Content marketing reaches consumers throughout their buying journey, assisting merchants in making the first sale and developing loyal buyers afterward.
Content helps ecommerce sellers attract, engage, and retain customers
Consider organic search traffic, which is the lifeblood of many successful businesses. Ranking in the top 10 on a Google search engine results page for a product category or even a specific item is increasingly difficult, especially for smaller companies.
A product category such as “running shoes,” for example, has a keyword difficulty score of 95 — very hard to rank for — according to Semrush. The competition for the top search-result slots includes Nike, Amazon, Adidas, and The New York Times. All of these sites are likely to have much higher domain authority scores than a typical retail SMB.
Here is where content marketing comes in. An article about the “best running shoes for knee pain” would face significantly less search engine competition, as the phrase has a keyword difficulty score of just 49.
A running shoe shop could publish the article, giving honest, helpful advice about running shoe selection. The store’s marketing team could interview doctors or pay for a doctor’s consultation to get quotes. Finally, the article could link to the recommended shoes, potentially driving sales.
The authoritative article attracts new shoppers while boosting the site’s domain authority.
Take the same article and make a video for YouTube or a Reel for Instagram, and just like that, you are also fueling social media marketing.
Content marketing can attract shoppers.
It is not enough to attract shoppers; ecommerce merchants must engage them.
In the example running shoe and knee pain article described above, getting quotes and advice from a medical doctor can make the article more trustworthy and thus more helpful.
When she derives real value from an online store’s content, a shopper may engage with the content. Engagement might mean sharing a link to the article on social media, writing a review on Google Reviews, or — the best — subscribing to an email newsletter or agreeing to receive text notifications.
The goal of just about all ecommerce content marketers is to encourage newsletter or text message subscriptions.
Customers or prospects who agree to receive communications provide opportunities for engagement, including a sale.
Email newsletter and text notification engagement also leads to customer loyalty and retention.
When it publishes a helpful editorial newsletter each week, an online store is building a relationship with recipient customers. Each edition gives readers more reasons to like and trust the shop.
Since the newsletter content leads back to the store’s website, a frequent reader could become a regular customer.
Here is an experiment. Compare two cohorts of customers: those who subscribe to the newsletter and those who don’t. Which group buys the most products or services?
The odds are that folks on the email list spend the most. And getting more shoppers to the list is part of what content marketing does best.
Whether your company’s content marketing goals are focused on attracting shoppers with SEO, engaging them, or building a long-term relationship, you must develop a measurement framework.
Marketer Jay Baer of Convince & Convert emphasizes four metrics for measuring the impact of content marketing.
- Sales. Track which content — including email newsletters and text-based article notifications — leads to sales within an attribution window.
- Subscriptions. Monitor which articles and blog posts result in the most newsletter signups.
- Content consumption. Tally the bounce rate, page views, return visits, and video views to learn which content is the most used.
- Sharing. Know how often a given bit of content is shared and how that sharing impacts other metrics.
You will likely need to collect this data from several sources and gather it into a business intelligence tool.