If you are running an e-commerce business you may be wondering, should we have a blog? The long-short is yes. While there is no point in having a blog just to have one, there is immense value in leveraging your blog content to support all channels. Here are five key ways your e-commerce can leverage blog content to drive sales and revenue.
Capture Top Of Funnel Traffic
While someone who visits your blog may not convert on the first visit, it’s important to remember that your blog should be focused on bringing in users at the top of the funnel. What is the top of the funnel? The top of the funnel is the initial stage in the sales cycle where users are more broadly researching potential products without a clear vision of the exact product they are looking for. They are most often users that are new to your brand or site and are exploring their options. In e-commerce these would be people who have never shopped with your before and are landing on your site organically or through a top of funnel brand awareness campaign.
One of the most important things to remember about top of funnel marketing is that since these users are brand new to your brand you want to refrain from being overly promotional and instead look to be as helpful as possible. During this phase, you should be looking to provide as much value as possible and build up a strong relationship with these users.
Related: What Is a Marketing Funnel?
The simple analogy of dating before you marry will always work here. You would never suggest to someone you’ve only gone on a first date with that they should marry you right away. Instead, you would both get to know each other better and take the time to build up a strong relationship. You need to approach your marketing the same way and work hard to build that relationship up by being a great resource to users that are researching your product.
So, what does content look like at the top of the funnel? Your content should always relate back to your core product offering as to engage relevant users but do so in a meaningful way that truly adds value. Giving users inspiration or answering their most common questions is a great way to get them engaged with your brand. It’s hard to know exactly what will draw in these new users or what they will find the most relevant so it’s important to have a variety of resources on hand at all times. For example, an ecommerce site that sells undergarments could offer a free fit guide or quiz to help users better understand their correct sizing.
Users coming in through your blog may not know the exact solution to their problem — it’s your job to help them! By viewing your blog as a non-promotional brand introducer packed with high-quality content you can continuously bring new users to your site. The key to monetizing this traffic is having a strong remarketing funnel set up so that you can nurture these users that are new to your brand and/or solution.
This process will look different depending on what you are selling and how familiar users are with your brand or product. If you have a strong brand and your product is easy for users to understand, you can move users through the funnel more quickly. If your product is extremely innovative or your brand is relatively new, you will need to make sure you have solid resources built out to talk users through the product and build trust with your brand.
Increase Organic Traffic
One of the key benefits to blogging is that you can build out a network of content that works together to increase the organic traffic you get to not only your blog but also to your core transactional pages. Building up your organic strategy is important because it provides you with a steady stream of new users being brought to your site at a minimal cost each month. Of course you need to make that initial investment, but it prevents you from constantly having to pour advertising dollars into the top of the funnel and allows you to focus those dollars on moving those user through the purchasing funnel.
Additionally, with the right SEO strategy in place you can build out clusters of content around all of your main transactional pages so that your content is not simply ranking independently but instead seeing cohesive growth. At Power Digital, we leverage our content cluster strategy to ensure that all the content we produce is strategically tied together to get the best results possible across our blog and core transactional pages.
For an e-commerce site we would look to build out a large cluster around each of the main product categories on the site. For example, if we were looking at women’s dresses we would outline topics like these:
- Dresses with Leggings
- Dresses to Wear With Boots
- Styles of Dresses
By building out content that people are searching for and tying it all back to a main category page you can increase the overall topical relevance of your site for the term “dresses.” You do this by writing longer articles that strategically link to each other as well as the main page you are targeting. The reason this is so impactful is that Google has moved away from simply evaluating pages on a keyword level and instead is looking at the overall topical relevance for each page as well as the overall site.
Google’s algorithm has evolved to the point where it can essentially “read” the content on your site through the use of AI technology. This is their way of trying to create the best user experience possible by returning the best results possible for each search query. In order to ensure you have the most topically relevant content you need to be thinking less keyword centric and leveraging tools such as Market Muse to understand how topically relevant your content truly is.
In general, content with a higher word count often is often more topically relevant which is why content on the first pages of the SERP (search engine results page) is often longer in word count. While you should never write a post with the goal of simply hitting a certain word count it’s importantly that you critically evaluate how relevant your content truly is.
Lower Your CPA
Content is a great way to translate top of funnel traffic into qualified leads. It’s important to remember that not every user who visits your site is a lead. This assumption can lead to a lot of wasted energy and ad dollars. Instead of trying to convert every new user that lands on your homepage you need to qualify them so you can provide them with the relevant content and offers they need to convert.
Content is a great way to segment your users and provide them with content that resonates with them. As you are building a relationship with new users content is often a more cost-effective way to promote your brand across social platforms as it can drive a higher CTR due to its less promotional nature. Interactive content such as a quiz or engaging video content is also great to incorporate into your strategy. The more you can get users to self segment themselves toward your different product offerings the more you can deliver a positive user experience. This is why when nurturing new users on Facebook it’s key to have a large amount of content in your arsenal.
While content at the top of funnel will be less promotional as you move users through and determine their interests you can begin to showcase more comparisons and relevant products they would find interesting. When you do begin getting more transactional it’s key that the products you are pushing match their interests.
Provide Value And Nurture Your Customers
When it comes to nurturing campaigns we like to use the ATM analogy. You should never be making more deposits than withdrawals. As an e-commerce company, there are plenty of ways to provide value to your list, and sharing great content is one of them. When users are new and have just subscribed to your list this is the best time to hit them with as much value as possible.
Remember that while email is a revenue driving channel, everyone converts (or doesn’t) in their own time. The more content you have in your arsenal the more you can test to see which content is resonating best and providing the most value. Setting up value-packed post-purchase email sequences are an absolute must. It’s easy to get caught up on the bottom line but if you’re not looking down the field you’ll find your efforts simply aren’t sustainable.
The more segmenting you do with your email list the more you can cater your content directly to subscribers. This is where having a large variety of content built out comes into play as not everyone is going to find the same content valuable. Email is also a channel that requires a good deal of testing and optimization. The more content you have available to test the better off you will be.
Increase The Lifetime Value Of Customers
As you may have noticed, we’re all about looking at the bigger picture when it comes to your e-commerce marketing strategy. While revenue bumps are great, one of your main goals should always be customer retention, upselling and cross selling. One of the benefits of working to increase the overall lifetime value of your customers is that you are able to offset the cost of initially acquiring them. E-commerce is getting more and more competitive every day, your CPA will likely never be as low as you would like to see which is why it’s so important to make sure you are working to retain and upsell existing customers.
So, what can you do? Make sure your customers are remaining engaged with the products, as well as new products, after their purchase. Content, email, and social are all great ways to make sure you stay top of mind and continue to educate users on existing and new products. Your focus should be on turning new users into repeat customers. When you are firing on all three of these cylinders you’ll find users are engaged, feeling valued, and building an affinity to the brand. A strong email marketing strategy is the key to nurturing your past customers and continuing to provide value.
Value can be given to your users through a variety of mediums. It may be new products, an exclusive discount, or a relevant reminder to reorder. Content is a perfect compliment to these as it allows you to build up a more personal relationship with the consumer so you can avoid repeatedly asking them to purchase with little incentive to do so.
Wrapping It Up
When it comes to blogging, your content is only as good as your promotion strategy. If you fail to promote your content it will surely fall flat. Whether you are setting it up for success through your SEO research or plan to promote it via social or email it’s important to have a clear plan in place. The more you can integrate across all channels the better.
As you start ramping up your content production know that it’s okay to start small but you should make sure you are integrating the content into your larger online marketing strategy. So,when you consider the value having a blog could bring to your e-commerce site remember to think of it as an asset you can leverage across all of your key digital channels to create the best experience possible for all visitors, subscribers, and purchasers.
How are you leveraging your blog to drive revenue and retention? Share your favorite strategies in the comments below!