Content Marketing for E-Commerce, Part 1: Do You Need It?


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What is content marketing for e-commerce?

You’ve heard the term, but what is it, actually? The general definition of content marketing is the publication of online information designed to build trust and demonstrate authority on a subject with a business’ ideal customers. Content marketing for e-commerce shows you know your products backward and forward, and the differences between high and low quality. It builds relationships and a sense of community between buyers of your products. It works to foster brand loyalty by showing customers that a community of other users share their enthusiasm for the products you sell.



What kinds of e-commerce businesses should be doing content marketing?

Content marketing isn’t a must for every kind of e-commerce business. For example, if you are doing high volumes of orders for things like standard parts or everyday staple items, content marketing won’t be worth the time and expense.

On the other hand, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands absolutely need it to tell their brand’s story and establish a connection with their ideal customers.

E-commerce businesses that carry multiple brands in themed specialties (sportswear, tools, etc.) should also make content development a part of their overall marketing strategy. For this kind of business, establishing your store as THE Authority source that sells only the highest quality products is where content marketing can make you shine.


Why should an e-commerce business produce a lot of extra content like copywriting, graphics or videos?

Because good, enriched content gets results. It will generate a lot more traffic to your site from organic and paid searches. And it helps convince people to make a purchase. Content marketing has been shown to increase e-commerce conversion rates by a factor of six. The average conversion rate for an online store that doesn’t have a content strategy is 0.5%. Stores that use content to drive sales see an average conversion rate of 2.9%.

content marketing for e-commerce image

Source: Duluth Trading Company

The reason for this difference is that content gives you a way to connect more directly with customers. People naturally crave connection; they seek out ways to engage. This is what makes online quizzes so incredibly popular. Think of how much more immersive an online shopping experience is when someone can see a graphic of how a product works. Or a photo or video of it being worn or deployed in a real-life setting. The buyer can literally visualize themselves using it, instead of seeing only a boring static image on a white background.

Once you’ve got a prospect’s emotions or intellect engaged, you can let their own imaginations and excitement lead them to that Buy box.



The most successful formats for distributing content

In descending order, these are the content distribution formats used most often by successful e-commerce businesses:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok)
  • Blogs


Emailing content

Automated emails can do a lot of the hard work for you, and they actually have a better success rate than trying to handle them manually.  Automated welcome emails, promotion emails, and event emails are the most common forms of email content marketing. Even confirmation emails can have content marketing elements. For example, include a pro tip for using the product or a  glowing testimonial when you send an order confirmation.


Social media

With your own business profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, you can create the brand persona that will most engage your ideal customers. You can start testing keywords and building awareness with product listing ads, but you don’t have to spend a ton. There are other ways to work this system.

Content marketing for e-commerce tool from Answer the Public

Source: Answerthepublic.com

Use viral growth hacking techniques like incentivized referrals, bonus content in exchange for Likes and Follows, and publishing posts with a “wow” factor that encourages more Shares.  Sites like BuzzSumo and Answer the Public are great resources for finding shareable content that might be relevant to the products you sell, or to the brand imagery you’re promoting.



If you’re an authority on the subject related to your products – say, fly fishing if you sell fishing gear – great! Writing about the things you know that other enthusiasts would want to learn about is a great way to build a community of enthusiastic buyers. Blogs also offer the opportunity to use keywords related to your products, so they’ll be discovered more often in organic search. Your post about ‘Best Techniques for High Elevation Fly Fishing,” right there on your store’s website, can convert knowledge seekers into buyers.


In Part 2 of Content Marketing for E-Commerce, we offer six great content ideas for e-commerce businesses, including some you can implement right away.


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Julie Stewart

My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.

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