Need a helping hand coming up with ecommerce blog topics and ideas? Here’s a guide to making this channel sustainable so you get more money back than you put in, based on both conversion rates and brand loyalty.
This is the second part of a two-part blog series. Part 1: Industry-leading tips for creating a highly effective ecommerce blog.
One of the typical pitfalls that ecommerce companies fall into when considering what to cover in their blog is treating it as a place to run updates about their business. These kinds of updates should really be in the “News” section of your site, leaving your blog as a place to run regular editorial franchises offering either something of practical value, or something that resonates with your audience – or both.
The blog is there for your customers, not for you. They are less interested in who you are than what you do for them and what you stand for.
One example I’d like to give is of an arts education charity, which had previously restricted itself to blog updates about its service. I believe organisations need to draw from their own stated aims to inspire, rather than basic product updates. In the case of this example, the organisation could support something bigger than itself by championing young British talent in the arts. The implication is by doing this, they would help nurture the next Emma Watson, One Direction or Jack Whitehall.
By changing content from updates, to creating pieces celebrating the achievements of young Brits in the arts, this organisation provides readers a good reason to share its content. Hitting the Share button associates them with this positive message through their social feeds. In turn, this activity leads to people ‘transacting’ by encouraging the target audience to sign up to the charity’s programmes.
Another example I wanted to highlight is a storage company wrestling with how to boost its ecommerce revenues with a blog. The staff were anxious that storage was a boring topic. But by looking at the emotional stories behind what storage does for people, a regular content thread of positive meaning and feelings came out:
- some people were able to keep treasured childhood possessions without risking their hoarding driving their spouses to divorce,
- others were able to take time out travelling while affordably keeping their belongings safe,
- and different users were able to store historic items belonging to grandparents in order to document for museums when they retired.
Ecommerce blog ideas
Once you have decided on your general topic, it’s time to create a plan of how much content you’re going to create and how often. What’s the level of interest your audience has for your chosen content thread? What’s your budget? Are you going to publish blog posts daily or weekly? A good benchmark is to look not at your direct competitors but at who else is publishing content on your chosen topic.
It may well be that publishing companies are doing it. What can you learn from their output? As well as simply looking at their blog and social feeds to see how many shares and comments they are getting, you can also use handy tools such as BuzzSumo to see what their most shared content is – either by brand or by topic. You can see the top five most shared articles for free on BuzzSumo just by registering.
By seeing what works for others, you’ll get an idea of what specific content ideas to cover yourself.
Ecommerce blog conversion
By producing a well thought out blog, you increase conversions in two ways.
Once consuming your regular content becomes a habit for some of your customers, they will think of you first when it comes to making an online purchase in the area you’re in.
Further, when on the blog page, you can run one clear call to action per page that guides users from the blog to the transaction page.
Our research into industry benchmarking has shown us that on average 4% of the users on a blog post are likely to click the link to the transaction page. And 4% of those people are likely to complete the transaction.
However, we believe you can do better than industry averages. We launched a ‘cool products’ blog: running a particular test with a promotional offer for one of the featured products, we found that 20% of users clicked the link to the transaction page, and 8% transacted. In that case, we had to get extra data from the product manufacturer to see the full effects of our end to end strategy.
However because 4% tend to click the link you want them to click at each stage, it pays not to have too convoluted a user journey through your ecommerce site:
- have clear calls to action – and make them easy to find and understand,
- make sure every stage is mobile-optimised,
- ensure the blog is relevant to the product or service on sale in terms of spirit and personality.
It follows that if users like your blog, they’re also the sorts of people who’d like to buy what you’re selling.
Ecommerce blog testing and growth hacking
Useful tools such as HotJar or Mixpanel can help you understand user behaviour on your blog and transaction pages. It it too long? Are there too many images? Is your page too cluttered? Is the call to action clear enough? HotJar, for example, shows you how far users are likely to scroll down the page before losing interest. It also gives you a heatmap of where on the page they’ve tended to click.
You can see recordings of how much attention visitors paid to individual blog posts before clicking off, so you can compare which posts do best and why. Crucially, HotJar also has polls, surveys and invitations to users to be interviewed by you about their feelings towards your ecommerce blog and transaction pages. If in doubt, ask you audience!
Your ecommerce blog within the wider customer journey
We’ve tended to drive traffic to our own site using Boosted Facebook posts. Organic traffic from Facebook is fantastic when it works, but increasingly we’re seeing businesses in the industry pay to Boost their posts to ensure a certain level of reach and engagement. In the blog post clickthrough test mentioned above, 1% of people we reached on Facebook (and Twitter) clicked the link to our post. However, many of our Boosted Facebook posts see a click through rate of more than 10%. On average, 4% of the users we reach tend to engage with the post.
When we get this kind of response on Facebook, it means each click is costing us less than 1p. Essentially, that’s why Mark Zuckerberg’s business is as massive as it is – because it’s hard for any other marketing channel to produce those kinds of results! The beauty of Facebook is that you can put a very small amount of money into your Boost – say £10 – and test the response, adding more budget if you’re getting vast amounts of clicks.
If you add £10 or £100 for Boosting a post to how much it costs in terms of resources to create a blog post, an individual post can cost anything from £50 to £500 or more. If an individual product costs £100 and you’ve spent £600 on a given ecommerce blog post, you’ll need to sell at least six units to break even. That’s in terms of direct response of course – the impact of your blog on encouraging loyalty to your brand is harder to measure (but no less important).
Based on a 4% conversion rate on the transaction page, and a 4% conversion rate on the blog post, and a 4% conversion rate on your Facebook Boost, you need 150 users on your transaction page, 3,750 users on your blog post, and a reach on Facebook of 93,750. This is very achievable with great content and skillful Facebook posting and Boosting – creating a very sustainable model for your ongoing customer acquisition and conversion.