The e-commerce industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds – and as the recent COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown to many already established companies, having a sophisticated web presence with ecommerce functionality is increasingly an essential requirement across the board.
One of the great things about the way in which the Internet has changed the professional landscape in general, is that it has allowed many people to become entrepreneurs in their own right, often with minimal start-up costs. It has also given them the ability to market far and wide due to the increased reach that comes with operating in cyberspace.
But just because it’s now highly achievable for virtually anyone to start up their own ecommerce business,, that doesn’t mean the actual process of making an ecommerce business viable in the long term doesn’t require a lot of thoughtful marketing and work – both behind-the-scenes, and upfront.
One bit of advice that is more or less ubiquitous among professionals who have made a name for themselves in the e-commerce space, is that blogging is an essential part of the overall process of getting the best possible results out of your business.
Here are a few ways in which blogging supports your ecommerce marketing strategy, and can serve as one of the fundamental cornerstone practices that hold up your business.
1. Blogging increases customer trust
When all is said and done, very few – if any – prospective customers are going to part with their hard earned money unless they have a clear sense that yours is a trustworthy business. They also expect reassurance that it is run by upstanding people, and subject to the general quality controls that prevail in your industry.
Easily the best, most straightforward and effective way in which a business can gain customer trust in this way is to simply be old and well established in the field. It’s almost assumed they have a track record of quality and accountability that goes back years.
Of course, this kind of glowing reputation can only be developed incrementally over a prolonged period of time. It’s not the sort of thing that you can just establish over the period of a weekend, or even a couple of years, as the owner of a new business.
What’s more, many of the systems and avenues which would, in the past, confer a sense of trustworthiness and reliability on a business no longer really apply in the digital marketplace. For example, if you have no physical storefront, your business won’t become familiar and well-recognised simply by virtue of the fact that people pass it every day on their way to work. You also won’t be able to generate the sense of accountability that comes with being personally present in customer interactions.In fact, the Internet makes it remarkably easy for just about anyone to set up a more or less convincing website, while nonetheless being a potential scammer. Most would-be customers are savvy to this fact. That means they will be on the lookout for certain tell-tale signs and indicators that your business is actually “the real deal.” They want proof it is not just some scheme or fly by night endeavour..
Blogging is one of the most reliable and effective ways you can generate customer trust when you run an ecommerce business.
With regular blog posts that are well-structured, carefully thought out, contain proper grammar, and demonstrate an understanding of and an investment in the industry in question, customers naturally end up feeling that they are involved in a conversation of sorts rather than just wandering through anonymous and unknown territory. This gives them confidence in weighing the pros and cons of making a purchase.
A history of regular blog posts also shows that you have “skin in the game” in a pretty direct sense. It shows you have been putting some serious thought and attention into your ecommerce business, rather than just churning out several dozen shell sites and ignoring things like customer service.
2. Blogging helps with on-site SEO
Google’s search ranking algorithm is famously mysterious and fickle, but there are certain things that have been quite consistent over the years with regards to how the tech giant assigns rankings in their search engine results pages.
While in the old days (think early 2000’s) it was generally enough to spam a keyword on a given webpage, in order to make it rank well, the system in place today is a lot more sophisticated. It’s primarily focused on promoting websites that are shown to be trustworthy, useful, relevant, and active.
SEO is, when all is said and done, largely based on written content. While you should certainly optimise the written content on all of your webpages as carefully as possible, so as to be succinct, helpful, and connected to the right keywords so that Google will pay attention, blogging has certain unique benefits when it comes to on-site SEO.
First, you can’t really – or at least, shouldn’t really – edit the written content on your static web pages on a frequent basis, or in a very dramatic fashion. But every time you release a new and unique blog post, you make your site more visible to Google. You’re demonstrating that the site itself is active and that “things are happening.”
Second, blog posts are the perfect medium for embedding high quality links to other high trust sites. And of course blogging is also a good way to get other high trust sites to link to your blog posts and articles. We all know how valuable backlinks can be to SEO.
Third, running a blog helps you to underscore and emphasise the keywords you are focusing on, in a balanced and reasonable way. Your blogging ultimately shows you have a degree of expertise and authority in the field.
An old and well-established SEO maxim applies well, here: “Content is King.”
3. Blogging can deepen your understanding of your field and niche
Not all of the benefits of blogging regularly for your ecommerce business are connected directly to the ways in which your blog might get a response from your prospective customers.
One of the key benefits of blogging is actually the fact that it keeps you, yourself, engaged in the happenings in your field and niche. Blogging also encourages greater creativity and insight on your part by virtue of the fact that you are constantly having to juggle around different ideas and think up new and interesting ways of presenting things to prospective customers.
All too often, in business, it can be easy to end up in a rut. You may find yourself doing things “by the numbers” and repeating the same basic sequences and routines on a daily basis. Instead, you should be looking ahead to the next big shift or adaptation you need to make.
All businesses, however – and especially businesses run via the web – require innovation and adaptation. The extent to which you will be able to effectively innovate will largely be determined by how engaged you are with the various trends in your field, and the ways in which you might be able to preempt them and get ahead of the curve.
No matter how generally insightful you may be about your industry, you can be sure that there will always be gaps in your knowledge that can be addressed by researching and writing about the subject.
As a result, blogging can help to make you more dynamic and effective in your business directly, as well as help to establish you as a thought leader and recognisable name in your industry.
4. You can use your blogs as an opportunity for customer interaction and basic market research
Increasingly, prospective customers are no longer just content to shop in quiet obscurity and then go on with their day. Rather, there is now a growing expectation that the ecommerce experience should be significantly interactive, and should include a variety of opportunities for feedback, review, customer service contact, and more.
While part of this interactivity should be driven by other on-site features – such as an inbuilt review system or video content – a blog can also serve as an excellent way for enhancing customer interaction. This is especially true if you share your recent blog post and articles on social media platforms, and allow comments.
Blogging also gives you a soapbox that you can use to address potential customer concerns, react to outcry, queries, or broader industry developments. In addition, it can also allow you to add value to the overall user experience by enhancing their understanding of certain topics within the field, or regarding particular products or services.
Another excellent use for your blog is as a platform for various types of basic market research – and this ties in directly with the general interactivity of the blog in and of itself.
You could, for example, launch a poll, or present a certain infographic and ask for feedback about it. Another idea is to demonstrate a new marketing direction that you plan to embark on and see how it is received by your audience.
Overall, if done right, blogging is a great way to not just support your e-commerce, but to gain more exposure – and that’s rarely a bad thing.
Darya Jandossova Troncoso is a photographer, artist and writer working on her first novel and managing two digital marketing blogs – MarketTap and MarketSplash. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and creating art.