Whatever your online store sells, you’ll need traffic to be successful. It’s just a fact of life. More people to your store mean more chances to sell. More chances to sell mean more full carts, more checkouts, and ultimately more revenue.
If you’re like most eCommerce stores I’ve worked with, you’ll have at least tried paid advertising. Maybe not television, radio, and billboard ads (they’re not doing so well these days anyway), but probably social media and search. The idea’s pretty simple, right? You pay money, people get shown your ads, and a small percentage of them click through to your site. Then an even smaller percentage makes a purchase. But just because paid advertising’s so ubiquitous, doesn’t mean it’s the only way to drive traffic to your site. Or even the best way. Some lower-cost channels like content marketing can help you increase traffic without increasing your marketing spend. The best thing about using content marketing to promote your eCommerce store is that the organic traffic you get from content has a lasting effect on your business. So you keep getting traffic long after you write each post.
Read on for some tips on how to succeed with content marketing, and generate an unfair advantage over your competitors.
Write Great Content
The first step to succeeding with content marketing as an online store is to write great content.
I know it seems obvious, but writing really great content is an easy win. Whilst a ton of retailers are starting to try out content marketing to drive traffic to their stores, you’ll be hard pressed to find ones that’re doing it well.
It’s actually harder than it sounds. First up, you need to decide what to write about. A common mistake is to write almost entirely about yourselves. Sure, you can write about your products and any exciting launches, but that should be less than 20% of your content.
Most of your content should be about things that people who buy from your store would like to read. For instance, say you sell golf clubs. Don’t write about golf clubs, write about golf events, lifestyle and trends. Write stuff your target market’s already looking for. This way you’ll reach your target market even earlier, and you’ll be top of their mind when they’re looking to get a new set of clubs.
By providing a ton of great content that’s not pushing users to buy, you’ll build trust and build your brand.
Conversion By Design
You already know that the design of your eCommerce store is critical to increasing conversion from visitors into sales. Well, the same is true with your blog.
You can write the best content in the world, but if it’s not presented well you’ll struggle to see any positive results. I’m not saying you need to win any design awards, but you do need to make sure you present your content in a way that your readers enjoy. The more people enjoy the content, the more they’ll share your articles. The more they share your articles, the more traffic you’ll get.
You’ll also need to think about how to get traffic from your blog through to your online store. There’re two parts to doing this well: list building and sidebars.
List building is the practice of getting visitors’ email addresses so you can send them messages leading them back to your content later on. Don’t use this as a way to send them offers for your products, that’d be a mistake. Just send them content, and be clear about what they’ll get if they sign up.
Generally people collect email addresses with popups. That’s a great place to differentiate from your competitors, because most popups look terrible. Find a great hosted popup service, or hire a designer to make some for you, and you can really stand out from the crowd.
Once you’ve got traffic repeatedly and reliably hitting your blog, and you’ve started to build that trust with your readers, you’ll need to funnel them through to your store. An easy way to do this is with a beautifully designed sidebar on every page of your blog. Generally this’ll be a sticky bar on the right that moves when you scroll, and it’ll have a link through to your online store.
You should experiment with the actual content of the sidebar, but make it relevant to your target market. Make sure it clearly explains why they should click it.
Back to our golf club example from earlier. Ditch things like “Buy golf clubs here” in favor of “Tired of your old clubs? You’ll love our new 9 iron”. Make it so irresistible that readers can’t not click it.
Whatever you include in your sidebar and whatever you write, make sure you design everything well. Make it a really great experience. Else people won’t hang around and your efforts will be wasted.
Content marketing’s a great way to drive cheap, good-quality, traffic to your online store.
By writing great content that’s naturally shareable, and having a really well designed blog, you can easily outshine your competition and give your online store a competitive advantage.
About The Author
Jake is the CEO of HelpDocs, a startup that makes it easy for companies to create beautiful knowledge bases. He’s passionate about customer support, content marketing and code.