Top 3 Ways eCommerce Websites Can Improve Their On-Site Content in 2021
If you’re an eCommerce site looking to get into content marketing or improve your existing strategy, the first question you might start with is this: In 2021, does the world really need another blog?
It’s a fair question – we don’t need to tell anyone that content on the internet has been growing exponentially for decades now, and it can seem like every possible niche has already been explored, and every word has already been written. When it comes to eCommerce companies, starting a blog (or maintaining one) is usually not the first priority and therefore gets pushed to the wayside. After you’ve put it off for so long, it can seem meaningless.
In reality, this idea couldn’t be further from the truth.
Why eCommerce Sites Also Need a Blog
If you read a lot about digital marketing like us, content marketing can seem a rather old hat at times. It’s true that you will not be a revolutionary by launching a formal blog, and from an eCommerce standpoint, you will likely have to handle objections from your team regarding time and money. Most content on the internet gets very little traffic, so if you’re going to do this, you have to do it well, and that’s going to take time and investment.
That said, building out a content strategy on your website could very well be the highest ROI decision you ever make for one major reason:
- Content marketing is still the only reliable way to drive organic traffic to your site, eCommerce or not. If you’re not offering value to users through the use of content, you’re always going to have to pay for advertising to get new customers in the door. While that can work, we never see advertising campaigns provide as many sales per dollar spent than a well-performing content campaign. See a case study here.
If you’re willing to put in the leg work at the beginning, and an on-site content strategy will pay dividends. The key here, however, is that you have to get it right…and that starts with knowing what has worked for others.
Don’t Forget: Successful Content for eCommerce is Usually Video
Asking if the world needs another blog is actually the wrong question – most content being published today doesn’t really look like a blog. Sure, the written word is still the primary tool used (I mean, look at you reading this now), but you’ll need to widen your lens to really see the possibilities of content creation. Once again, an on-site content strategy means all of the content on your site, not just your traditional blog.
Video is the most obvious powerhouse with 82% of all new content being video. This rise is visible on platforms like YouTube, but also on social media platforms like TikTok. To dig just a little bit deeper, there’s also the ongoing trend of User Generated Content (UGC) outperforming more polished creatives – a pattern that content providers have continued to employ through unboxing videos, behind-the-scenes content, and testimonial-based videos and articles. There’s even talk of the booming live-shopping scene making the jump from the East to the West. All of these trends were fed with jet fuel by the global pandemic and show no signs of slowing down. This is crucial to keep in mind when thinking about improving and growing your on-site content.
3 Ways eCommerce Sites Can Improve Their Content
1. Build Your List with First-Party Data
If you missed the news, third-party cookies are going away. Google is removing them from the Chrome browser, Apple has updated to consent-based tracking only, and both Facebook and Google are changing the way they track. This is a huge deal for eCommerce businesses as it affects your ability to target and remarket in the paid advertising space.
You can learn more about the intricacies of these changes and how companies are adapting here. For our purposes, we’ll summarize and say that the ability to easily learn about your audience and target them through cookies is up in the air. In the short-term, or very possibly long-term, the absolute best way to know more about your users is to use first-party data.
What is First-Party Data?
First-party data is what you actually collect from your users. It can be as simple as an email address or as complete as a full checkout profile. This data is free to use as you please and will help you greatly if you have enough of it.
Where this ties into content marketing is the idea that collecting data from a user is a friction point and it could lead to a bounce, so if you’re going to ask for any information, your content is going to have to be perfect and written in such a way that truly earns you this data. You can find success in a few different ways:
- The most popular way of doing this is the whitepaper model. This is where you entice the user with truly compelling content and only allow them to view if after they provide some info. This model is frequently used because it works. If you have valuable enough content, don’t be afraid to employ it – people will bite. If your content is less valuable, say a simple blog post or a quick video that’s entertaining but probably isn’t super critical, it gets a little more difficult.
- Another tried and true method is to offer a newsletter or other subscription. Assuming people like your content, it can be seen as a service for you to offer it on a routine basis so users don’t miss anything. Just make sure you don’t spam this list. If you prove to be more trouble than you’re worth, it’s easy for your audience to unsubscribe (if that does happen, learn about what to do after someone unsubscribes here).
It’s recognized by everyone in the digital marketing industry that gathering first-party data is going to be harder to gather than cookie data was previously, but it will make for a better experience and higher sales in the long run. The ways we market online are sure to always change, but a list of qualified user info will always be valuable.
2. Shake Up Your Formats
Variety is the spice of life. It turns out, it’s also the spice of content marketing.
Don’t be afraid to change up the way you deliver information to your users. This will keep them engaged and help you maximize the value of your content by using different mediums. In addition to videos, get a guest spot on a podcast and post that as an alternate content type. Get on Clubhouse or TikTok and promote your content there. There are endless ways you can provide content online that go beyond just writing. If you’re bored making the content you’re making, you can probably assume your audience is bored too.
Learn more about different content types and how to be successful here.
Update Your Old Content
This tip is simple, but it’s so painfully underutilized that we had to include it. Please, please, please don’t forget about your old content.
One of the main hesitations about content marketing for eCommerce sites is that it’s so resource-intensive, and yet it’s all too common for these sites to only put out new content when some of their classics could perform just as well, if not better, with a quick revamp.
This is something that bloggers have been doing for a long time, but eCommerce sites haven’t seemed to prioritize. You’d be surprised how out-of-date your article can get in a year’s time. Give it a quick update, post it again, and you’re done. You’ll have a tested piece driving engagement again with much less work.
Bonus: Optimize Your Email Signature
Not too many people think of “email signature” when they think content, but this small snippet of text is seen over and over by a large audience (sometimes your largest audience) when it comes to an eCommerce business. It’s important to keep your signature unified for both business emails and individual emails, so considering using a tool like WiseStamp’s email signature maker to cut down on management across all employees. This is a great place to promote PR and awards, publicize company events, and other ever-changing aspects of your business, so don’t let this seemingly small snippet of content go to waste.
As we become more and more intertwined with the online world, this may be the best time ever to stake out your space in the content universe. Your site is all about selling products, but an on-site content marketing strategy is still one of the best ways to drive organic traffic to your site and ultimately boost sales.
To give yourself the best chance of success, be sure to collect data whenever you can, serve your content in a variety of formats, and make sure you’re efficient by recycling winning content. It will be worth it in the end!