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How to reap e-commerce rewards with a content plan

With e-commerce it pays to be organised, especially with the content you’ll be using to sell your products. This means everything from the product descriptions, to what is shared on social media. Too often even the the most basic e-commerce content is overlooked when building a website, and added as an afterthought. Making sure your content is quality to begin with will provide a solid foundation for the rest of your content plan.

Initially a content plan should lay out what content is needed for your e-commerce site, but will eventually encompass many different aspects of running an online store. Analysing stock levels, planning out sales, and queuing up advertising to drive traffic are essential parts of an effective plan.

Thinking from the goal backwards

To start with any e-commerce business needs to think from the goal of selling a product backwards – asking questions such as what steps will the customer take to that completed purchase and what content will they see along the way.
There are basically three types of content a customer will encounter on their journey to the final step of the checkout process, transitional, transactional, and relationship-building.

Transitional content is all about turning someone who’s thinking of buying a product into someone who’s going to buy one. The most common type of this content is the product description. This could be an interactive element that helps a customer pick the colour and style of their product, like a piece of furniture.
Transactional content guides customers through the checkout process, whether that’s the copy that encourages them to click “next” or the greyed-out text that provides instructions on filling out forms.

Relationship-building content is basically what you put out on social media. This content should be designed to drive engagement and create customer loyalty. It could be a new product photo, a special offer, or an update about new product arrivals.

Creating the content

The two basic types of content any e-commerce site will need is copy, for product descriptions, and good quality images of the products.

In the case of copy for e-commerce sites using the manufacturer’s product description is a quick option but isn’t good for driving sales or SEO. Rewriting product descriptions to make them more appealing to specific audiences, and unique so Google doesn’t penalise the site for duplicating content, should be the first thing on any e-commerce store’s todo list.

Good quality pictures are also essential. People read images instantly so the quality of imagery on an e-commerce store is critical for making a good first impression. These pictures can then be used on social media to create engaging relationship-building content.

In either case it’s always worth investing in a copywriter or photographer to create high quality content. This will save time and money in the long run, avoiding the need to recreate content if what’s there isn’t working.

Creating urgency

A good e-commerce site will make it easy for those managing it to analyse stock levels. Analysing stock levels is not only essential to ensure the shop runs smoothly, but it’s also a great way of informing content that can be used to drive sales. When stock levels are low let customers know about this.

Many online stores will indicate when stock levels are low, for Amazon it’s a piece of copy that says “Only X left in stock – order soon”. This is an effective way of getting a customer to make a more impulsive purchase, and there’s room to be more experimental with the copy. For smaller e-commerce stores low stock levels may also be worth creating a social media post about.

Setting up a calendar

Finally, once all the content is in place it’s time to start scheduling what will go where and when. This can be done in a variety of ways – in a paper chart on the wall, a spreadsheet, or a Google group calender – the most important thing being that it’s easily accessible by anyone involved with the process.

There are plenty of free templates available but the best format will depend on the individual business and team. A good calendar will plan out content for the whole year for all the different channels, the website, social media, and email marketing. It will also queue up and plan out advertising so that it has the maximum impact. Effective sales analysis will also come into play here and any sales forecasts can be used to inform how content is scheduled.

By having a clear content plan, from setting up an e-commerce store to building a loyal following on social media, e-commerce store owners can maximise their sales and their profits. If you need help creating content, or putting it out there, Vu can help. Just contact one of our e-commerce experts and find out how we can create the perfect content plan for your business.