How to create an effective content strategy for your e-commerce shop (and be less dependent on online ads)

I bet you’ve been posting content for your e-commerce shop’s blog for quite some time now. Despite those efforts, you’re still probably feeling like you don’t see more sales unless you launch an ad campaign.

That’s a pretty common problem.

And, in most cases, it’s because the content you post is not following a strategy. 

Because “having a blog” is not a strategy itself. 😉

If you thought it was, this post will help you clear up some concepts and start getting clients thanks to the content you post. 

Specifically, we’re going to tell you about:

  • What a content strategy is (and what it is not)
  • How to start one with your e-commerce with a step-by-step guide. 

Gone are the days of posting “for the sake of it”. 😉

👉 What exactly is a content strategy?

Let’s do it the other way around.

Instead of telling you what a content strategy is, we’re going to start by telling you what it is NOT:

  • It’s not about SEO.
  • It’s not about making a list of future posts.
  • It’s not about sharing your posts on social media.
  • It’s not about trying different formats (podcasts, videos, etc.) to see which one works best.

All of these items are steps that typically make up a content strategy – but this concept goes far beyond that. 

A content strategy consists of planning and publishing content with a specific goal to then analyze the results to see if such goal has been achieved.

In short:

  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Analyzing

And, as you’ll soon see, these three phases can be divided even further.

👉 How to create a content strategy for your e-commerce shop in 8 steps

We’ve already mentioned the importance of posting high-value content as a strategy in this post (in Spanish) and this other one, but here’s a brief summary:

Let’s now go through the steps you must follow to design a content strategy for your online store.

✅ 1. Set the goals for your strategy

The overall goal of your business is to increase sales – always.

However, the objective of your content strategy can be different.

To put it simply, if your e-commerce website only receives a hundred visits per month, the most important thing for the time being is to generate content that increases that traffic volume.

That’s why you should first analyze the current situation of your e-commerce shop to then establish an objective to achieve with your content strategy.

Among others, the objective could be:

Plus, you’ll have to set a series of KPIs for every goal so you know if you’ve achieved them.

Here’s an example.

If you want to increase your brand’s community, you could use the comments on your blog and the metrics of your social media as reference (likes, shares, mentions, etc.).

✅ 2. Get to know your buyer persona

That is to say, the person you are creating all this content for.

This part of the strategy is critical.

If your message is too generic or if you try to reach the wrong audience, your conversion rate will be much lower (fewer sales, fewer subscribers, fewer visits, etc.).

That’s why you should ask yourself:

  • What problems is your ideal customer facing?
  • How do these problems affect their everyday life?
  • How can your product help them solve these problems?

Here’s another post where we go into detail about how to build a profile for your buyer persona.

✅ 3. Define what content you’re going to create

Now that you know your target audience and goals, the next step is to make a list of possible contents.

And random brainstorming just won’t cut it. 😉

Instead, here are a few steps for you to follow.

➡️  A. Analyze your keywords

If you create content, you should also optimize it for your SEO.

And, for that, you need to know:

  • Which keywords your potential customers use.
  • Which ones you should target (for example, if you don’t have many visitors on a monthly basis, it’ll be hard to get better positioning through frequently used terms).

Here’s another post on keywords and how to figure out which ones your ideal customer uses.

➡️  B. Study your competitors

The content published by other online stores in your sector can also help you find hot topics for your audience.

To make this process easier, we recommend using one of these content curation tools. 

➡️  C. Bear in mind the different stages of the customer journey

The customer journey is the entire process that a client goes through before buying from your (or another) online store.

This process consists of several stages – and the content to create differs across each one.

This example will help you understand. 

Let’s suppose your customer is a habitual gamer that needs some headphones to play online.

These would be the different stages of his or her customer journey (and the content you could create for each of them):

  • Discovery: The user starts to get acquainted with the different headphones available in the market (with or without noise cancellation, wired or wireless, etc.). For this stage, you could create content that answers their questions, such as a guide of “The best types of headphones for gaming online”.
  • Consideration: After reading your guide, the user already knows that the headphones that best suit their needs are some wireless ones so he or she can play from their bed. At this point, you could offer them a comparative analysis of the different headphones brands you sell in your online store, or even reviews. 
  • Purchase decision: This user has decided which specific model he or she is going to buy. Now, instead of creating content, what you should do is encourage them to choose your online store with some sort of discount or special offer.  
  • Loyalty: Once the purchase is complete, you can keep offering your new client some interesting content to gain his or her loyalty. For example, an analysis of the new headphones models that come out in the market, tips to improve the sound quality of the microphone, etc.

Mind you, your strategy doesn’t need to include content for every single stage – just those that align with your current goals. 

For example, if capturing traffic is what you need the most at the moment, most of your content should target the segment of your audience that is in one of the first two stages of their costumer journey.

✅ 5. Choose the formats you’re going to use

When we talk about content, we automatically think of blog articles – but that’s not the only format available.

You can also create:

The easiest way is to create content for one of these formats (the one your audience prefers) and then adapt it to other formats.

So, for example, you can create a script for a podcast and video based on an existing post, and then synthesize the text into an infographic to share on social media.

✅ 6. Plan your content

Imagine you’ve already created a huge list of the content you’re going to create.

The next step is to organize that list into an editorial calendar.

This will give you a global view of your strategy (to detect content that doesn’t align with the main objective, for example) and will also tell you what to publish next.

✅ 7. Establish different marketing channels

You’ve already created and published your first bit of content. 

So what now? Should you wait for visitors to arrive (which can take months perhaps)?

No – definitely not.

Until it’s well positioned, you have to look for other ways to help this content reach your audience so that it starts generating traffic as soon as possible.

Here are some options: 

Again, it’s not about publishing your content on every channel or being present on all social media. Instead, focus on the ones that your ideal customer uses the most.

✅ 8. Analyze, optimize, and repeat

Once you’ve been publishing for a while, the time will come to start analyzing the results of your strategy to see if you’re meeting the objectives you originally set.

For example:

  • Have you reached the traffic volume you were expecting?
  • Have you gotten new subscribers for your email list?
  • Has engagement on your blog or social media increased? 

If meet your objectives, identify the factors that led to the strategy being successful and think about how you can make it even better. 

Another option is to set new objectives (if your traffic has already increased enough, you can now focus on turning those users into new customers).

What if you don’t meet your objectives?

Then you should analyze why and what changes must be made to your strategy (create other content formats, chose different keywords, etc.).

As you can see, in both cases, it’s all about optimizing and continuously measuring each step of the way.

This will help you reach more and more customers with your content.

👉 Time to get your content strategy started

Posting content is a must if you want your e-commerce shop to get positioned on Google so you can stop depending on online ads to increase your sales.

Defining and optimizing your strategy takes time, but rest assured that effort will pay off in the long run. 😉