The content you publish on an e-commerce website can be split into two main types: informational content (mostly static pages) and marketing content, which should encourage sales. Both types are written with the final user in mind, but the informational content doesn’t sell, it just provides useful information to the visitor, while the marketing content is created for driving traffic, leads and sales.
Which of them is more valuable for an e-commerce website? The short answer will be both, and in today’s article we’ll try to explain some differences and why both types of content matter, if your website is an online store whose main purpose is to sell. Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have a better idea of how important content is in e-commerce, and you’ll be ready to include content in your online marketing plan.
Informational content: brand or user-oriented
Informational content can be brand-related or user-related; the former refers to any type of information that informs the visitor about your brand, its history and values, goals, hierarchy, even vacancies and company events. All this content is created with the purpose of raising awareness and making the user “an insider”, offering him or her some insights and make them feel special and part of something.
Ideally, brand-related content should be created by someone inside the team, so as to reflect the company’s tone of voice, culture and values in the most appropriate way, but if you don’t have the resources for an in-house copywriter, make sure to provide all the relevant information to the company you’re hiring: when was your company founded and when did the brand appear, what was the “why” behind your company, how did you decide what types of products you’ll sell and so on.
[Image source: whoanellycatering.com]
Make sure to include any special story you can remember about your brand’s evolution, and invest time in creating a timeline with all the important events: the launch of new products that are well known by customers, important changes in the company’s organization or structure, social or cultural events you organized and so on. Also, mention all the innovative technologies you use, and if there are influencers endorsing your brand and products, include that information as well, where appropriate.
Brand-related content should be found on the About us or Company page, and on pages like Our history, Values, Culture, Careers, and so on. If you don’t know what other pages your e-commerce website should include, make sure to check our previous article What static pages should your online store include as well.
User-related informational content
[Image source: ikea.com]
Then, users may also be interested in the Cookies that your website uses, and in the Shipping and Returns policies. If you have specific costs for shipping to other countries, make sure to include that information. Also, if you have Loyalty programs and discounts for orders above a certain amount, mention that clearly in the static pages of your online store.
If your e-commerce website has a blog, you can create a section dedicated to company news and events, where you can publish both company and user-related content. Let them now if you organize special events or if you support specific causes that could resonate with your ideal customers. User-related informational content can be evergreen or time-sensitive: if you take part in an event and want them to join you, that’s a time-sensitive type of content, but if you write about the Shipping policy, that is evergreen content.
We’ll discuss more about these two types of content in the next section, dedicated to marketing content.
Marketing content: user-oriented and adapted to the sales funnel
Unlike informational content, marketing content is written with numbers and goals in mind: you create this type of content because you need to generate traffic for your website, to attract new visitors, to convince and convert them and then to turn them from customers to brand advocates.
Marketing content is spread all over an e-commerce website, form the Home page to category pages, product pages, checkout page, then on the blog and in all the marketing materials that your customers can download from the website. If you have a newsletter, the copy on the CTA (Call to Action) button that asks users to subscribe is also considered marketing content; headings and subheadings on your blog, the content in the footer and main menu, all these can support sales by making the user’s journey on the website shorter, simpler and conversion-focused.
Homepage content: write, design and structure for UX
When planning the marketing-oriented content, the first thing that should be in your mind is the way visitors or potential customers are pushed through the sales funnel. So everything you write, design and publish, as well as the structure itself, the way buttons work, the links they redirect to, everything should be created with sales in mind.
If a visitor clicks on a category or promotional banner on the home page, and then he’s redirected to a product page for example, that product page should make it easy for the customer to make the purchase decision. That means that the text should clearly point out the key selling points and the benefits of the product, the design should be clean and well structured, and the buttons should create some contrast with the background, so as to encourage customers to click on them.
[Image source: skinnyties.com]
A smart thing to do is to use a tool like a heat map, that shows you how visitors interact with your website, what pages or links they visit, what buttons they click. By analyzing this data you can get a better idea of how well your marketing content does its job.
However, remember that UX means more than colors, button shapes and page structure. If your website loads very slowly or has no elements that make it look trustful for first time visitors, then you may lose a lot of potential clients just because they don’t feel confident enough to give you their personal details.
Category and product pages: write with SEO and CR in mind
Just like the homepage, the category and product pages should invite customers to buy or take another profitable action. That means that the text you publish there has to be created for conversions. If your conversion rate (CR) is below the average in your industry, or if it doesn’t improve even after sustained marketing and promotion efforts, it may be useful to try using a CRO platform or tool that suggests changes for improving the conversion rates.
Here it’s also useful to do some research and see what terms are more likely to convert in your language, and whether you should use more verbs in your CTAs, or just focus on benefits and advantages offered to your customers.
[Image source: jpeterman.com]
For product pages for example it may be helpful to have different tabs for the general description of the product, then for features or technical specifications, and then another tab or section for reviews. This may be more helpful than the features themselves, as a lot of people need more “social proof” for making a purchase decision. So they may be more encouraged to buy something from your website if they see that other people have already purchased those products and were happy with them.
Blog content and downloadable materials
Finally, your e-commerce website may use a blog. This is not mandatory, but in some niches it does help, as the content you post there can bring in a lot of organic traffic, especially if you choose your keywords correctly. So for example if you sell traveling bags, you can create a travel-related blog, with advice and suggestions, or even hotel reviews or articles written by travel bloggers. This can help with promotion on social media as well and can get you endorsements from “micro influencers”.
In general it’s better to not post promotional content on your blog, meaning that the articles shouldn’t be too salesy; instead, they should offer valuable information to potential customers, or help them solve the problem that made them google for your products in the first place. If you sell beauty products for example, you can blog about the different types of creams or cleansing products that can be used for each type of skin, and then you can create a series of useful and valuable articles for your customers, teaching them how to take better care of their skin.
There’s no industry that is so “dry” and boring that you cannot create interesting content for, so feel free to get as creative as you want on your blog, and do your research as well to see what people search for. Visit communities and forums to see what are their most frequent questions and blog about those things. Create user guides or buying guides, and give your customers the possibility to download and print the materials that are really useful and helpful for them.
For electronic devices for example you can create some useful user guides, and for kitchen appliances, you can create more entertaining downloadable materials, for example a short cooking book if you sell cooking machines or other kitchen tools. There is no limit here and you can always reach out to bloggers and micro influencers for guest posts as well.
Hope you’ll find this article useful! If you have questions or comments, post them below and we’ll gladly answer!