Four steps to create an effective content marketing strategy for your eShop

The importance of content marketing cuts across all niches and the e-commerce niche is not left behind. Content marketing is the kind of marketing that attracts your target audience or gets them to take a particular action through content.

In this article, you’ll learn four content marketing steps you can take as an ecommerce store owner that will lead you to an increase in your conversion rate and sales. Plus, thanks to technology, we’ll also be dropping some content marketing tools that’ll give you the backup you need.

P. S. You don’t need to be a guru to try content marketing.

But first, let’s lay some foundation before you take your first step.

You may run your eShop from the comfort of your computer on your secure browser, but just like any brick and mortar business, you’ve got to know your ideal customers like the palm of your hand.

The effectiveness of this content marketing strategy relies on how well you understand your target customers.

Who exactly are the products you’re selling on your eShop for?

Don’t give some vague answer like “women who like jewelry” or “men who like fun logo tees”. If you want to get the full benefit of content marketing then you need to get crystal clear with who you’re selling your products to and allow them to help you generate the kind of content that can grow your business too.

The reason why this is important is that knowing exactly who you’re targeting makes it so much easier to target them. You have a laser focus on who your customers are and you won’t have to waste time on people who aren’t your customers. So you need to be clear on their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Activities they’re interested in

And then form as clear a description of who your target customer is as possible. One smart tool that will help you get some insight into your target audience is Quora. You can use it as a search engine and search keywords relevant to your niche. What you get is a list of questions people ask around that keyword. When you go through the results and read through the responses, you’ll begin to get more insight as to who your ideal clients are.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s hop right into the content marketing steps you must take.

1. Zeroing in on consumers’ social media habits

Once you have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is, next on the agenda is to know where those ideal customers hang out.

Social media is a great place to put yourself right in the midst of your target customers. There are 3.5 billion people online and over two-thirds of those people are on social media.

To kickstart your content marketing efforts you have to know the kind of content that will appeal to your target audience. To do this, you need to find out which platform they spend their time on and study how they spend their time on social media.

This step is crucial because it will point you in the right direction of:

1. How they use each social media platform

You log in to a social media platform for various reasons like watching videos, scrolling through pictures or reading short captions. Knowing this will help you define the kind of content you should be posting on those platforms.

2. What kind of content attracts their attention on those platforms

Once you know which platforms your ideal customers spend time the most and why you’ll be able to know which content they enjoy consuming the most. This will help inform you of the kind of content you can create when you’re executing your content marketing strategy.

3. What time are they most active on those platforms

Each platform has its peak periods where your target audience is the most active on those platforms? That time is the best time to make posts, comment, and even schedule your ads. Being active during the times when your audience is the least active will kill your content marketing effort and it will be a complete waste of time. The infographic below will guide you when those peak periods are.

Source: Sumall.com

2. Mastering content formats

By now you should start having a deeper understanding of your target audience. Probably you’ve already started developing some content ideas that you’re sure they’d be interested in.

There are so many different types of content you can create to advance your content marketing strategy. Content primarily can come in the form of text, video or audio. Whatever form of content you decide to go with you need to bear in mind that your content must be something that educates, entertains or enlightens your audience. Providing value is the key.

Here are some ideas you can get started with:

  • Tutorials – Depending on the kind of items you sell in your ecommerce store, there are a lot of people out there who will appreciate a detailed tutorial on how to use it.
  • Product reviews – Before making a decision on whether to buy an item or not, people look up reviews on the product. This is a good way to capture the attention of your target customers.
  • Listicles – Who doesn’t like them? Listicles like “Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas” or “Six Things You Need to Start a Bullet Journal” are creative ways you can mention the items you sell in your eShop while providing value for your audience at the same time.

3. Reverse engineering competitor’s content portfolio

Who said taking a sneak peek of what your competitors are doing is a bad thing? As a newbie in content marketing, it’s a great way to get ideas on what works in the market and what your target audience finds interesting.

Check what kind of content other eShop owners (especially the big time e-commerce stores) are doing and how they are using their content to convert their target market to sales leads.

A handy tool that will show you the kind of content your competitors are creating is Buzzsumo. It gives you the ability to analyze which topics worked best for your competitor and, by extension, what kind of topics you should be creating content around. So ask yourself:

  • What is the common thing you notice?
  • How do your ideal customers respond to the content?
  • How can you put your own spin to their approach and enjoy the same results they’re enjoying?

Reverse engineering your competitors’ content will act as a guide on what you can apply in your business. They’ve done it and they’re getting the attention from your ideal customer, so why not you?

4. Boosting content distribution

Now you’ve got your content ready and published, what next? Content is basically useless unless visible and the way you do that is by increasing your content distribution efforts. This is where the information you gathered in the first tip will come in handy. Knowing the behavior of your ideal customers on social media and the peak periods when your ideal customer is active on social media will help you know just where and when to share your content.

Stick with two to three platforms to prevent yourself from spreading too thin. But note: Sharing your content once will not be enough! You have to push out your content regularly. This article by Louise Myers gives you a fair idea of how often you should post on each social media platform.

Scheduling tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Coshedule will help you ensure that you’re posting the recommended number of times per day. You can schedule your posts for the day, the week or even for the month and each post will be automatically posted at the exact time you schedule them.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to spam. The idea is to put your content in front of as many of your ideal customers as possible so that they know about you and buy from you too.

Now it’s your turn

Content marketing is a process. But when you follow through the steps you will be able to get the traction you need to help grow your e-commerce store and increase your sales. But remember you won’t see results overnight.

But as you learn more about your ideal client, create and distribute your content, slowly you’ll start to see that you not only build customers but also raving fans.

What better time to get started than now?

Segun Onibalusi is the Founder and CEO at SEO POW, an organic link building agency. He can be found on Twitter @iamsegun_oni.

The post Four steps to create an effective content marketing strategy for your eShop appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Three tips for Q4 ad copy and messaging

The holiday season is quickly approaching with the start of Q4, which means an increase in consumer demand and more competition in the paid media space. Shoppers are looking to find the next big thing and anticipate enticing deals during the holiday season, especially during the Cyber weekend.

Users will be researching on many devices and platforms and will be considering competitors before purchasing, especially for higher-priced items.

Many companies will feature different offers throughout the season, testing different messaging and creative is important to help entice a user to convert. We should test this throughout the year, but early Q4 is a prime testing time. Once winners are proven, advertisers should align the messaging across all platforms. In this post, I’ll discuss best practices for testing and messaging dissemination across Facebook, Instagram, and Google.

Offer discounts in retargeting campaigns

One of the strongest audiences to test is with retargeting audiences. These users have shown some type of interest and intent in your product or service and should be exposed to a variety of creative and messaging enticing them to come back to your site.

One of the most popular ways companies try to lure users back to the site is with discounts for consumers who recently visited the site. I recommend testing this messaging against more general “come back to the site” ads and keeping a close eye on CPA and ROAS to understand the discount’s overall impact on margin.

Source: M.Gemi

Some important notes when testing messaging to retargeting audiences: be sure to exclude recent converters (no one likes to get an ad for something that they just purchased). Do not advertise to users who visited the site a long time ago and if you are advertising to lapsed users, wait a few days for them to come back to the site to purchase before offering a deal.

Test non-discount messaging and imagery

For some businesses, offering discounts to bring users back to the site might not be profitable. If that sounds familiar, don’t let it stop you from building and testing new creative and messaging. Some ideas for additional creative and messaging testing on Facebook and Instagram are testimonials or reviews of top products, product use cases/anecdotes, and talking about the problems or issues that your product solves (if applicable).

Other considerations include testing just an image of the product against an image of a consumer using the product. If you are a company that offers seasonal products or has an upcoming product release, showcasing those products to loyal purchasers – maybe even offering an exclusive on pre-sales – can help to increase product sales on new releases.

Make sure your messaging spans platforms

Your audiences don’t limit themselves to one advertising platform, so your messaging should follow suit and be consistent wherever your ads appear. On Google, make sure that ad copy, keywords, and extensions are up to date with current products. If you are running special messaging to lapsed buyers or site visitors who didn’t purchase, you might also consider creating RLSA-only campaigns to target these users with the same messaging or offer that they are seeing on other sites or in their email.

If you are offering a discount that should be prominent in your Facebook and Instagram ads, there are a few components to test, namely whether you should put the discount messaging directly on the creative or mention it in the copy (either in the headline or text).

If you’re selling a product with a high price point, testing Dynamic Product Ads vs. single-image or carousel ads can also be valuable in retargeting efforts, since you can increase the relevancy of products shown to the user.

With the start of Q4 upon us, you’ll need to move fast to capture increased user demand and battle increased competition and higher bids. Creative and messaging testing should occur in early Q4 so that learnings can be applied to the more competitive times, like Cyber weekend, through mid-December.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

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YouTube optimization and intent: Q&A with goop’s Courtney Messerli

At The Transformation of Search Summit next month, we’re very excited to hear from Courtney Messerli, Director of Ecommerce and Search at goop, the brand founded by Gwyneth Paltrow.

She’ll be giving a session called, “Optimizing for the world’s second largest search engine: YouTube.”

courtney messerli speaker on youtube optimization

Courtney has built her career in search engine optimization, including previous roles as Global SEO Specialist at Anthropologie and SEM & SEO Specialist at Nasty Gal.

YouTube and video optimization are topics a lot of us are keen to learn a lot more about. There are more than 1.9 billion people who use YouTube every month, and people are spending over a billion hours watching videos every day on the platform. Video traffic as a whole is predicted to account for 75% of all mobile traffic by 2020. There is a big opportunity for brands, publishers and video creators to expand their reach.

Tell us about your role at goop?

I manage ecommerce and SEO at goop. I match user intent to quality products and services via search (both on and off site), YouTube, and our website’s marketing and merchandising placements on the homepage and category pages.

What are your key priorities over the next twelve months?

Goop is in the process of launching a new contextual commerce experience to better meet the needs of users who are reading and shopping on our website.

We first want to meet users’ informational intent by delivering educational content across their topics of interest. Once informational intent has been met, we also want to deliver on their transactional intent by featuring compelling products in the appropriate site placements.

Another priority is improving site speed. With Google’s mobile first index, site speed has become increasingly important.

What’s an interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

The rise of zero-click searches on Google. Targeting featured snippets has become increasingly important.

How do you expect it will change in the next 6-12 months?

I anticipate that the percentage of zero-click searches will continue to rise in the next 6-12 months. With this, I anticipate heightened awareness of this trend driven by Sparktoro and other sources. Advertisers and SEOs will become more focused on On-SERP SEO and featured snippet targeting.

Tell us a bit about your session at the Search Summit?

I’ll be providing an overview on how YouTube search intent differs from Google search intent and how to develop a YouTube strategy accordingly.

Along with this, I’ll give actionable advice on goal setting, KPIs to optimize for, key ranking factors, ways to drive visibility to your channel, and recommended tools to use. 

What are you looking forward to most at the Summit?

As much as I’m looking forward to the sessions, I am most excited for the networking aspect! I’m constantly driving my (non-search industry) friends crazy discussing SEO trends and strategy 🙂  

What’s one of your favorite search technologies and why?

GTMetrix for site speed tracking. This tool provides actionable recommendations for enhancing site speed and performance. 

What’s something you do every day that helps you be more successful or productive?

My morning routine is everything. I wake up early, work out, listen to a podcast or new music, drink cold brew and do my skincare routine. I’ve never been one to roll out of bed and head straight to work — I need to linger in my personal life a bit first. 


Ps — You can check out goop’s YouTube channel here.

Hope to see you at the event!

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From SEO to CMO: Self driving technology and the path to C-Suite

There is an incredibly exciting trend happening in the SEO community where more and more marketers are taking on more responsibility across multiple facets of digital marketing.

As digital marketing develops more nuanced and targeted execution, marketers see ways to diversify their skillsets and impacts on their organizations.

For search marketers, there has never been a better time to take advantage. According to BrightEdge data from CEO Jim Yu, more SEOs are taking on broader roles and having a bigger impact  – with 51 percent of customers expanding the role of SEO across all digital marketing and 23% become CMOs in recent years.

Last week at Share19, hundreds of digital marketers, SEOs, and content strategists gathered to collaborate towards a common goal – to driving growth and revenue to their businesses and progress their SEO and digital marketing careers. Attendees learned new and advanced techniques for keyword research, learned about the career journeys of chief marketing officers at Fortune 500 brands and were the first to hear the big news that BrightEdge is releasing technology that literally puts SEO on autopilot.

Self-driving SEO: Impossible or possible?

As marketers, we all get frustrated with lack of resources — not having enough time and people to have the impact we want. No doubt, right now you are competing for resources and fighting with barriers to communication with your web dev team, your IT team, and your paid search team. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get mundane – especially for those with a bias towards the creative.

Last year alone Google did 3,234 launches, 595,429 search quality tests, 44,155 side-by-side experiments, and 15,096 live traffic experiments. Simply, keeping up to date with change is a task unto itself. Add to that day-to-day content issues, broken links, algorithmic changes, and mobile issues, and you can see why sometimes progress is elusive.

What if it were possible for some parts of your SEO to run on autopilot? Just imagine if all those repetitive yet necessary tasks that are integral to SEO could be running in the background, freeing you up to focus on higher-impact initiatives?

With an average of  53.5% of website traffic coming from organic search, it is clear that there is a huge opportunity for marketers to automate and optimize their most important marketing channels with speed, precision, and scale.

Last week BrightEdge Autopilot was announced to tackle just that and automate SEO tasks so that they don’t require a human touch. Made possible through a series of technology investments and the recent acquisition of mobile technology developed by Trilibis, marketers can now auto-optimize mobile and fully automate the most critical and time-consuming of SEO tasks.

Within six months of deployment, over 1,000 brands are now using BrightEdge Autopilot to power Self-driving SEO.

Intelligent automation: Performance and scale

So, automation takes our jobs away right? This is a comment and objection we hear not just in this space but across the industry. Sure, if you are happy doing the same things day in and day out and have no desire to get the best results for you and your customer then fine, automation may not be for you.

For those who see the opportunity to spend more time on higher-level work, automation is here to help marketers do more with less and execute more quickly. Routine SEO and content tasks can be implemented with little effort, allowing you to focus on high-impact activities and accomplish more personal and professional objectives. In order to progress in a predominantly technically oriented space, you have to embrace technology.

Automated grammar and spelling checks may have eliminated a few proofreading jobs, but it improved the accuracy and quality of documents and allowed writers to invest more time in the research and articulation of their ideas. Assisted driving automation helps keep you safer on the roads and likewise, automated SEO keeps your site and content safer for Google and makes it more easily discoverable by your audience.

According to Yu, BrightEdge Autopilot technology is already delivering on automation performance promises with:

  • 60% increase in page views per visits​
  • 21% more keywords on page one rankings​
  • 2x increase in conversions​
  • PPC channel impact – 28% improvement in the “Ad Quality Score”​

Campbell’s Global SEO Manager, Amanda Ciktor was able to share the impact of automation with BrightEdge Autopilot showcasing a 204% traffic lift year-over-year.

With one day of implementation work Amanda and her team were able to compress 75,000 images and within a few weeks saw:

  • Move 4,000 keywords to page one
  • Improve faster mobile page load speed for 35% of pages
  • Improve overall load time by five seconds

In fact, brands across numerous industry verticals have seen dramatic performance improvement with up to 65%.

SEO and the CMO

According to Gartner’s CMO survey, SEO is one of the four digital workhorses that account for 25% of marketing investments. And, by 2023 autonomous marketing systems will issue 55% of multichannel marketing messages based on marketer criteria and real-time consumer behavior, resulting in a predicted 25% increase in response rates.

SEO, Automation, and the CMO were three themes that stood out at the launch of BrightEdge Autopilot at Share19 last week. The finale of the event was a roundtable discussion featuring marketing luminaries, including Kelly Hopping, Chief Marketing Officer for Gartner Digital Markets, Lauren Fyrefield, Chief Marketing Officer for WorldStrides and Armin Molavi, Vice President of Global Media Strategy of Hilton Brands.

As the CMO role becomes more results-focused and data-driven, we have seen a change in the skillset and perspective from one that is more brand and positioning-oriented to one that is more technical and technology stack-oriented. This draws on the natural skills SEOs use in generating profitable organic traffic. The problem for SEOs is that they can get buried in tactical execution. Automation allows them to free up time for planning, strategy, and relationship building that will help elevate their visibility and consideration for advancement.

From listening to everyone on the panel it was clear that was a linear progression path to the CMO position developing. A commitment to

1. Embracing technology innovation

2. Drives growth and revenue

3. Fuels digital career growth

As one CMO panelist put it “we are constantly looking at ways to get smarter, automate and scale. We manage everything in-house so if we are not automating, getting smarter then we can’t scale.”

Automation is definitely helping marketers, and especially those who want to unleash more creativity and, who knows, become the next CMO or CDO.

The underlying theme is to pursue opportunities and leverage technology to help you do that.

Andy Betts is a chief marketer, consultant, and digital hybrid with more than 20 years of experience in digital, technology and marketing working across London, Europe, New York, and San Francisco. He can be found on twitter @andybetts1.

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