It’s hard to say how many eCommerce stores are currently active worldwide, some surveys put the number at around 40k in the US alone, but considering the number of new names we see in ads every day and the estimates of eCommerce platforms themselves, that number likely barely scratches the surface of the eCommerce market. It’s no wonder online stores are grabbing at every opportunity to promote their products and business.
First there was the SEO keywords-littering feast where pages read like the notebook of a middle-schooler who’d been made to write “The best pizza in town” 100 times, then there was the social media hype with eCommerce stores piling on every social media platform known to man and now blogs have joined the popular kids’ marketing clique, and for good reason.
It’s no secret that blogs are useful for a number of reasons, from creative outlet to community building, branding, storytelling and many, many more. But not everything that’s useful in general is useful for your particular business. So, do eCommerce stores need a blog?
There’s been so much buzz around SEO, for years now, and clients have been asking agencies to “do SEO” so much that the mere mention of it has the potential to sky-rocket a marketer’s blood pressure; not because there’s anything wrong with SEO optimization but because the notion of it has been distorted to the point of mystifying the process.
For eCommerce stores, SEO is a combination of clean code, optimization, and lots and lots of good content and this is where blogs come into play. Thanks to their flexibility, blogs allow your business to post as much or as little as you need to enhance your brand, allowing for regular and relevant content updates; content that’s picked up by search engines, helping you boost your rankings.
Compliment PPC efforts
Due to its search engine optimization component, blogs are a great asset for PPC campaigns as well. Assuming that the keywords you’re bidding on are relevant to your brand and products, you can significantly boost your quality score within a brand campaign through a blog post featuring a company update.
Similarly, your non-brand campaigns can benefit from posts about a seasonal campaign you’re putting together or a new product line you’re getting ready to launch. The trick is to make sure your content is relevant for your audience and ties back to the campaigns, not vice-versa.
Tell your brand’s story
eCommerce brands focus a lot of their efforts in product advertising and put little, if any, effort into their branding.
Considering the huge number of stores doing the same thing, audiences are constantly bombarded by products, while businesses identify brand awareness as one of their primary marketing goals, making an effective online communication strategy just as important your advertising.
Blogs are an extension of your website, with a look and feel that’s an expression of your branding. What’s more, blogs allow you to voice your brand’s story without the restrictions the form, structure and goals your store imposes.
Build loyalty through diversity
No matter how conversational the tone in your store’s copy, its only purpose is to drive your potential customer from the landing page, through to the product page and out the checkout page. In order for the content to be effective, it has to drive this dynamic, leaving you with very few options to engage your customers in conversation.
The long-form content on your blog allows you to position yourself as a concierge, providing your consumers with advice, additional information regarding your product, details about the manufacturing process, showcasing not just the product but its value and that of the brand behind it.
The Bottom Line
The short answer is “Yes”, eCommerce stores do need blogs, as they are a valuable asset for businesses in general and for eCommerce stores in particular, since a shop and a blog serve very different goals. Where the online store’s purpose is to drive product engagement and sales, a blog can effectively drive brand engagement through conversation and communication.
Having one and using it effectively, however, are two quite different things so next week, we’ll be looking at how to turn your eCommerce blog into a business asset.