Why every e-commerce business needs a blog
Done right, an e-commerce blog can substantially increase visits to your site, boosting your sales. For the uninitiated, blogging can seem like a time-consuming extra, something to be done on an ad-hoc basis. If you put it at the forefront of your marketing plan though, you can build your brand while powerfully engaging potential customers.
These six reasons should convince you that e-commerce blogging really is worth the effort.
Six reasons your e-commerce business must have a blog
A vital branding exercise, a blog not only builds awareness of your product, it also results in increased search engine rankings, more traffic to your website and higher conversions. Let’s look at how it does that.
1. Blogging improves your SEO
To be successful, your e-commerce business should rank highly on search engines such as Google and Bing. Blogging can be a proactive way of achieving just that. Your website is judged and ranked on the amount of fresh content it produces and the number of indexed pages it has.
Statistically, websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links than their competitors.
Publishing relevant information on a regular basis via an e-commerce blog therefore helps you rank higher on search engines and increases the quality of traffic to your site too.
That doesn’t mean all blogs will increase SEO though. Search engines prioritise valuable content. That means what you produce needs to be linked to your business, relevant, unique and useful for your customer.
Every time a new customer arrives at your site from your blog you are generating a potential new lead and thus a potential sale for your business. Although it can take time to build those leads, a blog is an incredibly sustainable way of doing this. Simply by making them aware of your site, you are half way to making a sale.
2. An e-commerce blog builds your inbound marketing
You probably spend money on outbound marketing like adverts, email marketing and press releases. Inbound marketing, using tools such as an e-commerce blog, is just as important, if not more so.
Producing relevant and helpful content attracts potential customers to your site. By providing them with something of value, you enhance their buying journey, making them more open to purchasing from you.
Mae Cromwell, Director of Content Strategy at PACIFIC Digital Group, wrote in Forbes: “Not all customers are in the buying phase; they may just be exploring and trying to find a brand they can trust. Ultimately, they’ll likely choose the brand that has built trust through non-transactional content.”
B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads and small businesses generate up to 126% more leads. With those kinds of figures, there’s no doubt that e-commerce blogging, combined with a good social media strategy, will lead you to stronger sales.
3. Blogging helps you become an authority in your industry
If people consider you an expert in your field, they are more likely to trust your service and consider buying from you. E-commerce blogging is one way to make sure you are viewed as an authority, while also giving you the opportunity to build a relationship with potential future customers.
Consider offering tips and tricks for your target audience or commenting on the latest breaking news in your industry. This type of content helps present you as a trustworthy expert who can add value to your customer. After all, the modern buyer wants more than just a purchasing portal, they want to believe in the company they are dealing with.
4. A blog connects your e-commerce business with your customers
People buy from brands they like. So when you’re building your customer base, take time to think about how you would like to come across as a brand. As an e-commerce company, your blog can be a way of letting your personality shine through.
The winning combination of providing added value to your visitors, via a personality that resonates with them, helps you convert them into customers. Try using your e-commerce blog to share stories about your brand or about customers who have benefitted from your product. Write serious how-to guides and also include some light-hearted posts, so long as they are relevant to your industry. They all help convert readers into customers.
5. Blogging makes social media easy
While it’s often treated as an afterthought, another important tool for your e-commerce business is social media. In fact, Hootsuite statistics put global internet users at more than four billion, of which more than three billion use social media each month. If you aren’t speaking to them, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Bear in mind that interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media. If you create three or four blog posts per month, you automatically have something of interest to post across your social media channels.
Make sure you put social media buttons on each blog post to increase shareability. Also include links to each of your social media pages so potential customers can find out more about your business.
6. Blogging boosts your e-commerce site conversions
An e-commerce blog not only drives more traffic to your website, it increases your conversions too. When you link a relevant blog post to a specific product, you build trust around that product, provide added value and create a reason to buy.
For example, if someone buying binoculars can view a blog featuring a real-life review of them being used on safari, or a maintenance guide on how to make them last a lifetime, they will be far more likely to buy. Think laterally around your product to come up with stories and influential posts to build that trust as you guide your reader through the sale.
A few tips for your e-commerce blog:
- Make your content relevant
Don’t write just anything in your blog – rather think carefully about what will inform your customer. You want them to feel enlightened and supported, and to see you as an authority.
- Keep your ideal reader in mind
If you sell pet products, share cute videos and images. If you sell a complex piece of technology, consider a ‘how to’ video. These all add value for your customer and create trust in you as an expert.
- Vary the themes of your blogs
You need to hook your reader with something that answers a question, alleviates a doubt or aims to inform them. These ideas may provide some inspiration:
- How to solve a problem
- Why something may be good or bad for you
- Your opinion on myths around a subject or product
- Checklists for how to do something
- Storytelling: how I got from here to there
- Enrich your content
You want your content to be as rich as possible to keep readers interested. Use a variety of formats, such as text articles, videos, slide presentations, podcasts and infographics, to make sure you appeal to a wide range of people, each of whom consume information differently.
- Edit, edit and edit some more
Don’t publish anything that is not clear, understandable and valuable. Remember to check the structure and flow of what you’re saying. Add in headlines, images and graphs to help break up the text, and pull out interesting facts so readers can scan the blog if they want. Just make sure the rich media you add is relevant. For images, have a look at free photostock sites such as Pexels, Unsplash, Superfamous, Gratisography, and Life of Pix.
Always keep in mind how people will search for you. When choosing keywords, think about how people would research that topic on Google or Bing. What words would they type in? Then make sure you use these keywords correctly in your blog.
- Use a clear call to action
Once you have dazzled your potential customer with your blog, you want them to take action. Remind them to do so at the end of the piece. For example, you could encourage them to share on social media or offer a link to browse relevant products.
Even the best writers make mistakes. Give yourself time to read through your blog post calmly before publishing, or ask someone else to give it the once-over.
- Market yourself
Don’t just sit around and wait for readers to happen upon your blog. Once you’ve hit publish, share it on social media, send it to your email list and to your friends, and/or add it to your newsletter. If it’s relevant, you can even submit your blog to content discovery platforms such as StumbleUpon/Mix and Flipboard.
The bottom line
With more people than ever before researching online before they buy, a blog is your chance to shine in a busy marketplace. While it’s not an overnight process, if you dedicate time and energy to regularly maintaining your blog, you should begin to see results within the first few months. It truly is one of the most effective, and most affordable, marketing tools available.