When building a sustainable e-commerce business, many entrepreneurs turn to content marketing as a go-to tactic. It makes good sense from many perspectives, but if you look at the ROI factor, content marketing just makes sense. After all, in the long run, when you compare it to popular acquisition channels like advertising and influencer marketing, generating leads through content marketing often works out cheaper in the long run.
But that doesn’t mean it works for everybody. And definitely not instantly.
If you have given content marketing a try, but aren’t happy with the results, it’s likely because you are making mistakes that are costing you traffic, leads and sales.
So, to help you achieve success and maximum ROI on your content marketing efforts, I thought we’d take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make while running an ecommerce content marketing strategy – and the steps you can take to correct them.
1. You Aren’t Using the Right Keywords
Keyword research is more important than ever when it comes to content marketing, as recent studies have shown that traffic referrals from search engines are on the rise, compared to referrals from social.
Too many people do some research before creating SEO friendly content, but they don’t go into the specifics.
Writing SEO friendly content will help you get more traffic, but if you rank for the wrong keywords, you might still drive traffic, but these people will be far less likely to convert to customers. This is why, before choosing keywords to target, you need to truly understand your “high intent” audience – the people who are nearly ready to buy. You need to put yourself in their place and think about the types of keywords they would use to search for topics related to your product – and only optimize your content for these keywords.
For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce store that sells pet products, and one of your popular products is a dog collar. And through your research, you discover that the keyword “how to make a dog collar” has good search volume with limited competition.
Usually, if your aim is to drive any traffic from search engines, this would be a good idea to work on. But as you are running an ecommerce store where your target audience is people who will actually buy pet products, targeting a keyword that attracts people who are looking for an inexpensive way to make their own dog collar is probably a bad idea.
You can work on a post with a keyword like this later in your content marketing strategy, but when you’re trying to build momentum, it is better to target keywords that attract buyers.
A better keyword for you might be “best dog training collars,” as you can write a post like this one from The Spruce Pets and list some of the top products in your store and link out to them. People who search using keywords like this are usually looking for something to buy. So, focus on keywords that attract more buyers.
It’s also important to remember that there are some great ways to improve your content’s reach beyond search and social. Outbrain’s own network of publishers, for example, can provide you with access to more eyeballs than Google and Facebook.
2. You Aren’t Promoting Your Products Smartly
As mentioned above, it’s totally okay for you to promote your products in your posts. Many people are told that they shouldn’t sell products in the early stages of their blog, because they are building an audience. If posts appear too salesy, the naysayers insist, it can lead to less traffic and social media shares.
While shameless self-promotion that provides no value to the reader is a bad idea, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to promote your products well. Remember that not sharing your products at all in your posts can have a negative effect too, as you end up attracting the wrong type of audience – people who want free advice, but don’t want to spend any money.
This is why you shouldn’t shy away from selling your products in your content. This will help you attract more buyers. But of course, you shouldn’t go over the top and be extremely salesy by placing massive ads all over the blog. Add them in subtly with a link to your product only when you share something relevant.
A good example is this post on Best Winter Running Gear from Zappos, where they share information about running gear and link out to relevant products on their website. They also share photos of some of the products in the post.
3. You Aren’t Looking at Past Data
Your blog activity creates in a wealth of information. If you track this data, you can figure out what you got right and what you didn’t. So, use a good analytics tool to track important metrics, like conversion rate, bounce rate, cost per acquisition, etc. and compare this data against the industry average ecommerce statistics to see how well you are doing and if there is scope for improvement.
Most people focus on superficial blog stats like traffic and social media shares and forget to pay attention to more important stats that add to their bottom line.
You should also look at your competitors’ past data as you will then be able to gather a lot more information.
Make a list of your top ten competitors with the most successful content marketing strategies and analyze their blogs one by one to see who is powering through with the best results.
Also, take note of what is working for them and what isn’t so you can implement the good and discard the bad.
4. You Aren’t Nurturing Relationships via Email
The traffic your blog receives will be categorized into three types. As shown by this graphic from Digital Marketer, these are hot, cold and warm.
Hot traffic consists of people who want to buy your product immediately. But unfortunately, as shown in the diagram, these people make only a minor part of the traffic. Warm and cold traffic, which consists of people who don’t want to buy your products immediately but might do so in the future, make up the majority.
Most people don’t think about warm and cold traffic while setting up their ecommerce blogs. They only think about the hot traffic and place ads and links that cater to them. This is why they miss out on a lot of sales.
So, if you want to convert more of the warm and cold traffic, you need to capture their email addresses. This will give you a channel to keep in touch and eventually, when the time is right, promote your products. Once the leads are properly nurtured, and when your subscribers are ready to buy, they will do so from you instead of your competitors.
To capture these subscribers, I recommend that you place a few opt-in forms on your blog that ask people to sign up for your newsletter. To get the forms to convert better, you can try using a lead magnet and ask people to sign up in exchange for it.
5. You Aren’t Promoting Your Articles Effectively
When people published content 5 to 10 years ago, they didn’t need to spend a lot of time promoting it, as there wasn’t much competition. You just published the post and quickly got traffic from RSS feeds, search engines, forums, and social networks.
This was, mind you, before the idea that “every company is a media company” sunk into the zeitgeist.
But over the past few years, content marketing has become very competitive. Last month, over 70 million blog posts were published on WordPress.com-hosted sites alone.
This is why publishing quality search-engine-friendly content is no longer sufficient. You need to proactively promote content to gain traffic and beat out the competition.
So, have a strategy in place to promote every piece of content you publish. Nowadays, much of this activity takes place on paid media channels, as research from CMI demonstrates.
Then, share your articles on as many social networks as you can and conduct outreach to get influencers to share your posts too. Ask them to link to your posts as that can boost search engine rankings.
Content marketing isn’t as easy as it used to be. But it is still more affordable than other marketing strategies like paid advertisements and influencer marketing. So, don’t be discouraged by the setbacks you suffered early on in your ecommerce content marketing efforts.
Instead, follow the above tips, rectify your mistakes and improve your results. Also, don’t forget to be patient, as unlike other marketing methods, content marketing results can only really be seen with time.