October 16th, 2013 | 4 MIN READ

20+ Minutes of Content Marketing Tips for Ecommerce

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Content marketing for ecommerce can be more challenging than for lead gen sites, but there are plenty of tactics and strategies that can attract and convert customers.

I recently had the pleasure of joining Arnie Kuenn from content marketing agency Vertical Measures for a Google Hangout, along with Sam Mallikarjunan of Hubspot and author of How to Sell Better than Amazon and Steve Sheinkopf, CEO of Yale Appliance to talk content marketing for ecommerce. 


What are one or two favorite strategies for content marketing for ecommerce?

The most important content marketing strategy is to have a strategy! Many organizations' content marketing is created in silos - there may be a Facebook or social team creating content, along with merchandizers, bloggers, copywriters and brand managers, with little collaboration or co-operation between groups. These groups don't leverage each other, nor do they share results and learnings with each other. Bigger brands are more likely to suffer from siloed content marketing. Anything you can do to unify content marketing under a brand-wide strategy will help you get the most of your marketing tactics. - Linda

Often marketing is created internally, but content marketing channels like social sites are centered around the customer. Understand that your audience in social may be very different than the email list you've had for years, or your catalog subscribers, and that content should be tailored to the audience of each channel. - Linda

Focus on building audiences of a certain buyer persona, and create the type of content that's going to attract those folks. Nobody wants to read salesy blog articles about products, they're more interested in lifestyle, entertainment, informative content. Use that to direct them to your product pages. Create content that your persona will love, not what everyone will like. - Sam

If you do blog, remember "blogging is like jogging" -- it sucks, nobody wants to do it but you have to be consistent or your efforts atrophy. It takes some time to see results, but it's something you invest in and grow over time. - Sam

Even before strategy, create an inbound culture. At Yale Appliance, everybody in the organization creates content -- including the CEO. - Steve

Next, you need to pick the mode - you can't be good at everything, especially if you're a small team. This may be Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, blogging, Facebook, etc. Then follow what you're good at. - Steve

Think like a buyer - create unique content and really buy into it. It has to be unique, interesting. - Steve

When you find a winning piece of content, sub-set it, and create more content like it. For example if you find This vs. That posts to be popular, create more using that formula. - Steve

How can you leverage content marketing on a product page?

Beyond the traditional product page content (image, description, product reviews, video), there's opportunity to bring the social conversation into the mix. The best product content is the content you don't create. Being able to tap into conversations about a product, aggregate it and embed it into your product page gives your customer additional social proof that can increase conversion. - Linda

If you don't attract a lot of your own customer reviews, head to Amazon or a competitor to read their reviews to better understand what matters to customers, not just what the manufacturer's marketing team has fed you. Use this to write better product descriptions. - Linda

Product pages have evolved from a picture and a paragraph into more of a data hub, it has the potential to customize itself to the user. If you're doing inbound marketing right, by the time the customer gets to your product page, you know what content they've consumed in what context, and you can customize the page to be relevant and persuasive to that customer. - Sam

Give users an opportunity to conduct research when they're on the product page, so place calls to action to other information content that can support the sales process. - Sam

Turn tools created to support your sales team into buyer guides (10-14 pages). These guides and ebooks are calls to action. When you collect an email address in exchange for the guide, you know that person is in the market for [fill in the blank], and can use drip marketing to keep them engaged during their evaluation process. Mix informational content with promotions / offers. Steve's un-sub rate is less than 1% and open rate ~30% using this method. - Steve

Make it measurable. Gone are the days you can spray and pray and hope it works. - Linda

Think of content as a product. If you have an ebook, you're asking for something of value (your customer's information), so make sure what you offer is of value. - Sam

Create content for personas early in the buying cycle. Help the customer understand what they really need, try to "own the research process." - Sam

We're creating content for people - make it good, make it unique. Nudge them to buying the product from you. You want to be the most trustworthy, you want to have a Unique Selling Proposal, and don't be fake. Remember you're talking to people. - Steve

Check out the full transcript at the Vertical Measures blog, and subscribe to catch future monthly Hangouts on content marketing.

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