Content Marketing Guide For Ecommerce

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Understanding your audience & mapping the content to the buyer’s journey
  • Chapter 2: Selecting the right content format
  • Chapter 3: How to create content that will get read
  • Chapter 4: Creating content for social media (Facebook & Instagram)
  • Chapter 5: Content promotion
  • Chapter 6: How to generate a return from your content marketing
  • Wrapping it up

If you own an ecommerce store, content marketing can be a great way to generate more traf c and ultimately more sales.

However, developing a successful content marketing campaign isn’t easy.

In fact, if you’ve never had any experience with content marketing, you probably don’t even know where to start.

If you’re in that position, though, it’s okay.

In this guide, we’re going to explore exactly what it takes to create a con- tent marketing plan that can be used to successfully promote an ecom- merce store.

We’ll take a look at some of the basic principles you’ll want to keep in mind as well as some of the advanced tactics you should consider using.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly how content marketing works, and how you can use the concept to generate signi cant results for your ecommerce store.

Let’s begin.


Understanding your audience & mapping the content to the buyer’s journey

Understanding who your audience is

As with any other kind of marketing campaign, you’ll get the best results from content marketing when you know who you’re trying to reach.

So defning your target audience should be your rst priority.

In doing so, your content marketing will do a better job at attracting the kinds of people that will spend money with your store.

This, of course, makes it more likely that you’ll generate a return from your content marketing efforts.

The easiest way to do gain clarity on your target market, is by creating something known as a ‘Buyer Persona.’

A Buyer Persona, is essentially a character that represents your ideal cus- tomer/audience.

At the bare minimum, you should think about describing the following, when crafting your Buyer Persona –

  • Age and gender
  • Location
  • Fears
  • Goals
  • Common objections
  • How they get their information
  • Who in uences them
  • What would make them want to make a purchase from your store
  • What would stop them making a purchase from your store
  • Competitors they might otherwise buy from

Here’s an example of Buyer Persona, of which relates to a coffee shop –

Though this Buyer Persona doesn’t directly relate to an ecommerce store, it still provides insight into how a Buyer Persona should be created, and the level of detail you need to go into.

Using the Buyer’s Journey to figure out what content you should create

Once you know who your target audience is, the next thing you need to think about is the kind of content you’re going to be creating for them.

The best way to figure that out, is by paying attention to something known as the Buyer’s Journey.

The Buyer’s Journey relates to the sequence of events that will take place before someone purchases something from your ecommerce store.

In general, there are three stages to the Buyer’s Journey –

  • The awareness stage
  • The consideration stage
  • The decision stage

Here’s a great overview of the whole thing –

During the ‘Awareness stage,’ people know that they have a problem.

However, they don’t know exactly what that problem is, so they’re searching for solutions, trying to gain some clarity on what’s wrong.

During the ‘Consideration stage,’ people have discovered what their problem is.

Now they’re in search of specifc solutions that can be used to solve their problem.

During the ‘Decision stage,’ people have a good sense of the solutions they can make use of in order to solve their problem.

All that’s left for them to do now, is to decide which one is best for them.

You can use each of these stages within the Buyer’s Journey to help you work out what kind of content you should be creating.

Let’s suppose that I operated an ecommerce store that sold grass seeds.

During the Awareness stage, my target audience will be in a position where they’re interested in how they can make their garden look better. As a result, they’ll type following keywords into Google –

  • ‘How to make a garden look better’
  • ‘Improvement tips for garden’

After doing some research they might nd improving the grass is the best way to improve the appearance of their garden.

In the Consideration stage, they’ll type in things such as –

  • Best way to improve grass
  • How to have greener grass

Upon doing so, they’ll have found some ideal solutions for improving the quality of their grass.

The next, step, therefore, involves them comparing the different solutions and also overcoming some concerns that they might have about the vary- ing solutions.

So in the Decision stage, they might type in keywords such as –

  • Bene ts of using grass seeds
  • Estimated cost of turfing garden
  • ime it takes for grass seeds to grow

As you can see, each stage deals with a different ‘angle’ of content.

If you want your content marketing plan to be thorough, it is important that you create content for all three stages.

Failure to do so, would mean that you’re ignoring large segments of your target market that have the potential to become customers.


Selecting the right content format

Picking the right content format

Content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint.

You’ll generally need to put out quite a bit of content, before you begin to see some real results.

Because of this, it is important you pick a content format that you’re com- fortable creating a lot of.

For the most part, there are two main content marketing formats for a ecommerce store –

  • Video
  • Text (blog posts/buyer guides)

Note: While you could argue that images also count as a form of content marketing, it’s worth mentioning that images generally don’t make up the bulk of a content marketing plan.

You need to pick the format that is right for you.

If you ignore this advice and pick a content format you’re not comfortable working with, it’s going to end up in you being absolutely miserable and potentially even abandoning your content marketing plan.

When picking a format, don’t worry about limiting yourself.

No matter which format you pick, you’ll still be provided with the opportunity to reach your target audience, as there is a massive audience for both text and video content respectively.

Plus, in the future, when your content marketing is generating some results, you can always hire someone to help you out with the ‘other’ form of content.

The two angles you can use for ecommerce content marketing

When it comes to content marketing for an ecommerce store, there are two angles that you can adopt.

1. Educationalcontent

Educational content relates to such as ‘how to videos’ or ‘guides.’

This kind of content rarely has something to do with your product and is generally designed to teach people how to achieve a certain goal.

While you can use your products to help Content-Marketing-Guide-For-Ecommerce/illustrate how certain goals can be achieved, you don’t always have to.

The purpose of educational content, is to build some goodwill with an audience and to get them interested in your brand, in the hopes that they’ll eventually turn into a ‘lead.’

Here’s an example of educational content from the online retailer ‘Wiggle.

2. Product focused content

Product focused content is just that – it’s content that relates heavily to your products.

If you own an ecommerce store that sells clothes, posting photos of your clothing on Instagram might count as ‘product focused’ content marketing.

Here’s an example of product focused content from the Instagram profile of the retailer Matalan.

A blog post that discusses a customer case study, could also be considered as product focused content.

Even a video testimonial, could count as product focused content.

Note: Product focused content is often used to convince people in the ‘Consideration’ and ‘Decision’ stage, letting them know that your product is worth investing in.

On the whole, try to have a good mix of both educational content and product focused content.

Educational content helps establish an audience and product focused content helps promote your products, to your established audience.

A large portion of this guide will be focused on educational content.

This is because it is often the hardest part of content marketing for an ecommerce store, but also likely to produce the greatest ROI over the long term.

The importance of evergreen content

In the next couple of sections we’re going to deep dive into what it takes to create stellar educational content.

One thing we need to discuss beforehand, though, is the importance of creating evergreen content.

Evergreen content is content that generally occupies the ‘Awareness’ stage of the Buyer’s Journey and represents content that people will ‘always’ be interested in.

Suppose I have an ecommerce store that sells running shoes.

A good piece of content for my ecommerce store would be something that teaches people how to improve their marathon times.

For the foreseeable future, there will always be people running marathons, and those people will always be interested in how to improve their marathon times.

Because of this, there will always be a demand for content that is dedicated to teaching people how they can improve their marathon times.

This means that if I create a piece of content dedicated to this topic, I can be sure that such a piece of content, will produce results for my ecommerce store for months, even years, on end.

This helps to reduce workload, but also helps to improve the ROI per piece of content that is being produced.

On the other hand, if I created a piece of content that reviewed a certain kind of running shoe – sure, people might be interested in that content for 6 months to a year.

But after a while, it is unlikely that such a piece of content be of value to my target audience, since new shoes will have come out since then. As a result, they’re not likely to search for such content within YouTube or Google, or read it if they come across it on my site.

Note: Once you’ve established a good base of evergreen content, creating other types of content is perfectly ne and can actually be a good idea.

If you create some content that is topical, for instance, it can help bring attention to your evergreen pieces of content. Starting out with topical content, though, isn’t always a good idea.


How to create content that will get read

Creating blog content

Creating blog content is the path that most content marketers go down.

You could even do both.

If you’re just starting out and you’re on a budget, however, you may just want to write the content yourself.

After all, it’s not worth hiring a writer on the cheap, as you’ll often get what you pay for when it comes to working with a writer.

If you don’t have a large enough budget, you’ll tend to end up with a writer who won’t do the research needed to create stellar content.

And if you’re looking to create long form content, you’re going to end up spending a lot either way.

It may be the case that you want to write the blog posts yourself – but you’re nervous because you don’t consider yourself to be a writer.

If that’s the case, don’t worry.

Fortunately, writing a blog is nothing like writing those essays you used to dread while in school.

Because you’ll be writing about topics you have an interest in, it’s not that much of a slog.

Make sure that your content is conversational, educational and easy to read.

As long as you do that, people will generally be quite forgiving if there is an odd grammar mistake here or there.

You can always make use of tools such as Hemingway app or Grammarly, to double check that your writing is up to standard.

Something you’ll want to keep in mind when writing your content, is the ‘Skyscraper technique.

The Skyscraper technique is a great way to create content that will be widely shared and highly valued by the reader.

It is based on the idea that you find existing pieces of popular content around a certain topic and then create something that is ‘10x better.’

Let’s explore this concept, using my earlier example of an ecommerce store that is selling running shoes.

Suppose I want to write a blog post on ‘how to improve your marathon times.’

What I need to do first, is identify the top pieces of existing content based on this topic.

One way I can do this, is by searching Google.

If I type in ‘how to improve marathon times’ into Google, I’m presented with the following results.

I now need to review all of the content on the rst page of Google for this keyword and assess the key points that are being covered, as well as what is missing.

I can figure out what is missing, by reviewing the comments people leave for these pieces of content.

I can also take a look at what is present in one piece of content, but is missing in another.

The ‘autocomplete’ function provided by Google, also lets me know some of the main concerns people might have, when looking to improve their marathon time.

If I want to create a comprehensive piece of content, I should pay attention to these suggestions.

For instance, as shown above, one thing people are interested in, is how ‘long’ it takes to improve marathon time.

I might also want to show how the tips I provide in my content can be adapted to someone who is interested in running a ‘half marathon.’

I should, therefore, cover these points when writing my own piece of con- tent.

As mentioned, I can also use a tool known as Buzzsumo.

Note: While Buzzsumo does cost money, there is trial period that you can use, should you want to figure out how the platform works and experiment.

Buzzsumo is a tool that’ll let me identify existing examples of content that have been highly shared.

To do this, all I have to do is create an account with Buzzsumo and then type in a relevant keyword.

When the search has been completed, look out for content that has attracted a lot of shares.

Such content has gained a lot of shares for a reason, and it’s this kind of content that you’ll want to improve upon, when acting on the Skyscraper technique.

Keep in mind that when using Buzzsumo, you’ll need to be a bit more experimental when providing your keywords. That’s because the tool generally doesn’t have as much data to draw upon as Google does.

You’ll also want to pay attention to the suggestions provided by Buzzsu- mo.

As before, keep a note of these keyword suggestions, since they’re good indicators of certain subtopics that you might want to cover, when creat- ing your 10x Skyscraper content.

Don’t be afraid to tinker with some of these suggestions too.

I removed the word ‘training’ from the suggestion ‘marathon training advice’ and managed to uncover a blog post with over 5.4K shares.

There’s a good chance that there will be some useful information in this piece of content that I can incorporate into my own blog post.

In any case, once I’ve identified existing pieces of relevant content that have done well, I then need to go about creating a better, definitive version of my own.

So how can this be done?

Well the most basic way I can get this done is by creating something more ‘in depth.’

So if other pieces of content are around 5,000 words, I could instead create something that is 10,000 words.

Now, this might sound like a hard task to achieve.

But if you use the research approach shown above, you’ll end up with a lot of content that you can use for inspiration, making the task of creating long form content, much easier.

I may also want to consider creating content that has more credibility.

This means that I backup all of my points using data and statistics.

Another way I can build upon existing pieces of content, is by improving my formatting.

Existing pieces of content may be made up of big chunks of text that are hard to read.

I can improve upon this, by using smaller paragraphs, while also making better use of bullet points and subheaders.

I might even want to look into using a ‘contents’ feature at the top of your blog post, so that people can easily nd and skip to the sections that they’ll find the most interesting.

There’s also the option of improving the ‘design’ of my content.

Design is something that a lot of blog owners neglect and so this, there- fore, represents an opportunity. By improving the design of my content/ blog I’ll be able to set myself apart from other ‘boring’ blogs in the same niche.

Aside from improving the actual theme of your blog, I can also improve the design of my blog content by using graphics to visually present any points I’m making.

If you’re not good at creating graphics, you can hire a freelancer to help you get the task done.

Creating video content

Now let’s take a look at how you can use video as a means of content marketing.

You’ll tend to nd that a lot of the principles we’ve covered in relation to creating blog content, apply to video content.

As a result, you’ll still want to keep the skyscraper concept in mind, when crafting your videos.

Therefore, the general process of creating video content, should go like this –

  1. Find existing videos covering a certain topic that you have chosen
  2. Create better versions of those videos

As you might’ve guessed, the easiest way to find videos is by using You- Tube.

Let’s stick with my example earlier, of improving marathon times.

If I go into YouTube and search ‘How to improve marathon times,’ I’m presented with the following videos.

The most basic way I can improve upon these videos, is by again, creating content that is more in depth and helpful for the person that is watching.

However, I could also improve upon them by making use of better thumbnails.

Thumbnails have a big impact on a person’s willingness to click on a video.

If your thumbnails aren’t doing a good job at drawing attention then you’ll naturally struggle to get a lot of people to watch your content.

Similarly, I could also create a better headline.

When it comes to ‘how to’ content, you’ll often find that the best headlines in YouTube, tend to be those that provide concrete suggestions and bene ts.

For instance, ‘How to improve your marathon times with these 5 exercises’ or ‘How to improve your marathon times without overtraining.’

It’s often a good idea to make sure that the majority of your headline, matches what someone would type into YouTube, to find your video.

This will help make your video appear relevant for the person searching YouTube

It will also increase the odds of YouTube ranking your video highly, for the keyword you’re using in your headline.

You’re always free to experiment and split test the thumbnails and headlines you use within your YouTube videos.

If you experiment with multiple headline/thumbnail variations, you’ll be able to increase the odds of coming across a headline/thumbnail combo that will generate a lot of clicks.

During your videos, always remember to tell people to subscribe to your channel. This will ensure that people will be notified whenever you release new content.

We’ll cover this in more detail later, but if your ecommerce store provides coupons, mention that there is a coupon on offer if people sign up to your list. This will make it easier to market to these individuals later on and may even directly lead to purchases.


Creating Content for Social Media (Facebook & Instagram)

Creating Social Media Content

No matter what angle you’re going to be taking with your content marketing, social media is going to play a big part.

You should think about creating content for specifically for social media – of which is designed to bring attention to the content you might have hosted on YouTube or your blog.

You’ll want to pick just two social media platforms to begin with, and the two ideal platforms are Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook and Instagram can be a good source of organic traffic and you’ll want to use these platforms as an integral part of your content marketing plan.

When setup properly, the platforms can help expand the reach of your content and brand, thereby increasing the potential ROI you can achieve from your content marketing.

Creating content for Facebook

When it comes to creating social media content for Facebook, you rst need to create a ‘Fan Page.’

You can then post to that Fan Page whenever you’ve created something new.

If you’re promoting video content on Facebook, there are two approaches that you can take.

The first is to just post a 30 second clip that is designed to get someone’s attention and entice them into watching the whole video.

The other, is to post the entire video on your Fan Page.

For most people, it’s often better to post a 30 second clip than it is to post the whole video.

This is because a clip will increase the odds that the video is shared.

For blog content, you can adopt a slightly different approach.

As you might’ve guessed, you can’t really post an entire blog post to Facebook.

What you can do, though, is create some engaging copy that will encourage people to click and read your content.

Even if your blog post has a great title, you’ll still want to come up with a custom headline that you can use on social media, of which draws people in.

So suppose we’re using the marathon times example from before.

When writing the copy for this blog post, I might say – ’What you need to know about improving your marathon times…Even if you’re an experienced runner.’

I could also say ‘How to improve your marathon times in 6 weeks without injuring yourself.’

Both of these variations create a little bit of curiosity – especially for some- one who is interested in improving their marathon times and want’s to learn more about the topic.

When writing your copy for social media, it’s important that you experiment with multiple variations.

You can never be sure which ‘angle’ is going to work best with your copy, in terms of generating the most attention and therefore traffic to your blog.

Plus, different people are persuaded by different things.

As a result, you should use create several forms of social media copy (each of which persuade in a different way), for one specific piece of content.

This helps to widen the number of people that will find your social media post engaging, thereby potentially increasing the number of people that will read your content or at the very least share it.

It can also useful to create a specific graphic, of which can be used as the image for your social media page update.

It’s not too hard to create a decent looking graphic with the help of a plat- form known as Canva.

Here are some examples of what you can create using Canva.

Using the platform, you should be able to create something that looks as though it was created by a professional designer – even if you have no experience with the world of design.

As with the social media copy, it can sometimes be a good idea to experiment with different graphics, as you can never know for sure which one is going to help you get the most attention.

If you’re looking to bring attention to your writing, you can also use some- thing known as ‘Facebook Instant Articles.’

This is a relatively new feature and it gives people the chance to read your content from directly within the Facebook App.

Instant Articles can be a good idea, since the feature makes it easy for people to quickly gain access to your content, while also potentially reducing article abandonment rates by as much as 70%.

The flipside of this, however, is that using Instant Articles can often lead to your website generating less traffic. This can be a problem if you’re looking to generate leads or even sales as a result of people engaging with the content directly on your site.

Creating content for Instagram

Instagram is a platform that is used primarily for image and video content.

If you want to promote your video content on Instagram, you can use the same method you’d use for Facebook.

So you can just post 30 second clips that will draw people in.

However, you can also post some interesting quotes that come from your video content, in the form of a image.

Note: This method also works well for blog content.

Posting quotes is a good way to increase your brand exposure. People are likely going to share these quotes, and some people will want to check out the origins of these quotes – aka your videos.

Since you can’t really place ‘clickable’ links in the descriptions of your videos, put the link to whatever you’re posting, in your ‘bio.’

Make sure you tell people that they should check out your bio, to find the blog/video that the image/video clip is referencing.

Here’s an example of how that can be done.

The Instagram post above, is actually referencing a video, further showing you how you can adapt video content, so that it will get exposure on Instagram.


Content Promotion

Promoting your content

Though it’s important to produce great content – you also need to actively promote your content.

Without adequate promotion, your content won’t get the kind of expo- sure and attention that it deserves and you’ll probably achieve a lacklustre ROI as a result.

While helpful, passively posting your content to social media is only going to get you so far.

On top of that, it can take a while before your content begins to gains traction within the search results of Google/YouTube.

One of the best ways to actively promote your content, is paid ads.

It’s relatively easy to run an ad campaign on Facebook or Instagram.

Because each platform has such a large user base, you’ll find and market to your target market, without having to break the bank.

Also, because Facebook owns Instagram, it’s relatively easy to transfer a successful campaign on Facebook, over to Instagram – and vice versa.

Perhaps the easiest way to use paid ads to promote your content, is by simply putting your advertising money behind the social media con- tent, we just talked about.

So just nd the content that has achieved the most engagement (likes/ views) and then run a campaign around that.

Of course, you’re free to create custom content for a paid ad campaign, but to begin with, putting money behind something that’s already shown some promise, is a good way to start.

One of the biggest factors that will determine your success with paid advertising, is your targeting.

As shown below, you’re given a lot of freedom when setting up the target- ing for your ads.

Make sure that you are clear about who your target market is, before you run a paid ads campaign.

Otherwise, you’ll end up promoting your content to people who will not have an interest in it – leading to wasted ad spend.

You should also place a large emphasis on ‘split testing.’

Paid advertising can be a tricky thing to master and you’ll never know what’s going to work ahead of time.

By testing out multiple variations of the same ad, you’ll be able to increase the odds of coming across a ‘winning’ ad that will engage people and get them to check out your content.


How to generate a return from your content marketing

Generating a return from your content

Generating a return from your content marketing is obviously very impor- tant.

But returns won’t just happen like that – you’ll need to take some preemptive steps to make sure that the people viewing your content, eventually become customers.

There are a few things that you can do to make sure that you’re generating sales, as a result of your content marketing.

The first, is to make sure that you’re collecting leads.

Whenever people are reading your content on your blog, give them with a signup form that will allow them to provide their email.

A great way to obtain email addresses, is by offering people a coupon, in exchange for their email.

Here’s an example of how you could offer a coupon, of which comes from the retailer Blacks.

Note: The interesting thing with ecommerce stores, is that if someone buys something from you, they’re naturally going to give you their email.

So offering coupons is a great way to build a list of people, of whom have shown that they’re willing to spend money. Because these people have spent money with you once, they’ll likely spend money with you again, if the experience was good.

As a result, instead of optimizing for newsletter promotions, you might want to optimize for sales, even if you have to heavily discount.

Either way, the goal is to get them onto your email list.

Once they’re on your email list, you can build goodwill. Eventually once

you’ve built enough goodwill, they’ll likely engage with any promotions that you’re sending via your email newsletters.

Another thing you can do, is make use of your Instagram bio.

If you’re going to post pictures of your products, let people know that they can check the product out, by clicking on the link in your Instagram bio.

Note: Even if you’re just posting ‘normal content’ on your profile, let your followers know in the ‘post description,’ that there is a coupon on offer, should they sign up to your email list using the link in your bio.

On your Facebook Fan Page, you might also want to consider creating a ‘Pinned post.’

Within this pinned post, you can let people know that people can obtain a coupon, if they sign up to your email list.

If you do a good job with your content marketing, more people are going to see your fan page.

This means that more people will see the pinned post, increasing the potential number of people that will opt in to receive the coupon and then eventually become customers.

You might even want to take a look at running some retargeting ads, of which are shown to people who’ve interacted with your blog content.

Similar to what we’ve already covered, you can use these retargeting ads to promote a coupon to your store.

Because people have already had some form of interaction with your brand, they’ll likely take an interest in the coupon that you’re offering. Especially if they found your content interesting and informative.

Wrapping it up


We’ve covered a lot in this guide, so it’s okay if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed right now.

From creating a Buyer Persona, to documenting the Buyer’s Journey, to deciding on the kind of content you should create as well as how you should promote your content – there’s a lot to digest.

What you need to focus on the most, though, is getting started.

If you ever have any doubts – just revisit this guide.

Sure, you might make some mistakes, but that’s okay.

The key thing is that you take action now and learn for yourself, just how content marketing works when trying to promote an ecommerce store.

Good luck!

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