When we hear from ecommerce companies how they are powering their growth traction with digital marketing, they usually reference their ads performance, how specific products are selling, or how their revenue growth looks from a year over year perspective.
Rarely do they talk about their ecommerce growth in relation to their organic revenue and content marketing strategy.
From our perspective, as an ecommerce growth agency, that should be the number one focus for every ecommerce marketing strategy: generating targeted performance content that search engines will slap on page one. This, most importantly, drives potential customers to your site. And as a bonus, it becomes fodder for sharing in your email newsletter, on social media, and more.
What is Content Marketing?
“We have a blog!” is the answer we get when we ask brands about their ecommerce content marketing efforts.
That’s all well and good, but what exactly is on your blog?
If it’s content written for a specific target audience that helps them solve a problem using focus keywords that will enable the search engines to rank you as an authority figure in your industry, then you’re on track.
If it’s brand content about what your founder had breakfast then keep reading.
Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy that ecommerce companies (but really all companies no matter who you’re selling to) should leverage as their go-to lead generation strategy. That’s a bold statement for an agency that also has a robust and powerful team of paid acquisition experts.
Used in tandem with search engine optimization (SEO), a strong content marketing strategy produces content (think product copy, written articles, infographics, how-to videos) based on keyword analysis and topics related to an ecommerce site’s industry.
A content strategy agency like Tuff can help you do it, too.
Why Content Marketing for Ecommerce?
The answer is simple: would you rather pay top dollar for every single keyword you want to rank for in the form of paid search placements or would you prefer to get top rankings for free?
We’ll assume you went with the less costly approach.
You may be familiar with content marketing from other industries outside of ecommerce like B2B and SaaS. They produce content like ebooks, white papers, and case studies that contain information that their audience finds useful based on their own unique industry perspective or product.
Ecommerce content strategies are no different, but instead of ebook and white papers, we’re all about helpful guides, how-to articles, and most importantly product pages stacked with content that’s highly optimized for search engines.
A content marketing strategy for ecommerce enables you to show search engines and most importantly potential customers that you’re an expert on your industry. Just selling products within your industry space isn’t enough, you need to prove that your product or service is solving a problem by being the authority leader in your space.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Ecommerce
The good news: getting started growing your business with a content marketing strategy for your ecommerce business isn’t rocket science. But it does take some deliberate planning and focused research.
First, you’ll want to put together a core list of target keywords you want to rank for.
You might use words you’re bidding for on Google Search campaigns or do research using a search engine marketing tool to find non-branded organic keywords related to your ecommerce industry.
These will be your focus keywords. As the name implies, you’ll build content around these keywords. For example, check out the focus keywords for this article:
- ecommerce content marketing
- ecommerce growth
- ecommerce growth marketing
- content marketing
We’ve chosen them specifically because we know that there’s an opportunity for Tuff to improve our ranking on keywords related to ecommerce content marketing. And the higher we rank, the more people click through to our site. Although we’re not an ecommerce business, the principles hold true: more clicks = more revenue. (How meta is that?)
Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll want to figure out how to incorporate these keywords into a strategy. While there are a number of different ways to go about creating a content strategy, our favorite is the pillar strategy. This is where each keyword focus represents the foundation and you want to build articles off of your foundation to create a pillar.
Putting These Focus Keywords to Work
Each focus keyword needs to have different types of content built on it. As mentioned, this could be a variety of content types. Consider everything from articles to infographics—this is where things can get tricky, it’s important to create content that is not just designed to attract the attention of search engines, but real humans looking for real answers to their questions.
The good news: oftentimes many ecommerce brands already have a huge bank of content that they’ve built up over the years. So instead of starting from scratch, it’s possible to take stock of what you’ve already created and design a roadmap for combing through and strategically infusing targeted keywords. This can kickstart a performance content strategy without bucking up and going from 0-60 out the gate.
How to Optimize Your Product Copy with Focus Keywords
A great way to start using your focus keywords is to assign them to top selling products or your entire product catalog (depending on the number of products within your catalog). You will want each of your products to have keyword focus.
Then using that keyword, it’s best practice to include it within the product title, product description, SEO title, meta description, and product URL.
This will provide the foundation for your ecommerce content strategy. From here, you’ll want to produce content that features your focus keywords and links back to the foundation product pages that you assigned each specific keyword to. Simple!
Great Ecommerce Content Marketing Examples
Having trouble grasping what a eCommerce content strategy looks like in practice? Here are three examples to show you how it can be done:
Meet the little-known retailer called REI (kidding). They have a supercharged content strategy that enables them to pull in potential customers on just about any question someone might have about outdoor recreation products.
Their blog strategy has morphed into what is more clearly defined as a knowledge base on all things recreation equipment—an incredible, powerful, and most notably profitable achievement.
Strategically creating a knowledge base is becoming a more and more frequent play for ecommerce brands who want to organize their content in a way that enables them to help potential and existing customers on a range of topics.
Instead of scrolling through endless pages of blog content, website visitors can easily search their knowledge base using a query-based search feature or by selecting topic categories.
For a second selection, here’s a shameless plug for our client, QuietKat, an electric bike brand based out of Colorado.
We’ve been working with them for the last year to define their SEO content strategy and product content that helps educate existing and potential customers.
We won’t get too into the nitty gritty of how we do what we do with QuietKat, but take a drive through the QuietKat blog and check out how we’ve designed a content strategy to inform our existing and potential customers on all things electric bikes.
The final example of a content strategy from an ecommerce brand we really love is Cultures For Health. Similar to REI, their content is organized within a knowledge base learning center format which enables their website traffic to quickly access the information they need. They can also host multiple types of content together in an aesthetically pleasing fashion that doesn’t look cluttered.
Their content marketing strategy has allowed them to lay off the paid search play and focus 100% on producing content that their audience loves.
Here’s a break down of top keywords they rank for and how much organic traffic those keywords generate:
- Kombucha – ranking #13 (368,000 searches per month)
- Sourdough starter – ranking #16 (201,000 searches per month)
- Sauerkraut – ranking #4 (165,000 searches per month)
While an ecommerce content marketing strategy is not a quick fix, the benefits of a well thought out and executed SEO performance content strategy are huge.
Don’t be in a rush to start ranking on page one for your focus keywords. Rather, build out a strategy and look at from a quarterly growth timeline: where do you want to be ranking in three, six, nine, 12, and 15 months from now? How much content do you need to produce each month to hit your goals?
Finally, don’t try to do it all yourself. You’ll need some help along the way.
Let a Content Strategy Agency like Tuff help you with the heavy lifting!
John is a Growth Marketer based in Denver, Colorado who has years of experience growing eCommerce Brands and working with consumer-focused organizations. He also has experience working in the Tech, Outdoor, and Travel spaces. When he’s not optimizing website conversion rates or launching influencer marketing campaigns, you will most likely find him on a bike or in his kitchen.