How Your Competition Is Reducing CAC, Nailing SEO with eCommerce Content Marketing
eCommerce has soared since 2020, and so has the competition for new online customers. This, in turn, has driven up customer acquisition costs (CAC).
But helping your online store stand out from the crowd doesn’t need to break the bank—if you develop one of the most powerful tools at your disposal: eCommerce content marketing.
Content marketing for eCommerce is not only a cost-effective way to reduce CAC; quality content can serve as a cornerstone for digital initiatives across your organization. And, even better, independent retailers and direct-to-consumer brands are uniquely suited to build rich content marketing that engages with their target audiences.
While the format and style can vary, eCommerce marketing content is designed to engage audiences and encourage them to interact further with your brand. It eases the path to purchase and showcases your unique value proposition.
What Is eCommerce Content Marketing?
eCommerce content marketing is the strategic deployment of content that helps connect customers with brands. It’s main mission is to spur action.
This content typically differs from the specifics of the product information catalog, but it can—and should—interweave seamlessly throughout the eCommerce site, as well as on social outposts, in email, and anywhere you connect with customers.
eCommerce content marketing can be effective at every stage of the customer lifecycle. During the acquisition phase, 81 percent of B2C marketers say content marketing helps build brand awareness; 76 percent say it helps build the credibility and trust that are so crucial to establish during the consideration phase; and 70 percent use content marketing to grow loyalty among existing customers.
In fact, eCommerce content is so effective that its popularity has grown—especially in the wake of the global pandemic—and so has the volume of content available in every channel. To take just one example, in 2020 email volume grew by 7 percent year over year, bringing more than a billion extra messages to consumers’ inboxes. So while eCommerce content marketing can set your brand apart, you’ll need to do some research and planning to ensure that your efforts to achieve visibility are effective. That’s where content strategy comes in.
Content marketing vs. content strategy
While the terms may be used interchangeably, content strategy and content marketing are different.
A comprehensive eCommerce content strategy is the foundation for your content, and the best way to ensure that your initiatives drive return on investment (ROI). Before you begin shooting TikTok videos or authoring holiday gift guides, it’s essential to identify your content goals and establish measurable outcomes so you can track performance.
Getting to know your audience is a key step in developing your eCommerce content strategy.
Learning how your target customers prefer to shop, which social networks they use, and what topics interest them will help prioritize content development. Researching competitors and popular search keywords and topics can yield further insights. These preliminary steps are crucial to ensure that content investments are in alignment with your audience’s preferences—and that your content investments will be optimized for maximum potential ROI.
The result of content strategy development is a blueprint for eCommerce content marketing, that is, development and distribution of information on specific topics in the formats and channels most relevant to your audience. Timing is another factor to consider as you convert content strategy into content marketing. Content should sync with key events, such as holiday sales dates or new product releases.
How eCommerce Content Marketing Drives ROI
Online content for eCommerce is so popular because it’s effective at driving engagement, sales, and even return business.
Here are some of the top ways eCommerce content marketing contributes to the bottom line, and how other merchants measure its impact.
Your brand story stands out. Metrics: New visitors, new customers In a crowded marketplace, every opportunity to showcase what makes your brand different can potentially bring new visitors to your eCommerce website and convince them to buy.
Content about your company’s history, founding principles, stances on social and environmental causes, location, or traditions can serve to demonstrate authenticity and highlight traits that resonate with shoppers. Spotlighting the people behind the organization–from the founders to expert store associates—can establish your brand’s credibility, subject-matter expertise, and commitment to customer service.
Quality content drives organic search traffic. Metrics: Search referral traffic, overall traffic volume eCommerce content marketing can help improve search engine optimization (SEO), as high-quality content is Google’s top ranking factor. Earning a top spot in organic results is critical, as consumers rarely click past the first page, and fully 28.5 percent click on the top organic listing without scrolling further. More than half of B2C marketers said they track search rankings as a measure of their content marketing success, while fully 87 percent track overall traffic growth.
Content helps keep CAC under control. Metrics: CAC, paid search performance By some counts, CAC has skyrocketed 60 percent since 2015, thanks to rising marketing and customer service expenses, as well as aggressive discounting. This year, Apple’s privacy changes are driving up CAC still more as mobile search and social ad pricing soars. But armed with a comprehensive content library, you can create ad campaigns for alternative keywords that promote unique offerings such as buyers’ guides or in-depth videos, giving you more ways to stretch your paid media budget.
Self-service content reduces call center costs. Metrics: call center volume, NPS, return rates While less glamorous than other types of eCommerce marketing content, customer service information is a crucial topic area. Self-service content proactively addresses common questions and empowers shoppers to research solutions independently—which two-thirds of consumers try first before contacting live help. Content on shipping costs, delivery timeframes, and returns and exchanges is crucial, and should be incorporated into multiple content formats–especially during the peak holiday season.
Tools that help determine the right fit and dimensions, such as 360-degree imagery, augmented reality tools, and video fitting guides can pre-empt questions about size and even prevent product returns.
Showing products in context boosts conversion. Metrics: conversion rate Basic product information from your catalog is just the beginning when it comes to providing a robust content environment that supports purchase decisions. In addition to information about fit and size, you can showcase craftsmanship and artisanal touches, feature user-generated content that demonstrates how items look and work in the real world, develop buying guides and interactive selection tools, and create product videos. Overall, 54 percent of B2C marketers say content marketing leads directly to conversion and revenue gains.
Content gives new customers a reason to re-engage. Metrics: return visits, repeat purchases Immediately post-purchase, support content such as installation and how-to videos can help customers get the most out of their new items, while invitations to contribute reviews or share favorite looks can prompt re-engagement and word-of-mouth advocacy. Lifestyle content provides a platform for sharing common interests and activities, creating a brand community that fosters loyalty and ongoing connection.
Create once for many outlets. Metrics: traffic by referral source, social media engagement, ROAS Digital marketing content for eCommerce can be retooled for multiple outlets and channels, boosting cost-effectiveness. Information about holiday shipping cutoffs can not only be listed on the customer service page and highlighted via site-wide banners. With Wix CRM, Wix users can create Instagram-friendly social media graphics to share the same information. Longer videos can be excerpted and re-mixed for social media.
7 top eCommerce content marketing priorities for 2022
Merchants face a dizzying array of potential topics, formats, and outlets for eCommerce content marketing. But for sellers sticking to a budget whose primary goal is to reduce their average CAC, focusing on a list of key priorities is a good place to start. Among the top projects to consider:
01. Create a central content clearinghouse
Start a blog to create a content hub where all eCommerce marketing content can be aggregated and linked. This destination gives followers an alternate entry point to the brand and its offerings and provides a source of inbound and outbound links to bolster your SEO reputation score.
02. Invest in video
Among social media networks, YouTube tops even Facebook in popularity, so video should be a critical component of your content strategy, whether in the form of how-to tutorials or long-form documentary-style pieces that delve into the stories behind the brand. Video is also a flexible medium: segments can be repurposed, re-edited, and syndicated across multiple properties, helping stretch the value of your investment.
03. Make the most of mobile capabilities for UGC
Built-in cameras, quick access to chat groups, and go-anywhere access make mobile devices the perfect medium for customers to create user-generated content (UGC). Mobile sites should prominently highlight opportunities to contribute and share, and content should be integrated throughout the eCommerce site to infuse crowd-sourced authenticity into the brand.
04. Showcase customer reviews across channels
Consumers universally seek out customer reviews as a resource, so excerpts from reviews should be highlighted in eCommerce content marketing, from email promotions to social media posts to video clips.
05. Co-market content with brand partners
Brands should enable syndication of content to sellers of their products, from retail partners to online third-party marketplaces. Sharing this branded content helps dealers boost conversion on their own sites with rich, comprehensive information, while maximizing content ROI.
06. Offer VIP newsletters with referral perks
Exclusive content like “behind the scenes” videos or access to experts in the field helps loyal buyers bond with the brand. Enable them to share content experiences with friends to cultivate new engagement and customer acquisition.
07. Open a dialogue in private customer communities
Inviting customers to join Facebook or Slack groups or launching a Wix Forum as part of your eCommerce site not only provides another touchpoint for sharing existing content; these open discussion platforms empower customers to lead the conversation, giving you valuable insight into their priorities to inform future content development.
Content marketing is your superpower—use it
With online competition growing, more eCommerce content than ever is available for consumers to navigate.
By focusing on authentic storytelling that demonstrates brand relevance and eases the purchase process, you can use eCommerce content marketing to reduce customer acquisition costs, find new audiences, and create lasting loyalty for your online store.
Head of Outbound Marketing, Wix eCommerce
Bogar leads thought leadership and outbound marketing for Wix eCommerce. He has an extremely soft spot for all things eCommerce, retail, tech, content, and marketing.