Content Marketing For E-Commerce: Initial Thoughts

By Jamie McSloy / October 11, 2017
content marketing for ecommerce featured image

Content Marketing For E-Commerce: Initial Thoughts

Have you ever worked on an e-commerce project? Are you thinking of working on one in the near future? If someone came to you and send, “How would you as a copywriter go about marketing an e-commerce store?” what would you say?

Imagine you had twenty minutes… because that’s what I’m going to do in this article. Twenty minutes writing about e-commerce marketing.

Note: This is a very rough draft. I will probably come back to this later.

Direct Response Principle: Move Everything Towards The Store

Let’s put first things first. If you’re running an ecommerce store, then you need to point everything towards your products. The focus of an e-commerce store is to shift products.

That’s all nice and simple. It means cover the basics:

  • Have a good website. Your homepage should direct people where you need them to go. Your site structure should be strong. (Categories should make sense and it should be easily navigable.)
  • In addition to the above; everything should work and should be marked clearly. (Shipping, pricing, terms and conditions, etc.)
  • Have an email list and social media presence and direct them to the store

Traffic matters, conversions matter more.  There’s more than enough in this section to keep anyone busy for a few months. Let’s talk about products though.

Product Descriptions

Don’t fall into the boring e-commerce trap of having a set of manufacturer specifications as your product description. This doesn’t sell anything. You can use direct response copywriting techniques even if you’re determined to avoid long-form sales letters on your e-commerce site. Namely:

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  • Clear benefits
  • Clear call to action
  • State the product/offer and everything about it in detail
  • Write it for a targeted audience (your audience) and relate it to the problems they have and the solutions they need

This isn’t rocket science and you can go a lot further, but it’s a start.

Let’s move on to what people call “marketing” now.

Build A Resource

Some companies do a really good job of this. Most fail miserably. How many times have you been to a bland ecommerce store with products that you don’t know how to use?

If you’re like me then the answer is “too many.”

If you’re running an e-commerce store, then you might look at some marketing guides and say, “Jesus… having a blog, Twitter profile, YouTube channel and Facebook page is all too much!”

Stop thinking of these things as different profiles and properties. Think of them as:

  1. Places to channel new customers towards your store (see above sections)
  2. Places to help your customers get the solutions they’re after

If your ecommerce store is a fitness one (for a boring example) and you sell protein powders and other supplements, then you could:

  • Use your blog to recommend fitness routines
  • Use Instagram to show customer before and afters
  • Hold Q and A sessions on Facebook
  • Email people with latest offers and discount coupons
  • Use Pinterest or Tumblr for recipes

All of those things create a valuable resource from not much work on your part. They also turn your e-commerce site into a place of learning and all of your different properties have value. If you’re using your products on a regular basis, then you have an unlimited amount of content that you just need to write up and put on the different channels.

You can also go a step further. Let’s talk about that.

Build A Community

If you’re doing the above; building content, solving problems and building your products as an answer to the problems within your niche, then there’s no reason you won’t build a community.

Many online business guys try and create low investment dropship websites which are carbon-copy, lowest-denominator affairs. Some of these make money in the short term; especially when you combine them with FB ads and you have the money to scale.

However, the approach is flawed for a basic, basic reason.

Acquiring a new customer is the most expensive thing you can do.

It’s much cheaper and time-efficient to retain customers. This doesn’t mean “have all of your products be recurring charges” although that helps.

It means that you give people an incentive to come back. The cheapest and easiest way to do that is to create a community around your store.

This can be a literal community: Many companies open up actual physical locations eventually. But it can be something as simple as a Facebook group or even a comments section on your blog.

All you have to do is encourage your customers to talk to each other as well as you.

Ironically, to look at the best examples of this, look at non-tech-savvy people’s businesses. You can look at pub Facebook groups or reading groups for bored housewives and see exactly what I’m talking about. Tons of members spend ages talking to each other on a platform which you could own.

All it takes is a little encouragement.

Final Thoughts

Alright. These have been some quick thoughts and it’s all pretty high level stuff on a scale of things. (No actual tactics, but a lot of strategy.)

That said the twenty minutes is up. Hopefully you’ve found these ideas useful. The idea behind this is to create a working and evolving asset that’ll change, grow and make it easier for you to get and retain customers over long periods. It’ll also help you build a business that’s more than just a Shopify template and some cheap Chinese products.