The blank white page. The blinking cursor. The torturous hours spent sitting at your desk, willing the words to come. If you’ve ever had to create original content for your online store — heck, if you’ve done any writing at all — you know where we’re coming from.
But here’s the thing many ecommerce merchants don’t realize: content sells.
In fact, it generates roughly three times as many leads as traditional marketing for 62% less money. Not to mention it humanizes brands, builds trust, and engages people like no loyalty program or fulfillment strategy can.
As the great Margaret Atwood once said, “A word after a word after a word is power.”
We think she was onto something, so we’re using this week’s checklist to tap into that power and help you slay the competition on Black Friday and beyond. We’ll cover everything from email marketing to blog posts to landing pages. By the end of it, you’ll have an arsenal of relevant, creative, engaging pieces that people will actually want to read.
Let’s get started!
Write a blog post. Or five.
Every online store should have a blog. We’re not talking about a place to re-post the product updates and promotions you send out by email. We’re talking about a place where customers can find information that’s actually helpful tothem, that’s legitimately interesting and relevant and fun.
Not a great writer, you say? Can’t come up with anything to write about? Fret not. Your posts can be short. If you sell kitchen supplies, write about your favourite recipes. If you sell travel accessories, share your packing tips. Having an original, engaging and on-brand blog doesn’t have to be complicated.
Approach bloggers and influencers about guest blogging and sponsored content.
Targeted product placement, sponsored product reviews, and curated gift guides are all great ways of driving shoppers to your store during the holidays, and can provide valuable backlinks over the rest of the year as well.
You probably already know who the tastemakers are in your niche — why not reach out to them about dropping a link or two into their holiday posts? Maybe they’ll even offer to write some star-powered content for your store’s blog!
Create a Black Friday/Cyber Monday landing page.
The keyword “Black Friday” drove $11.7 million in sales in the final months of 2015, ranking it #5 in Google’s rankings of desktop text ad spend for the entire year. Needless to say, you need to use these powerful keywords to your advantage, and one of the best ways of doing that is with a dedicated Black Friday/Cyber Monday landing page.
Rather than hiring a developer or designer to do the job, enlist the help of ShopPad’s fantastic Page Studio app and create your own eye-catching, conversion-focused landing page. Consider adding a countdown timer to your page to build anticipation, or using a popup to capture visitors who you can reach out to once the big weekend arrives.
Go for the gusto with email marketing.
Email may not be the most exciting or novel content distribution channel, but for online merchants it continues to be one of the most profitable. (Last year, it drove an impressive 20% of Black Friday sales!)
You should already have your holiday marketing plan sorted, so now’s the time to hunker down and write those emails. Give subscribers a sneak peek at your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Share your gift guides. Link to your blog posts. Stoke that FOMO so that come Black Friday morning, yours is the first store they want to visit.
Create some gift guides.
You know your product (and your customer) better than anyone, so why not offer up some ideas and expertise in your very own gift guide? Practical, attractive, unique content can alleviate shoppers’ anxiety about finding the right gift and give your sales a boost.
Here’s some inspiration to get your juices flowing, but don’t feel like you have to go crazy with filtering options and fancy embellishments. Shopify’s blogging engine has everything you need to create an attractive holiday gift guide—or you can use Pinterest like the Kitchn does!
Create a “news” or “media” page to display positive press about your store and products.
A great way to build trust with prospective customers is by linking to other reputable sources who’ve written about your products. If you’ve been lucky enough to be featured in a newspaper or magazine, use that. If you’ve worked with well-known bloggers, use that. (And if you don’t know if/when people are saying nice things about you, by gosh, set up a Google Alert!)
Think the only pages customers care about are your product pages? Think again. Your About page and other informational pages are extremely important, and if you use them right, they will help you increase sales.
The key thing to keep in mind here is trust. Customers want to know who they’re buying from. They want to know that if they buy from you, their information is going to be safe. And perhaps most importantly at this time of year, they need to feel confident that their order is going to arrive on time. (Late delivery is never good, but it can be positively cataclysmic around the holidays.)
Write up a satisfaction guarantee.
There are many risks involved in purchasing online, from being disappointed in a product’s quality to having financial information compromised. A satisfaction guarantee takes some of the edge off for nervous buyers — and gives businesses a second chance to satisfy buyers if something goes awry.
What kinds of content are you producing in the lead-up to Black Friday? Seen any examples of great emails or blog posts or About pages you want to share? Hit us up in the comments, and stay tuned for next week, when we’ll be back with another scintillating instalment of pre-Black Friday to-do’s!
Just getting started with your Black Friday prep? Get caught up with our previous checklists: 7 things you can do this week to prime your store for success and 7 ways to optimize your product pages for sky-high conversions.