Practical Ecommerce

6 Content Marketing Tactics for Ecommerce Merchants

Content marketing can describe many things — from short blog posts published on a company’s own site to long-form articles or even ebooks. It can encompass a video published on YouTube, a photograph shared on Instagram, or a meme.

There may be hundreds of tactics that you could consider content marketing. So the six content marketing tactics briefly described here are certainly not an exhaustive list. But this short list does, perhaps, represent some of the best, easiest to understand, and most common content marketing options for small and mid-sized ecommerce businesses.

Artful Product Descriptions

If one paints content marketing with a relatively broad brush, it can include one of the staples of the ecommerce industry: product descriptions.

Great, or perhaps artful, product descriptions not only describe the product to shoppers, but also create an emotional connection, leading to a sale. Consider two possible product descriptions for a simple drawer pull.

First, consider this product description from a big box retailer.

“Each of these Liberty 3 in. Stainless-Steel Bar Pulls (4-Pack) features a 1-3/8 in. projection. The pull is crafted with stainless steel to help ensure strength and features a 3 in. center-to-center mount design for easy installation. Comes with 8-32 x 1 in. machine screws.”

One, possibly more artful, alternative would be the following.

“These modern, even minimalist, bar-drawer pulls properly proclaim your sense of style by substance alone and not by unnecessary ornamentation or useless embellishments. Designed with an architect’s attention to detail, anyone could mount them in a moment. Your order will include four pulls, designed for drawers with guide holes 3 inches apart, and the screws to install them.”

An A/B test will determine which of these descriptions sell more.

Informative Product Videos

Closely related to product descriptions are product videos. Product videos take a bit more work to produce than written descriptions, but there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence implying that they can greatly increase sales and conversions.

As an example, Kissmetrics reported that “70 percent of the top search results listings” contain video and that shoppers exposed to a video are somewhere between 64 percent and 85 percent more likely to make a purchase. If Kissmetrics is off by half and product videos boosted conversion rates by just 32 percent, the videos would still be a great content marketing tool.

The Home Depot includes product-related videos on many of its product detail pages. The video seen in the example shows shoppers how to install the associated drawer pulls.

The Home Depot includes product-related videos on many of its product detail pages. The video seen in the example shows shoppers how to install the associated drawer pulls.

Useful Articles

Useful articles that help readers accomplish some task or solve a problem are, perhaps, the highest form of content marketing.

When your business can genuinely help a potential customer, you have gone a long way to earning that shopper’s business and loyalty.

As an example, REI has an article on its site that offers training tips and exercises for new runners preparing for a 10K or half marathon. The information in the article comes from the American Council on Exercise and is clearly meant to help the reader rather than just sell products.

Marketers can hardly produce enough useful content.

Useful content that helps the reader accomplish some task or meet some goal is really marketing at its best.

Useful content that helps the reader accomplish some task or meet some goal is really marketing at its best.

Good Video Content

I’ve already mentioned video in the context of products and product descriptions, but video need not end there.

A good video makes for very powerful content almost certain to attract, engage, and retain customers.

If you need proof, a retailer’s 31-minute beginners’ welding video, which was originally released in 2012, now has more than 800,000 views on YouTube.

Video content is a great way to attract, engage, and retain customers. Notice that this video on YouTube has been seen 800,000 times since 2012. How much would you pay for an ad that was shown to 800,000 potential customers?

Video content is a great way to attract, engage, and retain customers. Notice that this video on YouTube has been seen 800,000 times since 2012. How much would you pay for an ad that was shown to 800,000 potential customers?

Captivating Photography

Content marketers need look no further than a good Instagram account or Pinterest board to recognize that captivating photography can engage shoppers and encourage them to share on their own social media accounts.

The makers of Buffer, a social sharing app, reported in 2014 that visual content, such as captivating photography, is about 40 times as likely to be shared on social media than text, and visual content earns nearly double the views on social media sites as text based posts.

One could even say that images are in some way contagious. Get one user to catch it, and many more will see it and interact with it.

As a content tool, photography can be used with product descriptions, in lookbooks, in social media, or to augment articles.

You need look no further than Instagram to know that photographs can engage.

You need look no further than Instagram to know that photographs can engage.

Fun Contests, Polls, and Quizzes

Content can entertain. Entertainment attracts people. Content marketers can use contests, polls, and quizzes distributed on blog posts or various social media accounts to engage potential customers.

Contests, as an example, clearly give something to contestants, like the opportunity to win a prize. But contests are also a great way to add followers on Facebook, Twitter, or similar platforms; learn something about the folks entering your contests; and even get participants to share your content.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
Bio  |  RSS Feed


Get the Practical Ecommerce RSS feed

Comment ( 1 )

  1. Khawar Zaman January 28, 2016 Reply

    You nailed it Armando, there’s nothing I could agree more with. All the points you have mentioned seem so simple yet practical and effective. Individually, these might not seem much of a buzz, but when combined efficiently, this is all what you need to convert leads to customers.
    I mean it really makes sense. When you have:
    Artful product descriptions
    Helpful articles
    Quality photography
    Meaningful videos
    For me, videos have done the magic. They helped me get lots of relevant search traffic, people like sharing helpful videos a lot, they keep the site visitors engaged for much longer periods of time, bounce rate is slashed dramatically when you have meaningful videos loaded. My conversions skyrocketed when I started adding videos regularly, as people feel more relaxed when they see things happening right in front of them.

    And when you back all this up with fun quizzes, contests and polls, there’s no way people are not going to take you seriously. You are all set to make impact instantly.
    Thanks a lot for bringing up such an articulate piece.

Email Newsletter Signup

Sign up to receive EcommerceNotes,
our acclaimed email newsletter.

And receive a free copy of our ebook
50 Great Ecommerce Ideas



PEC IGNITE
Coming Sept. 16-17.
Register today!
View Agenda