothing
So that’s all well and good, but you’re probably asking yourself a question right about now…
“They’ve seen/heard my content. So what?”
The answer is in Step #4.
How to Them from Passive Consumers of Content to Active, Passionate, Paying Customers (WITHOUT Being a Salesy Jerk!)
Many ecommerce businesses turn to content marketing because they want to generate more leads and increase sales.
However, if they don’t know what I’m about to teach you here, they’ll often end up generating some leads but NOT increasing sales.
Here’s how to get the consumers of your content marketing to become your loyal customers…
-OFFER VALUE for FREE
This is getting cliche by this point. But it’s still true - you MUST offer value to your potential customers up front and free of charge.
And we are talking REAL, tangible value.
[NOT some cheese ball webinar where someone promises to reveal the “ONE SECRET” that will make you a millionaire without blah, blah, blah, and then ends up spending an hour telling you how awesome they are before spending another hour trying to sell you something…Why no that’s not a pet peeve of mine, why would you ask?;)]
Since Step #2 was all about identifying real problems that your potential customers face and Step #3 was all about creating content that SOLVES those problems, you’ve got this part down!
So next is…
-OFFER EVEN MORE VALUE (But Charge...a Little)
Once a potential customer is in your ecosystem, it’s time to move on to the next stage - moving them from “potential customer” to “actually customer”.
You have PROVEN to them that you have value to offer. All you’re doing now is offering even more value at a super reasonable price (under $30 is what most experts recommend).
There’s a fundamental shift that takes place when a person has an economic exchange with your business. It’s a level of trust that you can’t get any other way.
-NURTURE (AKA Provide MORE VALUE)
Now that they are a paying customer, your job is to nurture that relationship by…
You guessed it!
Providing MORE VALUE!
Now, the value takes the shape of:
jaw-dropping customer service,
following up to see if they need anything else,
connecting them with more helpful things,
and making yourself available to them to meet any other needs they may have.