Launching an e-commerce store today is easy. But generating real profits and making your store a household name is a real challenge.
The ease of opening an online store means that e-commerce is now a super competitive space. New stores are popping up and disappearing every day, and their survival and success depends largely on your marketing efforts.
That’s why emerging ecommerce brands must utilize one of the best marketing tools: blogs.
This article will break down the fundamental importance of business blogging and strategies for creating quality content to convert through it.
Why are blogs essential for e-commerce?
As a new ecommerce entrepreneur, you already have your hands full with a myriad of tasks such as product sourcing, inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service and much more.
Still, you can’t ignore the importance of maintaining an active and engaging blog on your ecommerce website. Here’s why:
Blogs help SEO efforts
Google search makes up a significant portion of a typical e-commerce website’s traffic, 33% to be exact.
The higher the quality of the blog articles you publish, the more likely it is that your store will rank high in Google search results. This is because text-based content infused with the right keywords helps search bots better understand what your website is about.
Blogs reinforce your brand thought leadership
Your blog is the perfect place to share practical advice: tips and tricks, tutorials, and even industry news and insights. If you’re a veteran in your niche, you can also share some personal stories and experiences that can help newbies get a feel for your niche or industry.
If you consistently post valuable content that resonates with your target audience, they will begin to trust your brand as an authoritative thought leader.
Blogs inspire brand loyalty
With an active and relatable blog, your company gains more credibility in the eyes of your customers, both new and old. Quality articles will help you get more signups to your email list. Through it, you can share exclusive offers and discounts that lead to more sales.
A well-crafted blog also gives customers a reason to keep coming back to your store, which indirectly leads to more conversions in the long run and improves customer lifetime value.
So while posting interesting content on your ecommerce brand’s Instagram profile will help drive traffic, gain followers and boost brand awareness, you can only go so far without creating blog content that lives exclusively on your website.
Once your ecommerce store is up and running, it’s time to start working on a game plan to create and publish high-quality content on a consistent basis: articles that are helpful, informative and also entertaining to read.
Strategies for creating quality content on the blog
If you just publish post after post of mediocre quality every time you have time, it won’t bring you any value. So what should you do instead? Here are four concrete strategies to be consistent with your company’s blogs and leverage their true potential for your e-commerce store.
Outsource to expert writers
Creating quality content is no easy task, and for a time-strapped entrepreneur, the writing part of blogging can seem overwhelming. Researching, outlining, drafting, editing… writing a blog may seem easy from a reader’s perspective, but there’s a lot to do behind the scenes.
If you have the budget, it’s not a bad idea to hire an in-house team of writers or send a project proposal to a content marketing agency. But that’s probably not the case. And in addition to a big marketing budget, these options also require a long-term commitment.
So if you’re short on time and money, a sensible and relatively cost-effective way to get the job done is to outsource the writing to specialized freelancers. Not only will they take things off your plate, freeing you up to take care of other important business matters, but they will also bring their years of subject matter expertise to the table, which makes for higher quality content.
You can also choose to use licensed and “syndicated” content produced by trusted professional publishers. This is an inexpensive way to populate your blog and attract traffic, while writing some internal posts to champion your brand values and establish deeper connections with your audience.
Create focused blog posts
Different types of blog posts have different objectives: some are very comprehensive long-form guides intended to attract organic traffic and educate potential customers. Others are bite-sized and meant to be shared on social media. Still others advocate your brand’s principles or convey a powerful message.
Content that helps attract visitors to your store won’t necessarily convince them to make a purchase. Therefore, it is crucial to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Generally, the blog is a prime place to host “awareness” content that educates and entertains your audience, without being promotional. This type of content attracts interest and builds trust with new visitors coming to your website for the first time, either through search or well-placed links on social media.
Below is an excellent example of this type of content from Packit Gourmet, an e-commerce mountain food brand.
Once your audience is aware, you can use “branded” content to introduce them to your products without appearing too salesy. You can subtly promote your products in your educational blog posts to let people know that your products and services are great options worth considering.
The branded post below does a good job of highlighting products with crisp photos and without selling too much.
Unless you’re announcing a new product launch, your business blog should never have overtly promotional content; leave that for your product pages and social media.
56% of B2C marketers craft content based on specific stages of the buyer’s journey and get good results.
Create smart quotes for your product
While product promotion on your blog should be subtle and natural, you can also think about featuring relevant products at the end of each blog post.
Go ahead and create visually appealing calls to action for your products (consider making short featured product videos) and incorporate them at the end of the post, so readers know that your brand is an expert option that’s just a few clicks away.
Just make sure that featured product CTAs complement your blog content (not distract from it) and remain at the end of posts.
For example, Simple Pin Media’s blog posts are a great example of how to place compelling CTAs for your readers. As seen in the image below, the CTAs to read his book and visit his podcast are placed at the end, after readers have already received the value of the post and have been convinced by his expert insights.
This writer also gives compelling reasons for blog readers to check out these resources, hopefully leading them to take action.
When featuring your products in blog posts, don’t forget about buy buttons. These help put products in front of potential customers by adding a buy button to your blog pages. Readers will be able to purchase products directly from your blog article.
With Pago Ya E-commerce, you can choose from different Shopping Button designs to match the aesthetics of your blog.
In addition to using the Buy Buttons, you can add a complete online store to your website. Pago Ya stores can be added to any website, including popular blogging platforms such as WordPress. If you are a WordPress user, take note: Pago Ya E-commerce is compatible with the most popular page builder for WordPress, Elementor. It has no code and is easy to use, perfect for beginners.
Open an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is one of the most useful weapons in your content marketing arsenal. It helps you streamline your planning and publishing process so you can focus on content creation.
After all, the key to successful business blogging is consistency. You have to be persistent with your posts for a few months, and you can’t do that without an editorial calendar.
Check out an editorial calendar template that will keep your blogging efforts organized and on track throughout the year.
Promote and convert through content
Creating and publishing great posts is only half the battle of blogging. You can have the most entertaining and enlightening content, but it won’t do you much good for traffic and conversions unless you actively promote it.
Here are three clever ways to do that.
Advertise on social media
Don’t hesitate to share your blog posts on all social media channels, using both your personal and brand accounts. Share each post at least three times over the course of a few weeks to ensure that each post receives the maximum possible readership from your followers.
Next, take your content promotion a step further by running ads on Facebook and Instagram. You can launch an ad campaign for both platforms using Facebook Business Manager.
You may already be using Facebook and Instagram to run product video ads. This is great for reaching potential customers who are ready to finalize a purchase. But for people who haven’t yet heard of your brand or are in the early stages of their buying journey, content ads are often a better bet.
With content ads in the form of Facebook promoted posts and Instagram Stories ads, you engage an unwitting audience and attract potential customers who aren’t yet ready to buy from you, and thus, you cover every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Not to mention that driving a paid click to branded content only costs a few cents instead of a handful of dollars for a paid click to a product page.
Running ads on your blog allows you to generate cheap traffic (and you can target the exact demographics of the audience in the campaign) to your website, and raise your brand visibility.
Build and grow your email list
Today, there are more than 3.9 billion daily email users, and this number is expected to grow to 4.48 billion users by 2024. It is certain that your customers use email almost every day.
Email marketing is compelling for e-commerce companies. It is a key communication channel that allows you to nurture a one-to-one relationship with your customers by personalizing your marketing messages.
In fact, for every dollar you spend (wisely) on email marketing, you can expect a return of up to $44: a 4400% ROI!
Building an email list is also important because most visitors aren’t looking to buy from you right away. They may have come to your blog looking for information, or they may have simply browsed your catalog looking for what’s new. Your job is to convert them into subscribers so you can keep them in the funnel and market to them until they are ready to make a purchase.
Of course, you first have to create an email list by capturing the email addresses of your site visitors. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Incorporate carefully timed pop-ups.
- An eye-catching email sign-up button in the sidebar of your blog or at the bottom of posts.
- Create a newsletter-based online course, or a weekly or monthly newsletter that promises the best content and exclusive offers.
- Offer exclusive content, such as a relevant step-by-step guide, in exchange for their email address.
- Create interactive content, such as a quick quiz, and present the results in exchange for their email address.
- Invite visitors to sign up for your list on your “About” page, where you tell your brand story in a way that resonates with your target audience.
Once you get people to subscribe to your email list, make sure you deliver on what you’ve promised them.
Start by sending them a warm welcome email in which you thank them for subscribing and explain how often they will receive your emails, the type of content they will receive, the exclusive benefits you offer your subscribers, and how they can simply click the reply button if they have any questions.
Email marketing is all about sending relevant emails to the right people at the right time. That is, at different stages of the buyer’s journey (first-time customers, cart abandonment, post-purchase, etc.), timely emails can encourage subscribers to take the desired actions.
In addition to using it to send cart abandonment messages, cross-sell recommendations and feedback requests, email is an ideal channel for distributing your blog content. By including entertaining and useful articles alongside your products, you’re giving your subscribers who aren’t in the mood to buy a reason to engage.
So use content to guide subscribers and help them get to the decision stage. You already have a solid idea about their pain points and preferences, so send helpful content and resources to make them see why you’re a smart choice to buy.
Harper Wilde, an e-commerce brand that sells everyday bras, is an excellent example of blogging done right. They focus on creating content that answers questions their audience is likely to have about bra shopping, sizing and care. Their blog also serves as the FAQ section for their site, a very effective strategy that you can emulate.
Most importantly, they also use their content to grow their email list. Their email opt-in is located below their blog, and they encourage visitors to sign up for “bra tips and puns.” This marketing tactic and email language is consistent with their brand voice.
In short, the name of the game here is creating and leveraging an email list to build a valuable relationship with your audience, and sending relevant content to slowly convert subscribers into customers.
To make the most of email marketing for both your store and your blog, use Mailchimp’s Paid Now integration. With Mailchimp, you’ll be able to grow your email list, create branded emails, send targeted campaigns and even add products to your emails, with a single click.
Use pop-ups wisely
Strategic pop-ups can be a very effective way to collect your visitors’ email addresses and convert them into leads.
You’re not wrong if you think pop-ups are annoying and obtrusive, but studies suggest they work wonders for lead generation. For example, ZooShoo, a U.S.-based women’s fashion retailer, generated more than 5,000 additional subscribers, 1,129 of whom purchased its products thanks to pop-ups. In just two months, ZooShoo increased its net revenue by 7.35%.
While you can offer small discounts to incentivize sign-ups, conversion rates are usually higher when brands offer high-value, highly relevant content, such as a free e-book, quick checklist or how-to guide.
Promise them that they will only receive the best and most relevant content (and offers, of course) directly in their inbox, with no spam and the option to unsubscribe at any time.
- Offer value that can’t be found anywhere else, such as exclusive content.
- Have a clear call to action, such as “Get my free guide” or “I’m in!” rather than a vague “Submit” button. The goodbye button should also be clear.
- Be programmed in a sensible way. It can be based on the reader’s scroll depth (reached toward the end of the post), time on site (30 seconds to a minute), and other such factors.
What not to do with pop-ups:
- Cover the entire page and make them difficult to close.
- Appear too soon or too often, especially after they have been dismissed by the reader.
- Missing, cluttered or confusing call to action.
Start writing a blog for your online store.
Producing fresh, high-quality blog content is a vital part of any online business’ marketing strategy.
By publishing this type of useful content on your website, you make your eCommerce business more valuable to your audience and to search engines like Google, boosting your SEO.
As a result, your store will achieve top page rankings for desired keywords, generate more traffic and leads, keep customers engaged, and inspire more loyalty and word-of-mouth from them.
Go ahead, create great blog content and take your sales game to the next level!