There are as many as 24 million active sites right now. If you’re making more than $1,000 per month, you’re ahead of around 95% of them. And even in the top 5%, there’s nearly infinite room for growth.
With content marketing, you could theoretically take your ecommerce brand from $1,000 to $100,000 per month (or more) just by implementing the right strategies.
In this article, we’ll break down ten tried-and-true ecommerce content marketing strategies.
How is Ecommerce Content Marketing Different?
Ecommerce itself is defined by convenience and speed, with a focus on product-based searches.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is based on organic discovery and building relationships with your audience through valuable content.
Put simply, ecommerce content marketing requires carefully thought-out strategies that nurture customers long-term, but also elicit the immediate responses necessary for an online sale.
DTC sales cycles are much shorter.
B2B content is primarily designed to build long-term relationships (most B2B buyers aren’t ready to buy right away). The same goes for a lot of B2C content. When someone can make three clicks and have your product on the way, your content has to elicit a physical or emotional reaction much quicker.
They also include several sales channels.
You might pull your customers from:
- your website
- your personal social media profiles
- someone else’s website
- someone else’s social media page
You have to be consistent (and active) across multiple channels to succeed with content marketing as an ecommerce business.
Ecommerce content emphasizes visual content.
Videos, images, and large, short-form accompanying copy drive ecom product sales. With a long-form blog post, you might have to work harder to get users to click through and make a purchase.
The customer journey might start on Amazon, not Google.
Google is really important for ecommerce marketers, but it isn’t the only channel to consider. Amazon is the largest ecommerce search engine, and it plays a huge role in how ecommerce shoppers research pricing, compare products, and ultimately make buying decisions.
Influencer endorsement is a lot more valuable.
Successful brands use influencers and experts (particularly in video content) to drive sales and brand awareness and establish authority. Influencers can range from established celebrities to niche TikTokers and affiliates.
Traditional SEO and text-based marketing is sometimes overlooked.
Plenty of people are looking for more context from blogs. But a lot of brands don’t offer it. There’s a huge opportunity for ecom brands to publish educational articles and other product-led blogs. These blog posts can rank for long-tail keywords (like “best organic pet food”), and they add more depth to a brand.
Why Ecommerce Businesses Need Content Marketing
If you were to open a brick-and-mortar shop, your biggest investment might be in your location. You’d pay extra to be somewhere accessible, near other stores, and with lots of foot traffic.
But… The internet is vast. There are an estimated 24 million active ecommerce stores around the world right now. That’s a lot more competition than the two pieces of real estate next to you.
Basically, you don’t get lucky with ecommerce sales. Nobody’s finding your product accidentally. You either have an audience, or you don’t.
Everyone making it in the ecommerce game does so by creating content.
Types of Ecommerce Content
When it comes to your content marketing efforts, you have five main goals:
- Create awareness
We could write a whole textbook on this stuff. The first thing you’ll want to focus on is the content that drives people to your ecommerce site.
How-to’s are perfect if you sell a product that’s confusing, new to the market, or has value that isn’t immediately obvious.
Depending on the nature of your product (and how you choose to market it), how-to content belongs in a few different places:
- Your home page (or specific product landing page)
- The product page with the purchase funnel
- Your blog (for more complicated products that require a lot of explanation)
- Your YouTube/social media accounts
Ring Doorbell is a perfect example of a product that makes interested customers wonder, “How on Earth does this thing work, and is it really worth it?”
That’s why the brand includes a how-it-works video on its homepage.
The video starts immediately upon scrolling to it. And it shows how the mobile interface can be used to keep tabs on your home.
The brand also includes how-it-works content for specific product features, shown above.
Some people land right on the product page, where they’re met with a comparatively high price. They definitely want more info before dropping $2,700.
On the first scroll, there’s another video, which details how to use the Ring Doorbell (a.k.a. how easy and innovative it is).
For those who Google a question like, “How does Ring Doorbell work?” Ring shows up first with a helpful video on its YouTube channel.
Your product is not the Ring Doorbell. But, they aren’t the only ones doing this. Every solid content marketing strategy involves how-to content at some point.
Buyer’s guides and product roundups help customers shop for a particular reason or choose the best product for their specific needs.
They’re good for SEO (more on that later), but how do they fit into your ecommerce content marketing plan?
First, it depends what you sell.
If you have a lot of products (and a lot of competition), it helps to create an entire section devoted to comparing your products against others.
Major retailers like Best Buy have been using buyer’s guides for decades to help customers make big decisions on infrequent purchases.
Clothing retailers like Nordstrom come out with seasonal ones targeting different customer segments.
If you sell a product that has a lot of competition or requires a bit more thought (like expensive electronics), buyer’s guides are an essential part of your content strategy.
Product Roundups and Comparisons
Product roundups are similar to buyer’s guides in the sense that they help your customers decide which product is right for them.
The difference here is that the focus isn’t exclusively on your product. Instead, you compare a few products (including your own) and make recommendations based on specific criteria.
- “Best Running Shoes for People with Knee Pain”
- “Top 5 Skincare Brands for Sensitive Skin”
- “Best Dog Food for Older Pets”
These work especially well if:
- You sell a product that has a lot of competition
- Your target customer is someone who does extensive research before buying
- You’re selling in a space where people are very sensitive to the situation (e.g., people really care about their pets)
- You sell products that cater to specific needs or preferences (like skincare for sensitive skin)
If you’re selling an individual product online (like a Ring Doorbell), take these opportunities to highlight the benefits of your product first.
You can then include other products that might be a better fit for some people, but not all.
This helps you to establish authority within your niche and show potential customers you’re knowledgeable and trustworthy.
For larger retailers selling multiple ecommerce brands, the goal is to sell everything. There’s no real competition between individual items. So, it’s better to just highlight the niche benefits of each product rather than oversell the benefits of a ~number one~ product.
Your product pages are unique in that they’ll serve two purposes:
- To educate your shopper
- To facilitate a purchase
We’ve gone on and on about ecommerce product page optimization in another article, but here’s the gist:
- Show your product in action with a healthy mix of photos and videos.
- Link to FAQs and customer reviews, which belong further down the page.
- Highlight the features and benefits. If branding is important, focus on that in your copy.
- Make your product configurator/purchase CTA obvious (i.e., large and a different color) and easy to use.
- Show customers what other items are frequently bought together or instead.
UGC is Social Media Marketing 101. If you aren’t using it already, you’re years behind other ecommerce sites.
Everyone’s married to their phones. And they can’t get off social media. If they’re buying your product(s), they’re definitely posting them.
Why not leverage their audiences? Even if it’s ten people watching, it’s better than none (and might cost you nothing).
Use relevant hashtags within your niche. Take advantage of Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest personalized shopping features.
Make the most of user-generated content for your ecommerce content marketing strategy:
- Show your products in use on social media
- Use UGC to provide social proof (i.e., people are buying this product and loving it)
- Share reviews, photos, and videos on your site and social media channels
- Embed user-generated content into product pages to show how people are using it in real life
Here’s an example of how Lush shouts out its customers who post about their products:
Who doesn’t want to get reposted on the Lush IG story?! Including your audience and making them feel good about the products they’re buying guarantees they’ll buy more (and others will, too).
GoPro does a really good job of this, too. Simply by selling the product and looking through who tags @GoPro on their photos, they’re able to help others build their brand while getting more content for their own social media posts.
Now, GoPro is more uniquely positioned than most ecommerce websites to use UGC. Their product literally helps loyal customers create it.
But any brand can learn from them. Soliciting UGC across social media platforms is really simple.
- Host contests for best photos and videos.
- Encourage customers to use hashtags when they post their product.
- Share user-generated images on your website and social media channels (and tag the original poster if you can).
- Partner with influencers and micro-influencers who create content on relevant products.
- Start a creative campaign that encourages others to post about you (e.g., the “Share a Coke” campaign).
- Lead by example by posting content of users you come across (e.g., at a major event like a music festival).
Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategies
Everyone’s strategy will be different. There’s no magic bullet for an ecommerce content strategy. That all depends on your target audience (and product, of course).
That’s a good thing, though. You want the ability to differentiate your ecommerce store from others. That’s where brand loyalty comes from.
Here are general areas you’ll want to consider:
This is probably the most important consideration for your content strategy. The average attention span is 8.25 seconds. You 100% need visual content, or you’ll bore shoppers to death.
Infographics are a good place to start. You can use them in your buying guides, comparison content, and on your product pages. They help you to convey A LOT of information quickly.
They’re perfect for:
- product features
- comparing product options
- comparing competing products
- highlighting use cases
- helping buyers qualify themselves
Plus, they’re scannable. That means your buyers can either make a purchase or move on (which is what they want).
Look at your product images next. A standard one is fine, but you’ll definitely want:
- Zoom feature (so they can see the product in detail)
- 360-degree view
- lifestyle photo showing the product in use
- multiple images of the same product from different angles
- what the product looks like in its packaging
Showing your product in action helps buyers visualize themselves using it.
Video is king. 91% of consumers want more online video content from brands they shop with. And, since you can’t engage your customers face-to-face, it’s the best way to connect with them.
- Create product demos
- Share customer testimonials
- Show your products being made (if you’re a crafter)
- Demonstrate how to use it or how certain features work
- Let randoms on the street test it out
- Leverage UGC
Plus, you don’t need a huge budget to do it right. Some of the most successful video marketing campaigns were filmed on an iPhone.
More than two-thirds of consumers trust influencers, friends, and family over information coming directly from your ecommerce brand.
Finding someone super famous to rep your brand may not be the best option for you. For one, it’s expensive and two, their audience may not even match up with what you’re selling.
So, the best way to run strategic partnerships is to work with micro-influencers, which have around 91% of the market share.
These are the people with smaller, but more engaged audiences. They’ll probably convert more than larger influencers, anyway.
You could also work with other companies, which would allow you to tap into their audience.
These could be:
- nonprofit organizations
- other ecommerce stores that complement your products (i.e., if you sell camping gear, partner with a brand that sells outdoor clothing)
- bloggers who focus on reviewing products in your niche
- major retail partners
- seemingly different brands with an overlapping target audience
Clickable content is an amazing way to keep visitors on your site longer. For ecommerce websites, this includes:
- Price calculators
- “Find the Right Product” questionnaires
- Quizzes to test your audience’s knowledge about something important
- Lookbooks and style guides
- Design-your-own product tools
- Live chat (which would require its own strategy)
Each of these helps your customers feel like they’re engaging with real people, rather than giving them a sales pitch.
Plus, the longer someone stays on your site, the more likely they are to buy.
You can attack off-page content from several different angles. This is where you can start thinking about search engine optimization, but also cross-promotion.
Affiliate marketing is the best place to start. If you don’t have an affiliate program already, you should set one up (and promote it).
That way, anyone who wants to sell for you can.
You can also write guest posts, which you can use to build links to your own content. This is beneficial for boosting your search engine rankings.
And, you can list your products on third-party sites like Amazon, which will net you some more sales. For ecommerce brands with an amazon presence, nearly half say it’s responsible for more than 50% of their total sales. So, it’s definitely worth exploring (unless, of course, you think it affects your branding).
Your Own Content
As an ecom founder, your personal brand will offer you untold benefits in terms of future partnerships, additional sales/brand awareness, and simply putting a face to the name.
Take Oliver, founder of Tabs. It’s an ecommerce company selling aphrodisiac chocolate squares.
Aside from garnering new prospective customers and engaging existing ones through his content, he’s also growing a completely different kind of audience. By building his company in public, he’s creating an online community.
These are the people who will:
- research and buy his product because they feel like they’re a part of the journey.
- read customer success stories and convert off a tweet/post
- want to be a vendor or stockist at better margins.
- want to be affiliates.
- pay Tabs to promote their software he uses to run his business (as an affiliate).
It isn’t an absolute ‘must’. It’s more like the icing on the cake.
Most Impactful Strategy: SEO
46% of retail customers start with a Google Search. You need to be at the top of search engines if you want to succeed.
Search engine optimization seems confusing at first. But the reality is, if you’ve already got a solid product, you’re prioritizing the customer experience, and you’re creating content that resonates with customers, you’re more than halfway there.
SEO is what helps you garner all the traffic you could from all your other marketing activities (plus, obviously, a lot extra from new keywords).
In terms of content, your next step is content optimization, which is a whole other side of SEO content marketing.
You need to know:
- How to do keyword research
- Which keywords you rank for (and which ones you want to improve)
- Where to put your keywords
- When and how often to update your old content
- 100+ other things
Realistically, it’s better to hire an agency to help with that. You’re better off focusing on growing your brand and maintaining consistency across all your marketing channels. We can handle all the technical stuff.