Assigning the right job to your articles will give your reader a better experience, improve results and validate that blogging does (in fact) grow your business.
We’ve spent years speaking with Shopify businesses about their blogging frustrations. When advising these companies, it’s usually good to start by getting a feel for what is wanted from the blogging effort. The typical answers are fantastic:
“I want to entertain my readers”
“I want to give them something other than a product ad”
“I want to be helpful”
“I want to educate”
“I want to provide value”
“I want to build a community”
“I want to nurture my subscribers”
“I want to inspire customers to come back to my site”
“I want trust in my content to turn into more consistent sales”
These are all the right answers, the ‘greatest hits’ of good blogging strategy, but more often than not little to none of this actually ends up happening. That’s a huge problem!
The best blogging intentions can spiral out of control more easily than you think, leaving you with doubts that you should be blogging at all (you should be, we promise!).
If you’ve found yourself thinking that your blog has no ROI or is not performing in the right ways, you might be missing the mark from the get-go. Did you commit to “entertaining your readers,” “being helpful” or “nurturing your subscribers?” OR did you run out time and scrap the playbook to create an article that you just really hope sells something?
You’re not alone if you’ve fallen victim to this: most companies end up assigning the wrong jobs to their blogs, breaking the intended customer experience and creating distrust in the blog.
How blogs should work for your Shopify business
Just like any finely-tuned machine, your blog should consist of specialized parts that contribute to a productive whole. In theory, this is what everyone plans to do. In real life, making this happen is a challenge.
The first challenge is to see past our constant desire to hook a customer, sell a product and grow in as few steps as possible. This is the magic of ecommerce, after all.
Your high-level goal will always be sales. Even so, the primary goal of every blog post cannot be to sell something. If your blog’s core purpose is to sell, you’ve essentially created a feed of product ads. There is nothing entertaining, purely helpful, educational, or nurturing about that especially since product ads are irrelevant to most of your customer base most of the time. In fact, it’s estimated only 3% of your audience is ready to buy at any given time.
(Check yourself: If you feel that your blog isn’t converting… that’s okay! Most of your blogs probably shouldn’t be converting sales directly. This doesn’t mean that your blog won’t influence sales.)
Matcha has covered the mechanics of a great Shopify blog many times before, so here we’ll stick to the basics that will keep you on track with your own blog.
First, think about your customer
We’ve established that “sales” will (of course) always be your goal, but “sales” cannot be the goal of everything you publish to your blog.
If you think about your customer’s experience from the beginning, you’ll be better equipped to build the right article for the person you’re targeting.
The person who doesn’t realize you exist If you sell kitchen accessories and are looking to bring a new potential customer to your site, you’re going to do better work by addressing fun or helpful kitchen topics than you will by pushing your product. The unaware person doesn’t know or care about you (I’m sorry!), but they do care about building their culinary skills. They also maybe are homeowners, parents or food fanatics–all of these subjects are fair game.
The person who knows who you are, but isn’t yet thinking of your product If you’re trying to start testing someone’s interest in your products, or to build new interest, you don’t have to ask them to purchase. Instead, build articles that help you introduce your product in a natural, value-additive way or incorporate a product listing that is directly related to your topic.
The person who has intent NOW you can set the goal of ‘SALES!” to your blog article. You have people in the door, they’re aware of you, and you’re now prepared to convert the ones who are ready. Buying guides, reviews, or product features are all absolutely appropriate here.
Do your best to keep your articles focused aimed at one of these personas or you risk building something that weakly addresses several types of people.
Next, think about the actual ‘goal’ of the article
Now that we’ve decided to think about the person, let’s think about the tactical ‘goal’ of what we’re creating.
Unlike targeting a persona, an article goal is a specific outcome that this blog should achieve. Most businesses will be better off by starting with a clear goal like one of the following:
- Goal: Drive new traffic to your site
- Traffic from…
- Goal: Capture good-fit readers to your email list
- Goal: Entertain/help/inspire existing customers
- Goal: Influence product views or purchases
Specificity around the article’s goal will help you keep the purpose of the article clear for the reader and will allow you to better understand how your efforts are actually performing. Articles without clear intentions don’t teach you anything, afterall.
As you start collecting data about how different articles impact your results, you’ll be able to build a better playbook for yourself and build a better understanding of your customer. You’ll speed up this process by refraining from avoiding bottom of funnel goals (sales) on top of funnel traffic (brand new traffic).
Matcha Tip : Seeing is believing. Using a visual like Matcha’s “Content Conversion Funnel” gives confidence that your articles are achieving their goals and that you can influence sales through non-salesy content. Diversity is the spice of life, or so we’re told, so make sure to mix up the content goals you’re trying out.
Like most things in ecommerce, Shopify blogging is a constant experiment. Build a hypothesis you can test, don’t claim you know the answer (‘this article will drive sales!’… will it, though?), and don’t assume you understand everything about your customer.
If you’re thinking that this feels like a lot of guardrails to navigate, it’s really not that bad. Target a specific type of person, set a goal you can measure, and make sure to spend some time watching what happens.
Matcha can make things easier with a free trial of our Blog Creator Platform. This gives you…
- Shopify integration to make your day easier with immediate import of your existing blogs
- An intuitive creation tool for writing powerful content, with steps for SEO optimization built-in along the way
- Tools to easily distribute content into social and email campaigns
- Matcha Insights to automatically reveal the traffic, engagement, lead generation and revenue influence of your blogs
- Conversion tools to help capture new traffic and get readers to product pages in just a few clicks
Use the Matcha content platform totally free for 7 days. Continue using the Platform for only $9/month or publish from the library starting at just $49/month.
Featured image provided by Marcus Aurelius