It's tough running an Ecommerce store these days.
Whatever you're selling, the chances are you're up against some pretty stiff competition. It can feel like you're a little mom and pop shop trying to compete against the 900 pound ecommerce gorillas like Amazon.
And if you want traffic then that means getting backlinks and you don't need me to tell you that getting links to product pages is a tough ask. So, you'll be pleased to know that there is a proven and predictable way to build backlinks, build authority and increase traffic to your website.
Best of all – it's 100% legitimate and Google will love you.
It's called Ecommerce Content Marketing and it involves a six step sequence of actions you're about to discover.
Here's what'll happen when you implement this for your business:
- You'll create Authority Content that attracts backlinks and social shares like a magnet
- You'll become recognized as an Authority in your field
- You'll develop relationships with people who matter – Industry Influencers
- You'll create a strategy that will deliver results for you day in day out for years to come
Does that sound like something you'd like? I thought so.
Here's how you do it…
1. Buyer personas
Step one is to create a 'Buyer Persona'. The chances are that you already have a picture in your mind of who they are. You need to know where they live, their income, their job, their desires and their needs – everything that describes them.
Sure, it's not going to be 100% accurate for absolutely everyone who buys from you. The point is that it is an ideal. These are the people who you will be creating content for.
2. Identify influencers
You can create the world's most epic content and it won't count for anything unless it gets eyeballs on it. Sure you can plug away at it for months or even years and slowly build up a following.
But there's a faster way than that.
It involves identifying influencers in your niche who are going to help you with the heavy lifting when it comes to promoting your content.
There are three important characteristics that your Influencers possess:
- A blog with an engaged audience of subscribers
- An active social media presence with thousands of followers
- They operate in a non-competitive niche that has a similar target audience to you
There are some great outreach tools that you can use to identify them and initially you need to build a list.
Once you have your list you need to start an outreach campaign. That could start with following them on social media, subscribing to their blog, commenting on their blogs, interacting with their audience, promoting them where possible.
Over time, as you get better at creating content and your authority grows so will your confidence grow and you can probably get away with a more direct approach.
3. Content for traffic
Before we look at content, let's just establish the facts.
Google went nuclear on 'thin' websites with little content and questionable linking profiles starting back in 2012. The bottom line in this brave new world is that if you want a good ranking then you need backlinks from reputable, high quality, authority sites. And believe me, these are not given away lightly – they need to be earned.
But fortunately there are several types of content that are proven to get you more backlinks and more social shares.
Here they are:
Authority Guides. We're talking Definitive Guides, Ultimate Guides and anything that clearly states that you are an Authority on a particular subject. Anywhere between five to twenty thousand words in length they take time to pull together but will position you as a leader in your field.
List Based Content. People love lists whether it's top 20 mistakes or 10 best things to do, places to go etc… This type of content is easy to create, fun to read and is extremely shareable.
Expert Roundups. Rather than creating the content yourself, let your Influencers create it. Pick a topic, choose a question or ask for an opinion and mail it out to them. This way you get great content and you'll get their buy in when it comes to promoting it on social media.
Awards. Everyone loves an award and your Influencers are no different. Create different categories and different awards so that everyone wins a prize. Create a graphic for them to use on their website with the title of the award and watch the links flow in.
Side by Side Comparisons. What's best – iPhone or Android? WordPress or Joomla or Drupal? People love comparisons and you can act as an impartial umpire helping people make an informed decision.
Infographics. OK, they have been done to death, but there is still a place for a well created Infographic that makes a point. Avoid the temptation to cram it full of facts. Just have one argument supported by up to a dozen points.
4. Conversion content
Don't think that content can only be used to get more traffic. There are proven types of content that work hard at the business end of the funnel – when you have an engaged visitor on your product pages.
Here they are:
Buyer's Guides. Your Prospects are time poor and they just don't have the time to evaluate all of the options. A well written Buyer's Guide puts you in the driving seat by acting as an impartial adviser to them. Just think of all of the sales calls you've had or all of the information on your hard drive or in your outbox. It's all there – you just need to pull it altogether in one handy place. They'll love you for it.
How To Guides. What problem are your audience trying to solve? Think back to your Buyer Persona and you should be able to identify their needs or their desires and create some high quality 'How To' type content. This type of content adapts perfectly with video, written or graphic media. If you are scratching your head with content then this is as good a place as any to start.
Product Videos. Bring your products to life with product videos and you'll experience a massive uplift in conversions. Stuck on where to start? Just jump on the unboxing phenomenon.
Case Studies. Case Studies are a proven and favourite conversion tool. Crafted by you to present how a particular customer addressed a particular need, a well written Case Study is spoken with the genuine voice of your customer and offers powerful social proof that you can deliver on your promises.
5. Content repurposing and optimization
Once you've created the content don't think you're home and hosed. You've broken the back of it, but you need to turn your attention to repurposing and optimizing it.
When it comes to repurposing you need to be aware that the most popular content has a strong visual element to it. The reason is that people (especially your Influencers) will prefer to share attractive, well presented content. The facts back this up when you consider that up to 87% of content on Facebook contains images. Also people prefer to consume content in different ways, so repurposing allows you to reach different audiences with the same content.
So you have a variety of ways you can repurpose your content. Here are some of the headlines:
- Slides – Slideshare is massive. Think of it as YouTube for slides
- PDF – Some people are pdf addicts so feed their need!
- Video – Just written a Definitive Guide? Why not condense the main findings into a video. Not comfortable on camera? No problem – just do a screen capture video using the slides you've just created (see above)
- Audio – Video hasn't killed the audio star. Why? Well not everyone loves video and audio is ludicrousy easy to create
In terms of optimization, your content needs to be optimised with as much care as if it were your home page. So that means Keywords, Headlines, metatags (title and description), Headings (H1, H2, H3), keyword rich URLs, Optimised images, internal links to product pages, external links to Influencer pages, social sharing buttons, mobile friendly checks. These are all important points.
6. Content distribution
Great content – tick.
Great visuals – tick.
Optimised content – tick.
You're almost ready to go. Now the important part – distributing your content.
If you've done the upfront work to build relationships with your Influencers then this is going to be easy.
First up, you need to give your own audience a heads up. Email your subscriber list (you are building a subscriber list aren't you?) and notify them via your social media channels.
Give your Influencers a heads up too. Email them with the link, tell them where you've included them and ask them to share and comment on it. Don't be shy to ask – most people are more than happy to promote content that features them, especially if it looks fantastic.
But don't just leave it there. Put it in the diary and keep promoting it weeks or months into the future. Make use of scheduling tools to automate it on social media as much as you can. The point is to keep it in front of your audience – don't just think it's a one-off.
It's tough out there. If you run an Ecommerce store then you live or die by traffic. That means you need links, but these are not easy to come by.
One proven way to get backlinks and social shares from authority sites is to create content using proven formats.
Content also works really well to convert browsers into buyers.
But don't think you have to do it on your own. Identify industry Influencers to help spread the word.
So what types of content do you prefer? Are you using any of these types of content already? Share your experience of what works best for you.
Guest Author: Tony Messer is the Co-founder of web hosting company Pickaweb. He is an entrepreneur, innovator & totally focused on helping small businesses succeed online.
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6 Surprisingly Simple Ecommerce Content Marketing Tips