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Living In The Now: Content Marketing

Content marketing.? We hear it more and more, every day.Content Marketing

Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute, but what exactly is content marketing?

The main purpose of content marketing is to not only attract customers and engage a clearly defined target audience but to retain them as well.? This is achieved by consistently creating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior (Content Marketing Institute).? Changing or enhancing consumer behavior basically means to drive profitable customer action.

So how do you drive profitable customer action or call customers to action with this type of marketing?? While no one has it down to an exact science just yet, what has been successful for many companies, both small and large, has been communication with customers and prospects openly and honestly without selling.? It sounds funny, but it works.? Consumers have been approached, from a marketing standpoint anyway, the same way for years.? They know and understand the process well.

Instead of simply pitching products, content marketing seeks to deliver information to the consumer which is informative and engaging, ultimately making the consumer more intelligent.? The bare essence of a strategy like this is that if sellers and businesses can deliver consistent and truly valuable information to consumers, they will be rewarded by consumers with their business and loyalty.? For Ecommerce websites, this concept is extremely important.

According to Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision makers prefer to learn about a company and their products in a series of articles versus an advertisement.? ?70% say that overall, content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company and 60% say that content and information about the company helps them make better product decisions? (Content Marketing Institute).? The proof is right there: people want to know more about what they are buying and who they are buying from.

 

Content Marketing Examples

The age-old internet standard, ?content is king? truly applies in this digital day and age.? There are many ways to engage an audience, while educating them on your goods and services and hopefully turning them into not only customers, but repeat customers.? Here are a few very simple content marketing ideas with which you can inform your audience about your site and its products:

* Blogs

* Webcasts/Podcasts

* Newsletters

*?White Papers

* Videos

* Social Media

You may want to consider running an informative ?series? which examines at greater depth a particular model or item that is new or popular in separate installments.? This will keep consumers tuning in to learn the latest.? In addition to keeping your content fresh, engaging, and informative, make sure that you actively participate in discussions by asking questions and urging your audience to get involved in the conversation.? Think about creating polls or areas for feedback where anyone can get involved.

The bottom line is simple: it?s ok to be creative and expand upon conventional marketing techniques.? Besides, old-school, traditional practices just aren?t as effective as they used to be.? Consumers are much wiser to the marketing practices of old.? Not only that, search engines are really focusing on high-quality, relevant content and ranking websites accordingly.? Content marketing isn?t just the future; it?s here now.

Spreading Your Content Wealth

 

We all know that content is king. ?Even more so now that there are so many different channels that you can utilize to get your Ecommerce name and your products out there. ?Here are a few non-traditional ways that you can increase awareness of your brand and drive traffic to your site, all by using relevant content:

1) Write and submit?SEO-friendly Press Releases. ?Whether you do it yourself, use a service, or have a professional write it, consider using some keywords and creating keyword anchor text links in the release. You?ll only want to include 2 or 3 links at most. ?It?s a good way to build relevant backlinks to your site when the release is published on other websites.

2) Get customer reviews for your products. ?Solicit your customers for feedback and comments if they are not posting it themselves. It usually takes a little pushing in emails or phone calls. ?There are 3rd party services that will give you product reviews and these are good for user experience but not for the engines. ?Numerous sites share the reviews so the products reviews are not ?original? content on your site.

3) Write ?editor? comments on product detail pages. ?Consider writing your own personal info about the product. While your business may not be allowed to personally recommend or condemn the product, you should be able to write information that you feel is relative.

4) Submit articles to social bookmarking sites. ?While submitting alone may not get your article seen by too many users, it still can create a link back to your site. ?Do enough good submissions and people will begin to trust you and the articles will gain some traction.

5) Write Guest Blogs. ?Blog owners will often welcome additional content to their site. ?Contact some blog owners with sites relative to your products and ask them if you can write an informational article to be included on their site. ?If they don?t offer for free, it can even sometimes be worth paying to have the article published if they have a big enough audience and traffic.

6) Participate in related discussion forums. ?If your industry has any kind of community around it, try participating in forums or community groups frequently. ?Answer questions as an expert and become an authority. Once you are a trusted member, communities often then let you put a link to your website in your signature file.

Keyword Basics For Ecommerce Websites

 

Recent search engine algorithm updates have caused a stir in the SEO world, especially as they apply to keywords in general. ?It would seem that Google, Bing, and Yahoo are placing quite a bit less emphasis on keywords alone, preferring to rank sites that are more relevant to user search queries, listing them in the search engine results pages (SERPs) according to their quality.

Does that mean that a keyword-rich site isn?t relevant anymore? ?Of course not! ?Should you give up on keywords? ?Nope! ?Should you abandon all hope when constructing your site?s category and product pages? ?No way! ?Don?t be intimidated by the recent updates. ?Keywords are still very important and still a huge ranking factor. ?In fact, when used properly, they are still the building blocks of a website.

A lot of the following ideas and recommendations for keywords work well on many types of websites, however, they work really well on Ecommerce sites and sites that sell lots of products:

* Be sure your homepage title tag (<title>) uses your 3 most important keywords (sometimes 2 plus your company or site name).

* Choose 3 keyword phrases to focus on per category page (sometimes 2 if it?s very focused), and use those in your title as well.

* Make your top keyword for each page the first word in your title tag (<title>) for all category pages.

* Customize your product page titles to include the actual product keyword.

* Format your titles for clicks as well as relevance (this is the ?call to action? part).

?* Use keyword-rich page names and create URLs that separate words with dashes (dashes are seen as spaces by search engines).

 

Of course, this is just the start of how to construct your website using keywords. ?It may be a bit tedious, but it?s definitely worth it. ?No matter what search engines tell you, keywords are still the backbone of a website and need to be utilized properly.

Figuring Out Your Competition

 

Whether you?re just starting out in the Ecommerce world or you?ve established yourself as a legit player, one thing you should always do is keep an eye on your competition. That doesn?t mean that you should mimick their every move, but if you notice that their website ranks higher than yours for similar keywords, browsing their website might help you understand why.

Try this: do a search in Google using:?site:www.yourdomain.com. This allows you to see what pages of your site are being indexed and how they look. ?The results should be keyword-rich and definitely include a call to action for users to click.

Do the same thing for your competitors by entering their site in Google search. ?Are their results optimized better than yours? ?Are they written better?

Granted, there are a few factors that you can?t really change about your website vs. your competition (like how old a site is), but virtually everything else is under your control. ?You owe it to your website and the future of your business to become the authority on your products and services.

A few basics: after researching your competition, make sure that each and every page on your site has the proper meta tags implemented. ?This means utilizing keywords that you have studied and adding them to detailed meta descriptions and creating title tags and page names with the right keywords. ?Also, you can never have too much good, descriptive content. ?Keep it fresh if possible, calling to action potential customers. ?Remember, you?re not trying to?match?your competition, you?re trying to?beat?them.

Following these simple steps will help your site start in the right direction. ?Next, you can think about diving into other important ranking factors like linking and using social media as a tool to drive more traffic to your site.

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