If you’ve never created an eCommerce store, you may think that getting the store up and running is the hardest part of launching an eCommerce business. However, in my experience, that’s almost always the easiest part of running an eCommerce store.
Managing day-to-day operations (such as order fulfillment and marketing) tend to be far more difficult than launching your store. Once you have this great shop with an awesome, unique product catalog up and running, how to you get people to your store? How can you make sure that your ideal customer finds your products?
We’ve written a bit about affiliate marketing in this post and in this post, which is one method you can take. However, WordPress is built for another kind of marketing: content marketing.
Today’s post is going to discuss your eCommerce contact marketing strategy while selling with WordPress.
So before we discuss tips, let’s back up for a second: Why worry about eCommerce content marketing? Maintaining a blog for your site is an excellent way to drive organic search traffic to your site, but this isn’t the only reason to use one. Yes, it provides more indexible content about your products or niche, which increases the chance that your site will be found. However, you should pay attention to the other benefits of running a blog.
First, it establishes your authority. For example, let’s say that I sell mountain bikes and bike parts. If I write about fixing people’s bicycles, biking trips I’ve taken, and compare different bike models or tires to one another, I’ve established that I’m an authority on my products. This drastically increases consumer trust and makes them more likely to purchase from you – this overcomes their purchasing objections.
Blogging also gives you a chance to create a brand identity and gives your business a voice. People relate to other people, not clothing items or bicycles. We also trust other people. If your customers can identify with you and your brand, as well as get to know the people behind your products, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you and remain loyal to your store.
Creating an eCommerce blog with WordPress is really easy when compared with other eCommerce platforms, and regardless of which eCommerce plugin you choose, you can create a blog for your store. Here are some helpful tips for launching or maintaining your own blog to lead your eCommerce content marketing strategy.
While we’re creating this blog to promote your products, that’s going to be a fortunate side effect of the blog, not the focus. The main goal of your blog should be to help your customers. Help them find information they’re searching for. Help them solve problems related to your product niche. Help them make informed purchasing decisions. These tips from Hubspot also give this advice – teach or help your customers.
This is one of the major ways to build trust with customers and to start to build a relationship with them. When they’re ready to purchase your product, they’ll come to you directly rather than shopping around. Why? Because they like you. They feel like they know you and have a relationship, and that can be more important and is certainly more lasting than focusing on price.
Going back to my bike example above – what problems would avid cyclists have? Perhaps they’d want to know how to fix a broken brake or swap out their seat for a better one? These are things you should write about and provide guidance on. You can obviously suggest your own products to fix the issue, but these are problems your customers are looking to solve, and you serve them the tools to do so, including both your products and expertise, on a silver platter.
What does your ideal customer love? What does she hate? If you can find these things out or guess at them and start writing, you gain the ability to empathize with your customers. Take The Oatmeal as an example: the content is shared widely and the site gets over 7 million visitors per month. One of the keys to The Oatmeal’s success is empathy – writing about what people love to hate.
This tends to help get your content shared, which is another great way to grow your audience and list of potential customers. You can make sharing even easier by using the Jetpack or Digg Digg plugins to add sharing buttons to posts.
While we don’t want our products to be the sole focus of our blog, that doesn’t mean that we want to hide them! You should focus on solving your customers problems, answering their questions, or sharing interesting information in your blog. However, if your products are related to your posts, you should include them in the content or where appropriate.
Several eCommerce platforms allow you to easy add products into your content via shortcode. Here are some ways you can do so:
- WooCommerce: Use
[product sku="wp-tee"]to insert a single product (image and “Add to Cart button”) into a post. You can also use
[add_to_cart id="" quantity=""]to just include the price and “Add to Cart” button for a product if you’ve already got the name / images covered.
- Easy Digital Downloads: You can use the
[downloads id="100"]shortcode to add a download product to a page (which accepts several parameters), or you can use the
[purchase_link id="100" text="Add to Cart" style="button"]shortcode to only display a purchase button for a particular download (no image / name).
- WP eCommerce: You can use
[wpsc_products product_id='100']to display a single product’s information,
[buy_now_button product_id='100']to display a PayPal “Buy Now” button for the product, or
[add_to_cart=100]to display an “add to cart” button for the product.
- Shopp: The
[catalog-buynow id='100']shortcode will add product information with a “Buy Now” button, while
[catalog-product id='100']will display product information.
- Jigoshop: The
[product sku="wp-tee"]shortcodes will insert a single product with image and button, and the
[add_to_cart id=""]shortcode will only display the price and “Add to Cart” button for a product.
- WP eStore: The
[wp_eStore_add_to_cart id=100]shortcode will display an “Add to Cart” button for the product, while the
[wp_eStore_buy_now_button id=100]shortcode will create a “Buy Now” button to send customers directly to payment for the product.
- Cart 66: Using
[add_to_cart item="100"]will create an add to cart button for the particular product.
Writing about your customers or featuring case studies is a great way to help potential customers visualize what it’s like to use your products. Do you sell running sneakers? Get a brief story about a customer who ran a 5k, marathon, etc in a pair of shoes they bought from you. Write about what they liked and disliked about the product.
Do you sell services? Even better. Write about how you were able to help a client achieve their goals by using your service.
Again, people relate to other people. Even featuring images of customers using your products is great. This lets potential customers learn more about you, see that others are using your products or services (leveraging social proof), and get to know you or interact with your brand.
This also lets you target some long tail keywords, as the quotes you get from customers on in the comments may help target search phrases you don’t typically focus on.
Does the culture around your products lend itself to using a certain “lingo” or slang? Use it. If it’s something newcomers may not know, you can definitely help them out by including explanations at the end or linking to definitions, but this shows that you’re in tune with the people that are using your products and makes you more relatable as a business. Using the language that mirrors your customers humanizes your store.
This also helps with your search traffic. If your ideal customer would phrase a search query a certain way or using a phrase related to your products, then including it in your writing will help you beat out the competition for these searches. For example, let’s say that I sell sporting equipment. As a softball player and coach, I frequently needed a piece of equipment that looked something like this:
Most manufacturers called these batting nets Portable batting nets or collapsible batting nets when they first came out. However, every player and coach referred to them as “Pop-up nets” (which is what everyone calls them now). If I were creating an eCommerce blog and writing about “pop up nets” rather than “portable batting screens”, I’d already be ahead of my competition because I’m familiar with how my ideal customers refers to my products and I’m more likely to show up when they search for these items.
Creating a blog should be at the core of an eCommerce content marketing strategy, as it leads to great traffic for your site, builds trust and authority, and lets customers relate to you and your store. While it may be intimidating to start a blog or to start writing, remember that you don’t have to do this every day. Start with 1-2 posts per week, and commit to writing about your niche. You could also hire this work out after specifying some writing guidelines.
The SEO and conversion benefits of having a blog make it well worth the time invested for any eCommerce site, and building your site with WordPress makes it super easy to start blogging.
- Here’s a list of good eCommerce blogs from which I’d recommend drawing inspiration.
- Looking for blogging ideas? Here are some great tips on getting inspiration for your eCommerce content marketing.
- The Sherwood Group has some great tips for starting a new blog.