If you have an ecommerce site, I think you will agree with me when I say: It’s REALLY hard to convert ice-cold traffic into warm leads and sales.
Well, it turns out you can dramatically increase your site’s conversion rate by almost six times. The secret is content marketing.
Research shows that the average conversion rate of sites with content marketing is 2.9% compared to just 0.5% for sites without it.
Sadly, many e-commerce sites are yet to integrate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy. If you are still not using content marketing on your online store, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to grow sales.
70% of your customers prefer to learn about your business through an article than an advertisement. Also, if your website lacks content, you could lose up to 44% of potential customers.
And another thing:
A customer will usually visit a site up to FIVE times before they actually make a purchase. Why? Because they want to feel engaged and connected to a brand first before clicking the checkout button.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you 25 actionable ways you can turn your site’s content into sales.
Content Marketing Strategy and Content Plan
First, you need a content marketing strategy that answers the why you are creating content. This includes the goals you have for your content, your target audience, the message you want to send and the platform to use.
Then you will create a content plan that shows how you will execute your strategy and who will handle each task. Here’s what you will need to do in this stage.
Create an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar will help you streamline the flow of content. This ensures that you create workflows for your blog posts and other forms of content.
Some content marketing platforms have built-in editorial calendars but you can also use Google Sheets or an Excel Spreadsheet. It should include content topics, social media updates you’ll post and days for publishing content.
Use content marketing tools
There are tools for almost every step of the content marketing process. From strategy formulation, content creation, distribution and even monitoring to help you save time.
For instance, HootSuite helps you manage all social media posts before time based on peak engagement hours. Ahrefs helps you discover why your competitors rank high so you can outrank them.
Most e-commerce businesses outsource activities such as graphic designing, blog writing, and video production. This helps save time and it’s also economical. However, you need to maintain quality even when you outsource.
To do this, keep up with the current content marketing trends, create a company style guide for the tone, grammar, and structure of your content creation.
Build a team
You will still need in-house talent for other content marketing activities. These include assigning topics for the pieces, replying to social media comments, following leads.
For instance, an in-house editor will help maintain the consistency and tone of your business in every content you outsource.
Make a workflow plan
A well-structured workflow is vital to keep your content marketing efforts on track. It enables your team to picture a breakdown of tasks, discover at what stage everything is complete and know who is responsible for what task.
The next step is to start the content creation process. Here are a few tips to consider when making your customers feel connected to your brand.
Understand the way people buy
Always align your content marketing with the buyer’s journey. It consists of three vital stages, the awareness, consideration and decision stages. However, buyers don’t follow these stages to completion, the goal here is to close the loops.
The AWARENESS stage is where the buyer is looking for insight to solve a problem. Here you should use content marketing to build awareness with your customers.
At the CONSIDERATION stage, the prospect looks for available options to solve their problem. Content at this point should help potential customers understand why your solution to their problem is the best.
Finally, the DECISION stage is where the customer makes the decision to buy or not. Potential buyers want to know how things will look like if they choose your products or services.
Understand your audience
To do this, use buyer personas. According to Hubspot, Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas allow you to create highly targeted content.
You might be wondering: So how do I actually create one?
You need to ask the right questions to the right people (existing customers and prospects). Questions about their personal background, company, role, biggest challenges, goals and shopping preferences.
Perform a survey
Another strategy is to create an online survey that will help you identify your customer’s needs.
- Google survey
- survey monkey
- poll daddy
are some of the best survey platforms to use.
Newsjack social trends
In a world where stories break on social media even before they reach news outlets, you have to use newsjacking. It means taking advantage of trending stories to draw attention to your brand.
This not only makes your content marketing efforts timely and relevant but also responsive. Make sure that the trends you pick resonate with your target market.
A great example of an e-commerce brand that nailed newsjacking is ASOS (an online fashion retailer) piggybacking the Teen’s Choice Awards. The tweet below leads to a post about Jason Derulo’s outfit linked to similar ASOS products.
Types of Content to Use
When it comes to this stage, don’t waste time and money on all forms of content. Instead, start by picking one content and one platform to focus on.
The best type of content depends on your customer type, target market or products and services. Here are some of the best forms of content for conversion.
Offer product/service guides
Educate your prospects and position yourself as a go-to source for impartial advice on their buying journey. Provide ‘how to’ guides on how to fix your product or offer in-depth information about the services you offer.
For example, Unique Log Cabins realized that most of their sales came from garden offices. However, the biggest challenge their prospects faced was they didn’t know if they needed building planning permission to set up.
So, Unique Log Cabins created a handy guide for their web visitors that illustrated the steps to take in order to bypass the requirement for permission to build.
Create product/service videos
It is without a doubt that video content is taking over other content forms. The reason behind this is simply because people are highly visual. Video on both landing and product pages can increase conversions by 80%.
And the best part:
You can use videos in many ways including your how-to guides, webinars, online courses and short ad campaigns.
A good example is when the executive chef from McDonald’s revealed the recipe for the secret sauce of the Big Mac.
This 2.5-minute video went viral and garnered over 4 million views. Imagine all that brand awareness to people who have never tried the Big Mac before.
Build roundup posts
Round up posts let you provide all the information your customers want in one convenient location. This form of content takes less time to come up with because you simply put together already existing content.
You must attribute those posts to their original owners. These posts can be weekly compilations, lists, expert roundups, top and best of posts.
Create a webinar
Webinars provide an amazing way to interact with your audience and build engagement. You can use it with a real audience and even record it for future use or even repurpose it into other forms of content.
If you’re wondering:
What webinar platforms are the best to use?
I got you. They include:
- Google Hangouts
Some popular brands that use this approach include Social Triggers, LeadPages, and Moz.
Share customer stories
The real beauty of this type of content is being able to capture the authentic voice of your customer. Leverage customer stories to show peers love your product.
You can start by sharing customer success stories about using your products or services. Another option is to find inspirational stories and request permission to share content.
Create competitions that motivate your customers to share stories, pictures or videos that help promote your products.
GoPro, a famous camera brand, launched a contest for visual content. It pays $500 for captivating photos, $5000 for edited clips and $1000 for raw video footage. The winner gets selected on a weekly basis for motorsports, travel, music and animals categories.
Build FAQ sheets
FAQ sheets help you provide a great resource to provide answers to your customer’s most pressing concerns. If you have an already established customer base, identify calls and comments on the same questions.
If you are an e-commerce business that has just started out, look at the comments on your competitor’s website and see the commonly asked questions.
Some of the questions to think about when you’re offering a product include:
- How much will shipping cost?
- How long does shipping take?
- What is your return policy?
- Do you deliver to my country?
If you offer a service, questions to consider are such as:
- Is there a free trial period?
- What’s included in your service package?
- Do you offer a discount if I sign up for a longer period?
- Do I get a refund if I’m not satisfied?
Provide case studies
Use case studies to back up your promises with real-world examples. It’s a classic before and after story that makes it easy to persuade potential customers to buy. Highlight how your products or services helped your customers solve a problem.
Zapier promises easy automation for busy people. They go a step further to show how an e-commerce business, saves 40 hours each week using their automation platform.
Create detailed checklists
Checklists make it easier for potential customers to know everything they need to plan for an order for an activity. If you are selling a product such as a kitchen equipment, provide shopping and cooking checklists.
On the other hand, if you are offering a service such as SEO services, you can create a detailed checklist and include a free download. Here’s a technical SEO checklist from WEBRIS.
Provide white papers
white papers offer an in-depth report on a particular problem and present a solution. They are ideal for customers who are at the decision stage of the buying process. This is because they provide information on wider topics.
Best Buy offers a great real-life example of white papers in action. They understand that a PC is a huge purchase and requires thorough research before buying.
To secure a sale, Best Buy provides white papers in the form of PC guides. It offers detailed information about their wide variety of PCS that gradually push their prospects towards a sale.
“You can’t just place a few ‘Buy’ buttons on your website and expect your visitors to buy.” Neil Patel
Making Content Appealing
Here’s the deal:
You may have great information in your content but if you do not make it attractive, you lose out in your content marketing strategy. Here are ways to make your content stand out.
Add gamification techniques to your content to boost customer engagement. Gamification simply means applying interactive elements to online content.
You can Gamify content on your website using the following ways:
- Progress bars
For example, Moz provided a gamification challenge to help users decide which tool was best for a specific SEO issue. Be sure to turn online shopping into a game that encourages customers to finish the checkout process.
Create evergreen content
Evergreen content has a longer shelf life and keeps driving traffic year in year out. Create how-to guides, FAQs, product reviews and customer testimonials for your products and services.
Create visual content
Make sure you compliment your content with some great visuals. Buffer states that tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without. So take advantage of images to gain social traction.
Remember to provide visual versions of your content such as an infographic or a video to give you a wide scope for repurposing content.
Write longer content
Does the thought of writing 3000-word posts make you shudder? Picture yourself as a customer who wants to automate certain aspects of their business activities. You just want to reduce redundant tasks and save time to focus on selling more.
Then you find a guide detailing what you need, how to get started and get answers to all the questions that you had in mind.
See, it might be a ton of work to produce long-form content but you get proof of your authority, social shares, and engagement. So what are you waiting for?
“Create content that teaches.” Neil Patel
Promoting and Distributing Content
The final step is selecting how you will deliver your content and widen your reach. Here are a few ways:
Use social media
Social media provides a great channel for maximizing the reach of your audience. A good example of an e-commerce brand making smart use of social media is J Crew.
The online retailer creates high-quality product posts in social media. It uses Pinterest with quotes from people featured in their blogs and includes a link to the blog post.
It also posts great photos on Instagram with a link to their product pages for anyone interested in their products.
Leverage on email marketing
If you’re not using email marketing, you are losing out on huge sales opportunities. The Direct Marketing Association states that 72% of people would rather receive promotions through email than social media.
When it comes to sales generation, email marketing is more effective because you take content straight to their inbox.
Wondering what to include in your emails?
- Drip campaigns to educate and engage customers.
- Newsletters for product updates.
- Abandoned cart reminders to encourage customers to finish the checkout process.
- Exclusive discount offers for your loyal customers
- Special occasion emails for holidays, birthdays and events
Email marketing tools like HubSpot integrate with your online store so you can nurter your leads into customers and your customers into repeat purchases.
Maximize on micro influencers
Micro-influencers are active social media users with less than 10,000 followers. They are a great asset to brands because of their level of engagement. This is because they have a close relationship with their loyal and targeted audience.
Your brand gains trust with their followers by association. You should focus on building a relationship with a micro-influencer in your business. You do this by offering something in exchange for a promotion such as sponsorship of their videos.
I hope these strategies will grow your e-commerce sales over time once you start to implement each in your content marketing strategy.
So what type of content are you going to start working on today? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Featured image by Folio Illustration Agency