Marketing Challenge – Mixing Editorial with E-commerce

For many e-commerce sites looking to expand their audience, one idea has been to write editorial content next to their products, such as a blog or series of articles, which would eventually drive higher sales. While this can be an effective strategy, it’s also deceptively difficult. Here’s the breakdown of the marketing challenge of mixing editorial with E-commerce, and how you can conquer it.

Mixing-Editorial-E-commerce

Marketing Challenge – Mixing Editorial with E-commerce

Why is This a Challenge?

The challenge is an issue of user motivation, and there’s a big difference in motivation between people going to a site for editorial and those going for e-commerce. Overcoming this difference is the major challenge.

A user going to a site to read blog posts or articles is focused on finding free information and being more informed, and then maybe sharing this info with their friends. If they’re then presented with a product they can buy online, they’ll likely ignore it since they had no intention of spending money for something. It’s very difficult to convert their intention from “reading” to “buying” simply because the two motivations are so different.

Plus, how you market editorial content is very different from how you market products. Most visitors who want to read will just stay on your editorial content, and most visitors who want to buy will go right to your product pages. Bringing them together is no easy task.

Overall, mixing editorial/info seekers and e-commerce/buyers is challenging because the two audiences are so different. However, it isn’t impossible.

How Can I Beat this Challenge?

First off, due to the huge group difference, don’t expect a very high conversion rate for all your users. Instead, try and segment your websites visitors into two groups, “readers” and “buyers.” This will help you focus your marketing strategies on what appeals to your readers so you can work on converting them. Don’t worry as much about the buyers, since they’re already there to purchase.

Once you do that, it’s very important to take steps to build a relationship with the readers so they’ll return to your site. When they visit your editorial section, get their contact information, for example by asking them to sign up for an email newsletter. Ask them to follow you on any social media channels and engage with them there. Have multiple requests like these on each page, but spread them out so readers don’t see more than one or two at once. Do all of this to begin building a consumer relationship that will make them want to come back and read more, and never be afraid to talk directly with your customers through channels like comments sections or social media.

For your editorial content itself, find subtle and effective ways to include your site’s products into the content. Try to end each post with your sale, even if it’s just a little. Most importantly, make sure the rest of your post is separate but related to what you’re selling, and is still valuable to users on its own.

Lastly and most importantly, be persistent. Don’t be afraid to “soft sell” your product from your editorial line, only pitching them with small points and not pushing consumers to purchase. The more subtle and consistent you are, the less it’ll seem like you’re publishing solely to sell to them. This greatly hurts the relationships you build with them, which is the key to converting them to buyers.

Remember, in the end, it all comes down to how strong a relationship you can build with your readers. Once you have that, leading them across the large gap between “reader” and “buyer” becomes less of a struggle and more of a natural occurrence.

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About The Author

Matthew Harris

Matthew began designing and building websites in 1995, and has since grown Harris Web Works (formerly Medium Well) into a full-service online marketing provider. He continuously adds expertise to become proficient in the evolving world of e-commerce, digital marketing, search engine optimization, mobile web, and more. Client work includes large corporate websites to comprehensive, customized services for small-to-medium sized businesses. He has worked as a designer, programmer, marketer and project manager. Matt is on the Board of Directors of Search Engine Marketing New England (SEMNE), and is a partner at Digital Media Sync in New Haven, CT.