How to Create an Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategy
“You have to spend money if you want to earn money.”
Many ecommerce brand owners have this mindset when it comes to marketing. This usually looks like paying for PPC advertising to drive traffic to online storefronts.
However, we’ve seen owners of top ecommerce businesses on our marketplace not spend a single dollar on advertising and enjoy a better ROI than paying for ads. A common characteristic of these ecommerce brands is that they all leveraged the power of content marketing to great effect, and the sellers went on to exit for six figures or more.
In this article, we’ll go through a roadmap on how to create your own ecommerce content marketing strategy. By the end, you’ll know how to build both your brand and an audience that keeps coming back to your storefront—and all for free.
What is Ecommerce Content Marketing?
Ecommerce content marketing is a marketing strategy with the goal of building an audience by creating and distributing valuable content.
The key to a well-executed content marketing strategy is to produce valuable and relevant content to readers who are looking for help with specific issues. If your content answers someone’s search query, they’re more likely to refer to your brand’s content as a source of information for future, related queries.
Over time, this trust will translate into sales as your audience gains confidence that your products can help them solve a specific problem.
Why is Content Marketing Important for Ecommerce?
A content marketing strategy isn’t just for content sites—it’s a crucial part of ecommerce business ownership. Whether you sell on Amazon, Walmart, or own a DTC brand, content marketing can strengthen your business by creating an audience of potential repeat-purchase customers.
Getting repeat customers doesn’t come naturally to many ecommerce brand owners, as they tend to focus on securing a single sale. Emma Schermer Tamir, CEO of Marketing by Emma, shared on The Opportunity Podcast how she observed this while working with a wide range of ecommerce companies.
Instead of trying to generate many single purchases, it can be more lucrative to nurture customers to make repeat purchases. One way of doing this is through content marketing.
Effective content marketing turns customers into brand evangelists. These customers not only buy your products again, but also tell their friends and family about their great experience with your brand.
How do you create brand evangelists?
By building an audience and developing a relationship with them.
Let’s dive into how you can create your own ecommerce content marketing strategy to start creating your own brand evangelists.
How to Create Your Own Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategy
We’ll go through a roadmap on how to create your own content marketing strategy.
You may have already begun to implement content marketing, in which case these six tips will help you fine-tune your current campaigns.
1. Know Your Customer
Your content marketing efforts will be in vain if you don’t truly understand your audience’s pain points. That’s why it’s important to revisit your buyer personas, if you’ve created them, and revise what you think you know about your audience.
The best places to learn about your customers are where they’ve left feedback for your brand, such as:
- Product reviews
- Feedback forms
- Social media mentions
Market research tools like Sparktoro or Adverity can reveal more insights about your target audience, such as their demographics, where they hang out, which sites they use, and the types of content they consume.
Knowing what your target audience cares about and struggles with is a huge part of branding today. The biggest and fastest-growing DTC brands ride huge waves of growth after successfully connecting with their customers.
These popular brands often build strong relationships through customer service, which helps lay the groundwork for a good content-marketing strategy.
Customer Service: A Hidden Growth Channel
Many online entrepreneurs have recognized this need for excellent customer service. As the Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager at Gorgias, Nicole Baqai saw 4,000 customers onboarded in the last 12 months. All of Gorgias’s new clients intended to leverage Gorgias’s customer service platform to provide great user experiences.
Nicole shared on The Opportunity that customer service is a fantastic acquisition and retention channel that it can be used to scale your business. It’s also a great way to receive customer feedback and identify their pain points—if you know what to look out for.
Negative feedback can reveal what dissatisfied customers hoped to achieve through purchasing a product or using a service. Whether clients raised complaints about long delivery times or a product not functioning as expected, this feedback can help you discover what areas of your business need improvement.
To leverage customer service as part of your content marketing strategy, work with your customer service team or VA to collect some of this information.
Knowing your audience’s pain points will put your marketing strategy on the right track.
2. Create a Strategy
With your audience’s pain points in hand, you can create a strategy to produce content that will address and help them overcome these problems.
The first step is to research relevant content topics. A budget-friendly option is to brainstorm ideas based on your own research and knowledge of your industry.
From an SEO angle, you could conduct keyword research to see what search queries your audience is using. Helpful software tools like Ahrefs, Jungle Scout, and Helium10 can give you a rough estimate of the search volume for each keyword.
After you’ve gathered a wide range of relevant keywords and topics, you can create a publishing schedule. Mark down dates when and where you’ll create and distribute content, including product listings, social media platforms, and email newsletter.
Knowing ahead of time what content you’ll create enables you to publish at the best times to achieve higher engagement.
3. Create Goals to Measure Your Marketing Campaign’s Impact
Setting goals for your marketing campaign will help you identify whether your strategy works.
Tracking key metrics, such as engagement and user behavior, shows you whether your ecommerce content marketing strategy is meeting these goals.
Google Analytics and Clicky are two of the most commonly used analytics tools. Some customer relationship management (CRM) tools like HubSpot come with their own in-built analytics.
With tracking in place, determine which metrics you will measure your strategy’s success. For example, if your overall goal is to build your email newsletter, then you’ll want to pay attention to how many subscribers you gain from specific pieces of content that promote your email list.
We recommend you avoid setting your goals around vanity metrics, such as the number of likes on social media or traffic volume. For ecommerce content marketing to work, you’re aiming to empower your audience to achieve their goals by purchasing your products. While vanity metrics look great, they might not show the actual impact of your content marketing strategy other than boosting your ego for a short while.
4. Create Good Content
With topics to write about, a publishing schedule, and goals in tow, it’s time to create content.
In the production process, remember that you’re creating valuable content for your audience, not for you. Your copy should help your reader progress in their journey toward achieving their goal.
Ecommerce content marketing educates audiences by showing them the path to success. This is why copy that mainly features a brand and its products often doesn’t have the desired ROI. People don’t care why your product is awesome: they want to know how it can help them.
If you can tell a story through your copy, then you’ll improve your engagement. Case studies and testimonials are a natural way to tell the story of how your product or service has helped customers without over-selling your brand. In a customer’s own words, they can share what their pain points were and how your product helped them.
Focus on using all areas of your content to help your customers visualize their own success. This includes areas that you might not give much thought to, such as email subject lines or the text in images. Your conversion rates may increase if your content shows a positive outcome for your readers.
The bottom line is: put your audience first when writing content. After you’ve built a relationship with them over time through your valuable content, they’ll put your brand first.
5. Create a Distribution Strategy
A distribution strategy will increase your content’s effectiveness and brand reach.
The best place to distribute your content will depend on where your target audience usually hangs out. If you know they use Pinterest often, you’ll get more engagement when you post quotes or links on Pinterest with relevant hashtags.
When deciding on your distribution strategy, it’s best to own a single distribution channel before experimenting with others. If, like many entrepreneurs, you try to grow several distribution channels at once, you’ll risk burning out.
Instead, focus on becoming competent at promoting content on one or two core channels before moving on to add more.
6. Review and Iterate Your Strategy
Reviewing your processes and strategy on a regular basis will help you build a sturdy content creation system that requires minimal effort and generates the most benefits—factors that are key to sustainability.
Whether you produce video, audio, or written content, having processes in place will help you avoid burnout resulting from an inefficient content production process.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are powerful management tools for streamlining operations. You can create SOPs to document your processes, so you can outsource time-consuming tasks to VAs.
You can also outsource content creation if writing isn’t your strong point or you’re struggling to keep up with the publishing volume. By creating templates for creatives, you can speed up the production process even more.
Sustainable processes give you the freedom to expand your business instead of feeling stuck working in it.
Choosing the Best Content Platform
With your content marketing strategy in place, you need to decide where you’ll produce your content.
As we mentioned earlier, the best channels for your content are where your target audience hangs out. Your market research may reveal that your audience hangs out in certain social media channels or uses certain blogs as their main educational resource.
You might be unsure what type of content you should produce for specific distribution channels. To give you some ideas, let’s explore what types of content work best for each platform.
An ecommerce site is a great option to build out your brand with solutions to your audience’s problems by adding multimedia content, such as a blog or videos.
However, many ecommerce entrepreneurs limit their sites as landing pages that direct to their storefronts, usually without keeping SEO in mind.
Andrea Barnhill, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Socratik, found that enterprise-sized businesses were often guilty of this mistake. This SEO agency helps mid-enterprise businesses carry out customized SEO strategies for huge ROIs. One of the most common issues Andrea found was that these businesses’ sites weren’t optimized for search engines in the first place.
Andrea shared on The Opportunity that an SEO-optimized site will help you secure that sweet inbound organic traffic with no ad spending or additional effort on your end after publishing.
To improve your site’s SEO, you could:
- Decrease loading times between pages
- Reduce image sizes
- Leverage alt tags
- Produce relevant content
An SEO-friendly site is more discoverable by search engines, which makes it easier for your target audience to find your content. Even if you don’t know anything about technical SEO, creating highly relevant and useful content for your audience will already put you in good standing with search engines.
If your content goes viral and ranks high on search engine page results, you could then gain backlinks from high-authority sites. These valuable backlinks serve as recognition that your content is useful and acknowledged as valuable by other experts in your industry. Consider adding a “Featured In” section if you rack up several backlinks from high-profile domains.
Outside of blog content, you could experiment with interactive features to help your audience with a specific pain point. These could be graphics templates that customers can download and save time from designing their own, or a calculator to help your audience save costs. If these features prove valuable, you could use them as lead magnets to capture email addresses.
Building an audience on social media can be a powerful way to gather user-generated content. We’ve seen several ecommerce businesses generate most of their traffic through organic social media posts.
To make social media work for your brand as a traffic driver, focus on how your content provides value. A great example of this comes from Simple Pin Media, a marketing agency that helps businesses stay at the forefront of customers’ minds through personalized Pinterest marketing strategies.
Kate Ahl, founder of Simple Pin Media, shares on The Opportunity how a simple mindset shift can turn Pinterest into a powerful acquisition channel for your storefront.
You can generate serious engagement and regular traffic if you can inspire Pinterest users. Kate found that Pinterest users visit this platform regularly to get new ideas. By producing a wide diversity of content, you can inspire your audience to use your products in numerous ways to help solve their pain points.
As a text-based social media platform, LinkedIn can be a great way to build your authority and increase your network at the same time. As well as case studies and testimonials, you could share useful content that is helpful to your target audience in digestible snippets.
We’ve seen successful ecommerce brands experience high engagement by putting users at the forefront of their accounts. Apparel brand Chubbies , who appear to love all things related to shorts, are a great example of putting their customers in the spotlight.
Sharing customer stories like this will show that you’re audience-centric rather than brand-centric. As a result, your audience is more likely to engage with your content in positive ways.
Well-crafted video content puts customers at the center of a story and helps them visualize their goals. Engaging videos make it easier to show them how your products could be the solution they’re looking for.
A good example of impactful video content is the DTC dental product brand HiSmile, which inspires users through co-marketing campaigns with influencers.
Many HiSmile videos aren’t your typical brand-safe content where everything is pristine and perfect. Instead, we see someone brushing her teeth and showing the before and after effect.
It’s simple but effective. Consider creating content that shows your products being used in everyday settings in an organic way.
Don’t have a blog or social media accounts to upload videos to? You can integrate high-quality product videos in your product listings page, as this valuable content shows your audience the solution to their problem in action.
Video content can be effective at any variety of lengths as long as they align with your overall content marketing strategy.
Many experts believe video marketing will be a fast-growing and powerful traffic driver in the foreseeable future, so it’s worth adding video to your content marketing strategy.
Email marketing is a resilient digital marketing channel. Building an audience you can contact through an email list is highly valuable and recommended for all entrepreneurs. It’s one of the factors we take into consideration when valuing ecommerce businesses.
An email list functions independently of search engine algorithms. Because subscribers gave you their email address, you can share any type of content with them without worrying about the influence of search engines.
The sooner you start building your email list, the better.
Growing a list takes time because you need to figure out what resonates with your audience the most.
To see better click-through rates, tweak various elements of your newsletter. A/B split testing can reveal which changes your audience responds more positively to. Some elements you can test include subject lines, image placement, and CTAs.
Once your email list is large enough, you can divide it into segments based on subscriber behaviors. Depending on their actions, you can have automations that send emails tailored to different audience segments to ensure you keep providing them with value.
Podcasts are a popular format for educational content. You can start your own podcast series, providing either simple, short takeaways or longer episodes that dive deep into topics.
Through a podcast, you can share your expertise as an ecommerce entrepreneur or about your niche. For example, Steve Chou hosts the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast where he shares tips for growing your ecommerce business based on his experience.
A podcast doesn’t have to be an ongoing series. It could be focused on a specific topic and run until every aspect of it has been covered.
If your podcast gains traction, you could focus more on longevity and begin inviting guests to interview and tap into their expertise.
Examples of Ecommerce Content Marketing
Let’s look at some examples from large ecommerce brands that you could use for your own content marketing strategy.
This high-end furniture ecommerce store has a wide range of content that helps their audience find the right type of furniture for their home.
They have an interesting feature allowing users to view made-up rooms for design and decor inspiration. When you click into each mockup room, you can see which products are on display and links to buy them.
This type of content provides design inspiration while giving customers a chance to respond by purchasing products.
Made also has a wide range of content on their blog to help customers choose the types of furniture best suited to their needs, as well as to learn how to maintain them.
These informational guides support customers’ decision-making and can be a powerful tool to attract new customers.
Dollar Shave Club
This DTC shaving brand has raised $1billion in funding to date. Dollar Shave Club’s content marketing strategy aims to build trust with their audience by relating to them using humor in their copywriting.
On their site, they streamline the buying process for potential customers through a simple quiz, which shows the most appropriate products based on the responses.
Knowing that their products are popular gift options, they also make it easy to buy gift sets.
For readers who need help with shaving-related matters, Dollar Shave Club has a blog that teaches men how to take care of their facial hair, as well as other healthcare-related topics.
Their content features healthcare experts, who weigh in on common healthcare issues. Content featuring experts provides assurance that the brand’s advice is sound. This builds trust with the audience, who will be more likely to accept product recommendations on the blog.
Content Marketing Takes Time before the Payoff
By this point, you’ve got an idea of how to create your own content marketing strategy and what types of content you could produce.
Building an audience by distributing valuable content is not a short-term play. You won’t see the value of your content marketing overnight.
Like a flywheel, it takes significant time and effort to get the content marketing momentum going. Once there’s some traction, it’s much easier to keep the content marketing wheel turning.
One way to gain momentum quickly is to acquire a content site.
Buying a content site saves time and allows you to focus on scaling your ecommerce brand.
Skip the Growing Pains by Acquiring a Content Site
The benefits of a monetized content site are twofold: the previous owner has already built up an audience with recurring traffic, and the site is already earning revenue.
Because the site owner has already identified the target audience, it is easier to rank for new keywords when you publish fresh content: the existing loyal audience will return to the site.
By acquiring a site, you’ll also acquire a streamlined operation with its own content production system. After agreeing on a deal, a seller will provide you with support as part of the transition process so you can continue to run the business just as they did. That way, you minimize the risk of a drop in performance, revenue, or traffic.
A content site in a similar niche to your ecommerce business gives you access to an audience base you can leverage for product research and drive highly qualified traffic to your storefront.
Brand aggregators are acquiring content sites with this intent. They build their portfolios of ecommerce brands by acquiring content sites to diversify their customer acquisition channels, as well as to increase their revenue streams through affiliate marketing and display advertising earnings.
You don’t have to buy a monetized blog, either. Some content sites generate their traffic via social media, which could complement your ecommerce store.
If you’re interested in finding out more about acquiring a content site, register on our marketplace for free. Our experienced business analysts and sales team will help you find the right fit for your business.
You can use this free due diligence checklist to narrow your search for the right content site.
With the right acquisition, you stand to benefit from content marketing immediately instead of toiling over it for months or years.