The primary purpose of an Ecommerce business is to sell products, so why would you waste time creating content for your online store?
I’ll tell you. If done well, content could be the key thing which differentiates your store from all the others out there and turns casual visitors into eager buyers.
A big part of your store’s success is dependent on targeted traffic. One way to attract that traffic is PPC (pay per click advertising), but content can be just as effective. More importantly it can keep people coming back to your site even if they’re not ready to buy quite yet.
It’s all About the Experience
Think for a moment about how most people shop in the offline world. People are attracted to stores with the best shopping experience, such as the Apple Store with its open and inviting layout. The first time a customer enters a store they may choose only to browse the products in that store, and make a buying decision later on.
In the same way, engaging content can determine the ‘atmosphere’ of your online store as well as predisposing customers to buy.
Bear in mind also that many people will come to your site initially for information and to research a potential purchase. If you can provide all the information they need about your products but also entertain and add value they didn’t expect, you’re much more likely to convert your visitors to buyers.
Here’s what you need to know to get started creating great content for your ecommerce store.
1. Master the basics
‘Content’ isn’t just blog posts and YouTube videos. It covers pretty much everything on your store, including product descriptions, links to other sites and user reviews.
The good news is that you are in control of all those aspects of your store and therefore you can control how visitors perceive your brand and what they say about it on social media and elsewhere.
Adding detailed, useful product descriptions should be the first step of your content strategy. Do not just use the manufacturer’s description and end up getting buried in the search results and boring your customers to tears.
Provide at least a few sentences and make sure you put effort and care and attention into making it as good as possible – a great product description could be enough to tip the balance that turns an unconvinced browser into an ‘I must have this’ buyer.
User reviews are a brilliant way of generating a large quantity of unique content on your store. According to Nielsen’s 2012 Global Trust in Advertising Survey, user reviews are “the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.”
It’s important therefore to make it easy for customers to leave reviews on all of your product pages and to encourage them to leave a message after the purchase has been made, for example by sending a reminder email a week or two later.
2. Provide Value
Web visitors want useful information about your products, not a sales pitch. Make sure your content is relevant, consistent in terms of tone of voice and how often it is published, and of a professional quality in terms of production values (e.g. well written in the case of articles of well-edited if audio or video).
Pushing products too hard could be a turn off to the casual browser, but at the same time people have to expect an online store to include information such as prices and product benefits, so try to find a good balance – you are running a business after all.
You can also emphasize why your store is the best choice by explaining the best ways to use a product, what features are most important and anything extra you offer, for example better quality source materials/ingredients or better customer service.
Keep users’ needs in mind and you can’t go far wrong.
3. Stand Out
Original, unique content is the best way to make your ecommerce store stand out from the competition.
If you can add personality or present product information in an innovative, entertaining way, you will stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack who are merely putting out mediocre content.
Humor, strong opinions, and a passion for your niche are great ways to stand out and differentiate your business.
4. Make Sure It’s Search Engine Friendly
Keyword research is a great way of working out what potential customers want to know about your niche and products, whether at the research stages or when they are ready and primed to make a purchase.
Once you know what keywords you want to rank for, it makes planning content much easier and your customers will feel that you are speaking directly to them, increasing engagement and trust.
5. Content Must Convert
You can plan your content so that it helps ‘funnel’ your site’s visitors from interested browsers to eager buyers, but you need to strike a balance between engaging and informing visitors and pitching your products directly.
Either way, you need to give customers a call to action, and get them moving along the funnel towards a sale.
There should be no barriers to buying for the minority who are ready to buy right now, but you can also include links to other content. This content will have been prepared specifically to help persuade those potential customers who are still on the fence and it will also get them used to taking further action.
Make sure you clearly state the immediate rewards they will get for their efforts, whether it’s a discount or the benefits of the product itself.
6. Make Sure It’s Shareable
Shareable content means not only that people will want to share it with their friends and social media followers, but also that it is presented in a format that is shareable.
Videos and detailed how-to blog posts are great for this, as are special discounts. A good rule of thumb is to create content that visitors feel good about sharing as it makes them look good to others.
Conclusion & Next Steps
These six steps are a good foundation for creating a solid content strategy for your online store. Once you get started, there are a few additional things to keep in mind about producing content.
The key is to create content which keeps people interested and keeps them coming back. Customers enjoy consuming a mixture of different content, such as written articles, video and audio recordings and longer and shorter blog posts, and they also respond well to a consistent publishing schedule.
Posting about relevant events or topics in your niche is also a great way to stand out and demonstrate authority and personality, and the more content you can create the better for keeping visitors coming back and to help your ranking in search engines like Google.
If you have created customer profiles, you can use these when planning content for each stage of the sales funnel, and by ensuring that all of the content on your site has a strong call to action, you’ll ensure that all of your effort actually increases sales.
For more information check out our guide on crafting the ultimate customer experience for your ecommerce store – and please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or any additional advice on creating great content.