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E-Commerce Engagement: 3 Lesser Known Strategies

To engage your audience and make your webshop’s visitors interact with your website and take profitable actions – buy products, download content, subscribe to newsletters – it’s no longer enough to just create content.

The e-commerce world is deluged with blog articles, e-books and cheat sheets, static product descriptions and pictures, and plain infographics. These types of content do have their role in the big content marketing picture, but if your goal right now is to engage your visitors and turn them into brand ambassadors, or make them spread the word about your products, you need more than static or passive content. And here’s where interactive content comes in.

Interactive content

As its name implies, interactive content is supposed to keep your visitors hooked and encourage them to interact with your website. This means more time spent on a page, more fun for them and a higher probability for visitors to share your content with their friends. Surveys, polls, quizzes, tests, galleries, calculators, games, interactive white papers and infographics, brackets or interactive videos are different types of interactive content you can embed in your e-commerce website to increase visitors’ engagement.

Surely, you don’t have to add all these types of content to your store; just pick the ones that fit your webshop’s theme and goals and are aligned with your brand’s voice and message. The key is not to test all the different types of content, but to make your visitors feel they’re part of the story, show them that you care and want them to enjoy their virtual shopping experience, and encourage them to buy or take another profitable action (subscribe, share, refer a friend).

Interactive content captures the attention of visitors and allows them to explore different scenarios and personalize their shopping experience. It’s a great way to find out more about your audience and their preferences.

Here are some widgets you can use for creating interactive content for your e-commerce website:

  • Image zoom widget: this widget is perfect for fashion websites as it allows visitors to take a closer look at your products.
  • Description dots: this widget allows you to create beautiful collections of items and add descriptive hotspots to each item, indicating the price, name, collection, brand or any other information you find useful for potential customers.
  • Accordion gallery: I’m sure you’ve seen these beautiful accordion banners or galleries before; they’re excellent for e-commerce webshops that sell multiple types or categories of products and want to display more of them on the main page, but without using classic (and boring) static banners.
  • Before and after: my personal favorite widget, this allows you to creatively display the results a client can expect by using your products. It’s an inspired choice for make-up e-commerce websites, for webshops selling cleaning products, interior design items or dietary supplements.
  • FAQ accordion: if you sell products that are difficult to use or require detailed instructions, a FAQ accordion is an easy way to educate your audience and address the pain points they hope to solve with your products.

Keep in mind that product pages should sell benefits, not features, as visitors want to know how your products are helping them solve certain problems. This principle applies to all categories of products, even to those that don’t seem to solve any real-life issue, and the widgets above help you sell through storytelling. They allow you to create a story in which the visitor is the hero, and the product is the reward, so we could easily call these types of content interactive storytelling tools.

Commercial intent product descriptions

Brian Dean from Backlinko considers commercial intent keywords more important than search volume for website owners trying to optimize their pages for traffic and conversions. And it actually makes sense: if your goal is to sell, you need to attract visitors who are interested in or ready to buy, so your content should be written around commercial intent keywords instead of purely informational keywords.

These terms can be included in the meta titles and meta descriptions of your product pages, as well as in the short or long descriptions that appear on the product pages and are seen by potential customers. A lot of webshop owners make the mistake of using only product keywords (search terms that focus on categories or brand names) when writing their descriptions. These are important and can attract a lot of visitors, but they serve a different level of the sales funnel.

Take a look at the graph below: this is a classical sales funnel that shows why someone visits a website and what he or she hopes to find there, based on their search queries. A broad search indicates that the visitor is just searching for information and is not ready to buy, while a focused or an exact search shows that the visitor is interested in the product and wants to buy it.

Search Funnel Illustration

The content you create for the top of the funnel (TOFU) can be informational, as its main goal is to generate traffic, so you can include product keywords, as well as search terms like “cheap”, “review”, “best”, “comparison” in this content. However, when creating content for an e-commerce website, you should not treat the product pages as part of the TOFU, as they belong to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). A blog article or a landing page dedicated to a specific category of products can be included in the TOFU, but the main goal of the product page (and implicitly of the content on the product page) is to close the deal, to sell the product, so all the content should be written with this goal in mind.

Understanding Keyword Funnel Illustration

You can think of the sales funnel as a keywords funnel that starts with informational keywords at the bottom, and ends with commercial intent keywords at the top. A search query like “Samsonite spinners” fits the TOFU, while “buy Samsonite online” is perfect for the bottom of the funnel, as it shows the visitor’s intention to close the deal.

Now, you may say you don’t want your product descriptions to sound too salesy, and I totally agree! Even if your purpose is to sell a product, you should write in a natural tone and instead of pushing the sale, you should focus on answering potential questions and on showing how that product can solve a specific problem of your potential customers. For example, someone who is searching for Samsonite trolleys may want to purchase a brand travel bag that not only looks nice but is lightweight, spacious, comfortable and resistant. So your product descriptions should address these pain points and highlight those characteristics that make the trolleys you sell the perfect choice for your visitors.

Obviously, even if you include a lot of commercial intent keywords in your product descriptions, your content will still attract visitors in the awareness or consideration stages, but you can solve this problem and help them make their mind and close the deal by incorporating product reviews from real customers in the product pages.

What are some examples of commercial intent keywords? Search queries that include terms like “buy”, “offer”, “discount”, “deal”, “coupon”, “sale”, “buy [product/brand] online”, but also less obvious terms like “free shipping” or “outlet”. When creating the product descriptions, try to initiate a conversation with the visitor instead of focusing only on your business goal. Instead of describing the products in a distant and objective manner and asking your visitors to click the “Buy” button, use the commercial intent keywords strategically and create a text that engages them and highlights the value offered by the product.

Matthew Woodward believes having keywords with intent is also a boost for the SEO of your e-commerce store.

TIP: You can use commercial intent keywords on your home page for displaying the top deals, discounts, best sellers, or limited time offers. Scarcity is a powerful trigger for sales, so use this opportunity to motivate your visitors to buy by making them believe they’re about to lose out on something great.

Reward or loyalty programs with social media integration

The typical approach, used by most e-commerce websites, is to reward their customers with loyalty points for each purchase they make or to ask them to share and comment on social if they want to enter a contest and win a reward. The problem with these strategies is that in lots of cases one has to spend a lot of money in order to earn a significant amount of loyalty points and be able to get something valuable from the loyalty store. Or they simply don’t want to share that content on their profile, although they would like to enter and win the prize.

In such cases, a more effective approach could be to reward customers with loyalty points for every social share. Word of mouth and reviews can be powerful marketing tools, and offering loyalty points in exchange for reviews or for spreading the word about a contest can be a win-win solution. So the next time you create a campaign to promote a new product or collection or to sell some items that aren’t performing that well, offer your customers the chance to get a discount or earn loyalty points with a tweet or Facebook share.

Make them an offer that is irresistible and offers them something valuable. If they have to spend $2500 on your webshop in order to earn 250 loyalty points to buy a dress or a phone from your loyalty program, no one will want to join your reward system. But if you allow your visitors to earn loyalty points by sharing on social or posting reviews, and they realize they actually have a chance to earn those 250 loyalty points faster and easier, without spending a fortune, they may become interested in your reward system.

Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of this approach is to engage your audience and turn your customers into brand ambassadors. If you want them to love you, you have to show some love first.


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