Content makes the (Internet) world go around and that goes double for ecommerce. Attracting both search engine crawlers and human beings alike, unique and relevant website content is the key to a B2B organization’s online success. Without unique content–or worse yet–content that is completely locked up behind a secure log-in portal–your ecommerce site is unlikely to attract much attention from search engines or from new customers. The good news is that by creating and implementing an ecommerce content strategy, you can directly change how your site ranks online and influence the success of your organization.
The trouble is that many manufacturers and distributors in today’s market have no idea how to go about creating a content strategy for their ecommerce site. Maybe you are one of them. The good news is that the formula for implementing powerful content and ranking well in the search engines is simple (although it pays to note that I did not say it was easy): Provide exceptional content that cannot be found elsewhere on the Web via your ecommerce site and you have positioned your organization for success.
Not sure how to create your own ecommerce content strategy or where to begin? No problem. Here’s one approach to creating content for your B2B ecommerce website:
- Establish the purpose of your site’s content. What do you want the content on your website to do for your organization? Are you trying to educate your customers about your products and services? Convince them to add another item to their cart before checkout? Drive traffic to your site in hopes of identifying new customers? There are a myriad of reasons why your site needs effective content and knowing which one is driving your content strategy will help you focus your efforts with laser-like precision.
- Determine which pages of your site are public-facing and which are private. Before you do anything else, you need to evaluate whether your private or public pages need content–or both. The types of content you add to your site will vary based on whether they are suitable for public-viewing or whether they are for active customers only. What’s more, if you know that you need your content to help new customers find your company, but all of your pages are hidden behind a secure portal, you will need to create public-facing pages for the content to reside on before you will be able to achieve that goal.
- Assess your customer’s needs. Take your time and consider this one–the answer isn’t always the knee-jerk response you think it is. Your customers are buying your products for a reason. Why? Think of the person who goes into the home improvement center for an electric drill. He may be buying a drill, but what he really wants and needs is the hole in the wall that the drill will provide. Make sure that your content addresses your customer’s desired outcome (read: the ultimate result) and you’re more than halfway there.
- Find out what phrases or keywords your customers (or prospects) are searching for online. Think like your customer. What are they searching for when they go online to buy or research products? Brainstorm a list of search terms and then check out the competition to see what key phrases and terms are popping up on their site. (Hint: Your customer most likely does NOT search for your product using your fluffy corporate search terms. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What are they really asking Google for?)
- Review your site’s existing content. Once you know why you are adding fresh content to your site and have a clear understanding of what your customer is searching for, it’s time to take a look at what is currently available on your site. Take a complete inventory so that you can easily spot any areas that need immediate attention.
- Identify any areas that need additional or fresh content. Are there pages that have too much content? Those that are lacking in substance? Identify the content that is working and is powerful and keep it. Don’t be afraid to ditch the content that isn’t working for your organization. (Hint: The product detail page is one of the most powerful content pages in ecommerce. Need help beefing up the content on your product detail pages? Check out this article.)
- Create new content as needed. If you’ve identified areas that need new or additional content, now is the time to decide exactly what kinds of content are needed for that spot and to create them. Need ideas on what types of content you should consider for your ecommerce site? Check out the article, 6 Types of Content for B2B Ecommerce and Where to Get Them.
- Establish a content review cycle. Set aside time to review your content on a regular basis. If your product data is largely the same from month to month and year to year, you might not have to review content as regularly as someone whose product mix changes quickly. Schedule these reviews at set intervals and break your site into manageable chunks to ensure that your site is consistently fresh and up-to-date.
Implementing an ecommerce content strategy is essential for any organization that is looking to improve both the quality and the quantity of the content on their ecommerce site. To learn more about how content drives the ecommerce sales process, download the white paper, Content is King – How Updating Content Improves Ecommerce Sales