If you run a Shopify store, content marketing can be a great way to generate more traffic and ultimately more sales.
However, developing a successful content marketing campaign for an e-commerce business isn’t easy.
In fact, if you’ve never had any experience with content marketing, you probably don’t even know where to start.
If that sounds like you, it’s okay.
In this post, we’re going to explore exactly what it takes to create a content marketing plan that you can use to successfully promote your Shopify store.
We’ll cover some of the basic principles as well as some of the advanced tactics you should consider using.
By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly how content marketing works, and how you can use it to generate significant traffic and sales for your Shopify store.
Understanding Your Audience
Similar to any other marketing channel, Content marketing works best when you know who you’re trying to reach.
So outlining the audience you want to target should be your first task.
Once you do that successfully, your content marketing will do a better job at attracting the kinds of people that will spend money with your store.
This, of course, makes it more likely that you’ll generate a return from your content marketing efforts.
The easiest way to understand your target market is by creating something known as a ‘Buyer Persona.’
A Buyer Persona is essentially a character that represents your ideal customer/audience.
At the bare minimum, you should think about describing the following, when crafting your Buyer Persona –
- Age and gender
- Buying Motivation/Goals
- Common objections/concerns
- How they get their information
- Who influences them
- What would make them want to make a purchase from your store
- What would stop them making a purchase from your store
- Competitors they might otherwise buy from
Here’s an example of a buyer persona –
The above example is a good starting point and provides insight into how a Buyer Persona should be created, and the level of detail you need to go into.
Mapping Your Content With Your Buyer’s Journey
Once you know who your target audience is, the next thing you need to think about is the kind of content you’re going to be creating for them.
The best way to figure that out is by paying attention to something known as the Buyer’s Journey.
The Buyer’s Journey is the sequence of events that will take place before someone purchases something from your Shopify store.
In general, there are three stages to the Buyer’s Journey –
Here’s a great overview of the whole thing –
- During the ‘Awareness stage,’ people know that they have a problem. However, they don’t know exactly what that problem is, so they’re looking for solutions, trying to gain some clarity on what’s wrong.
- During the ‘Consideration stage,’ people have discovered what their need and a bunch of available options. Now they’re in the process of evaluating the specific solutions that can be used to solve their problem.
- During the ‘Decision stage,’ people have a good sense of the solution they can make use of in order to solve their problem. All that’s left for them to do now, is to decide which one is best for them.
- During the “loyalty” stage, the person has become your customer. Now, it is your job to drive them back to your Shopify store. Once they start buying repeatedly from the store, they become loyal to your brand.
You can use each of these stages within the Buyer’s Journey to help you work out what kind of content you should be creating.
Let’s suppose that you sell fitness and wellness clothing and accessories in your Shopify store.
During the Awareness stage, your target audience will be more interested in learning about the usage of fitness and wellness clothing and accessories.
As a result, they may type the following keywords into Google –
- How does fitness band work?
- How to choose the right workout clothes?
After doing some research they might find improving the grass is the best way to improve the appearance of their garden.
In the Consideration stage, they’ll type in things such as –
- Top fitness band brands
- Top fitness clothing brands
Upon doing so, they’ll have found some options for fitness bands and clothing brands.
The next step, therefore, involves them comparing the different solutions and also overcoming some concerns that they might have about the varying solutions.
So in the Decision stage, they might type in keywords such as –
- Benefits of Brand-A
- Benefits of Brand-B
- Cost/price of Brand-A
- Cost/price of Brand-B
After this stage, they become your customer. After this step, the content you create is for the Loyalty stage.
The goal of content is to bring them back to your store and make repeat purchases.
One thing to note here is:
The content you create is more outbound in nature. That means – your audience may not be actively looking for this content. It is your job to make sure the content you create in this stage reaches your audience.
As you can see, each stage deals with a different ‘angle’ of content.
If you want your content marketing plan to be thorough, it is important that you create content for all four stages.
Failure to do so would mean that you’re ignoring large segments of your target market that have the potential to become customers.
Selecting the right content format
Content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint.
You’ll generally need to put out quite a bit of content before you begin to see some real results.
Because of this, it is important you pick a content format that you’re comfortable creating a lot of.
For the most part, there are three main content marketing formats you can use for your Shopify store:
- Text (blog posts/guides)
- Images (Infographics/Images)
You need to pick the format that is right for you.
And, there is no framework or silver bullet to finding out. The only way you can find the right format is by implementing & testing.
If you ignore this advice and pick a content format you’re not comfortable working with, it’s going to end up in you being absolutely miserable and potentially even abandoning your content marketing plan.
The two angles you can use for eCommerce content marketing.
When it comes to content marketing for a Shopify or an eCommerce store, there are two angles that you can adopt.
1) Educational Content
Educational content relates to such as ‘how-to videos’ or ‘guides.’
This kind of content is generally designed to teach people how to achieve a certain goal.
The purpose of educational content is to build some goodwill with an audience and to get them interested in your brand, in the hopes that they’ll eventually turn into a ‘lead.’
Here’s an example of educational content from the smartphone and tech brand ‘Xiaomi’:
2) Product focused content
Product focused content as the name suggests is the content that relates heavily to your products.
For a Shopify store clothes fitness clothing and accessories, posting photos of your clothing on Instagram might count as ‘product-focused’ content marketing.
Here’s an example of product-focused content from one of the Shopify stores – Pumpwear.
A blog post that discusses a customer case study, could also be considered as product-focused content.
Even a video testimonial, could count as product-focused content.
Note: Product focused content is often used to convince people in the ‘Consideration’ and ‘Decision’ stage, letting them know that your product is worth investing in.
Educational content helps establish an audience and product-focused content helps promote your products, to your established audience.
How to create content that converts
When starting, creating blog content is the path that most Shopify store owners go down.
You can either write the blog posts on your own, or you can hire a writer to help you get the task done.
However, If you’re just starting out and you’re on a budget, however, you may just want to write the content yourself.
After all, it’s not worth hiring a writer on the cheap, as you’ll often get what you pay for when it comes to working with a writer.
It may be the case that you want to write the blog posts yourself – but you’re nervous because you don’t consider yourself to be a writer.
If that’s the case, don’t worry.
The only thing you need to focus on is – make sure your content is conversational, educational and easy to read.
As long as you do that, people will generally be quite forgiving if there is an odd grammar mistake here or there.
You can always make use of tools such as Hemingway App or Grammarly, to double-check that your writing is up to standard.
Another thing, you would want to keep in mind when starting with content writing is the ‘Skyscraper technique.’
The Skyscraper technique is based on the idea that you find existing pieces of popular content around a certain topic and then create something that is ‘10x better.’
Let’s explore this concept, using the earlier example of an eCommerce store that is selling fitness clothing and accessories.
Suppose you want to write a blog post on ‘how fitness clothing improves your performance.’
What you need to do first is to identify the top pieces of existing content based on this topic. One way you can do this is by searching Google.
If I type in ‘how fitness clothing improves your performance’ into Google, I’m presented with the following results.
You now need to review all of the content on the first page of Google for this keyword and assess the key points that are being covered, as well as what is missing. You can:
- Figure out what is missing, by reviewing the comments people leave for these pieces of content.
- Also, take a look at what is present in one piece of content, but is missing in another.
The ‘autocomplete’ function provided by Google is another way to find out what people look for when searching for how fitness clothing improves your performance.
If you want to create a comprehensive piece of content, you should pay attention to these suggestions.
For instance, as shown above, one thing people are interested in is how fitness clothing improves health/mental health/body composition.
You should, therefore, cover these points when writing the piece of content or you can have a separate content piece on each idea.
In any case, once you identify existing pieces of relevant content that have done well, you then need to go about creating a better, definitive version.
So how can you do this?
Well, the most basic way you can do this is by creating something more ‘in-depth.’
So if other pieces of content are around 1500 words, you could instead create something that is 2500-3000 words.
Now, this might sound like a hard task to achieve.
But if you use the research approach shown above, you’ll end up with a lot of content that you can use for inspiration, making the task of creating long-form content, much easier.
You may also want to consider creating content that has more credibility. This means you backup all of your points with data and statistics (wherever possible).
How to optimize the content to improve search engine rankings
Content is the foundation for improving search engine rankings.
This is an important part of your overall content strategy. Still, a majority of the store owners fail to follow this.
The first step to optimizing your content for better search engine ranking is On-page SEO.
The On-Page elements you must focus on are:
- Page Title
- Page URL
- Meta Description
- Page Heading (H1 tag)
- H2 Tag
- H3/H4 Tags
- Alt Tags
To learn about On-page elements in detail, check out this Shopify On-page SEO guide.
If you are new to SEO, you may find implementing all these overwhelming. It requires you to have a basic understanding of on-page SEO elements.
The good news is – there are apps in the Shopify ecosystem to help you implementing On-page SEO.
Plug in SEO is one such app.
With this app taking care of your On-page SEO, you can rest assured that your On-page is in-sync with Google’s best practices.
No matter what angle you’re going to be taking with your content strategy, social media is going to be a crucial part of it.
Creating content specifically for social media should be in your content strategy.
You’ll want to pick just two social media platforms, to begin with, and the two ideal platforms are Facebook and Instagram ads can be a good source of organic traffic.
When you set up these ads properly, these platforms can help expand the reach of your content and brand, thereby increasing the potential ROI you can achieve from your content.
Content for Facebook
If you’re promoting video content on Facebook, there are two approaches that you can take.
The first is to promote video content.
Post a 30-second clip that is designed to get someone’s attention and entice them into watching the whole video.
For most people, it’s often better to post a 30-second clip than it is to post the whole video.
This is because a clip will increase the odds that the video is shared.
The other is to promote the text or image content.
Create an engaging copy that encourages your target audience to click and read your content.
Even if your content post has a great title, you’ll still want to come up with a custom headline that you can use on social media, which draws people in.
Here is a perfect example of using a custom headline or text to promote your content or products from my favorite brand Nike.
When writing your copy for social media, it’s important that you experiment with multiple variations.
Because different people are persuaded by different things.
Therefore, you should use create several forms of social media copy (each of which persuades in a different way), for one specific piece of content.
This helps to widen the number of people that will find your social media post engaging, thereby potentially increasing the number of people that will read your content or at the very least share it.
Content for Instagram
Instagram is a platform that is used primarily for image and video content.
If you want to promote your video content on Instagram, you can use the same 30-second clips you use for Facebook.
However, you can also post some interesting quotes or high-quality product images as well.
Posting quotes is a good way to increase your brand exposure. People are likely going to share these quotes, and some people will want to check out the origins of these quotes – your Instagram profile.
Whenever you are posting images related to your product, make sure you tell people that they should check out your bio, to find the product page that the post is referencing.
Here’s an example of how that can be done.
Content promotion to drive more traffic to your Shopify store
You put in a lot of time and effort into creating great content.
You push it live expecting to see a flood of traffic coming to your website only to get disappointed.
So much for build it and they will come, right?
The reason – Little to no promotion.
Yes, it’s important to produce great content – you also need to actively promote your content.
While helpful, passively posting your content to social media is only going to get you so far.
Without adequate promotion, your content won’t get the kind of exposure and the attention that it deserves.
On top of that, it can take a while before your content begins to gain traction.
One of the best ways to actively promote your content is social media – organic or paid.
It’s relatively easy to run an ad campaign on Facebook or Instagram. However, if you are just starting off, better to stick with organic promotion.
Because each platform has such a large user base, you’ll find and market to your target market, without having to break the bank.
Also, because Facebook owns Instagram, it’s relatively easy to transfer a successful campaign on Facebook, over to Instagram – and vice versa.
The other ways you can use to promote your content are:
- Influencer outreach
- Referral channels
- Repurposing content in newsletter or emails
Wrapping it up
There you go!
After almost over 2500 words, if you are still with me, a big thanks to you.
We’ve covered a lot in this post, so it’s okay if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed right now.
From creating a buyer persona to deciding on the kind of content you should create, to choosing the right tools to rank in the search engines as well as how you should promote your content – there’s a lot to digest.
The key thing is that you take action now and learn for yourself. If you do everything the right way, nothing is going to stop you from seeing the huge ROI from your content marketing.
If you ever have any doubts – just revisit this post.
Sure, you might make some mistakes, but that’s okay.
This article was originally published by our friends at PushOwl.