The Top 5 Ways a Blog can Boost Online Store Sales

This is a guest post by Michael Martine. Michael runs Remarkablogger.com, where he helps business owners increase sales through blog marketing. He also offers blog consulting and coaching so check out his website.

Photo by alamodestuff

You’ve no doubt heard the hype that a blog is the way to for marketing (along with its good friend social media). And it’s true that blogs are excellent marketing channels for many online businesses. But is that true for online stores? Are blogs worth it? Can they boost sales?

They can indeed. Here are five ways a blog can boost sales for your ecommerce store.

1. Search engine optimization to get found

Shopping carts have become much more savvy about SEO in recent years, but blog SEO is outstanding. If you’re using WordPress for your blog with a couple choice plugins and the right theme framework, your blog’s SEO will be killer.

In a product page, you can’t have a headline that’s the exact wording of a question your customer might have. But you easily can in a blog post headline. Exact match keywords get searches all the time, and one of the best ways to snag that traffic is with a blog post where the question is the headline (and of course the post body contains the answer)

Link liberally to product pages from your blog posts in order to send traffic to your shopping cart and get sales.

2. Lifestyle content that hooks readers

Products are not sold in a vacuum, they’re part of what consumers think of as their lifestyle. If you sell ecologically safe products, for example, your customers live an ecologically conscious lifestyle. Your blog can provide tips and highlights for the lifestyle, which of course would feature your own products. This is a perfectly natural fit and doesn’t come across as being too pushy or “sales-y.”

There are many lifestyle blogs that make a lot of money including affiliate links in their posts. What you can do is flip this around: be a store with a lifestyle blog.

3. Education to get the sale

An educated customer is the best customer, right? You don’t have the room to educate customers in a product description, but you do have the room in a blog post! Tips, tricks, hacks, new ways to use a product… these are all viable blog post ideas. The best part is you can do this for so many of your products that you’ll never run out of posts to create. People lament all the time about how they can’t think of anything to blog about. When you’re running an online store, you always have product to blog about! Show customers how to use products and the best way to use them. Demonstrate them with video (host the videos on YouTube, keep it simple).

4. Humanizing the company for stronger relationships

One cool thing about blogs is that they’re not stuffy corporate sales brochures: they’re conversational. Blogs humanize the company. Microsoft learned this big time when Robert Scoble was working for them: he humanized Microsoft to a lot of people. Since then, Microsoft as a company has embraced blogging in a big way, and it’s paid off well for them. On a slightly smaller scale, your blog does the same thing for you: it shows real people are behind the store, people customers could get to know and like.

People love to do business with those they know, like and trust. Blogs help build that trust, and get more sales.

5. Get valuable feedback for better sales

Because blogs are social, two-way streets, we get an invaluable window into our customers’ minds. Based what posts they visit, comment on, ignore and share, we start to build up a good idea of what they like and don’t like. More importantly, we understand more about what they buy and don’t buy.

And of course, the comments they leave can be pure gold. Many store operators are afraid of blog comments. Don’t be. You’re worried about someone being upset or angry, but it just doesn’t happen that often. And when it does, it’s the perfect opportunity to show how you handle things which will impress and win over others. These situations are definitely blessings in disguise.

Over to you

So there you have it: five ways a blog can improve ecommerce sales. Are there other ways that have worked for you? Share your stories in the comments!

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35 thoughts on “The Top 5 Ways a Blog can Boost Online Store Sales”

  1. Good and helpful article! I have a blog on my online store website. Just posted a new one yesterday. My goal at this point is to be more consistent with it and to figure out how often I should be blogging? I also need to work on writing my blog articles in a way that encourages comments. I can see from my google anaylytics report that people are reading the blog but not responding to it. Of course now that I think about it I haven’t really asked for their response like I see above in the “Over to You” section. Hmmm…guess that would be an IMPORTANT thing to do, sigh :-D!

  2. Carla, I’m glad you noticed that. Reader engagement increases tremendously when we ask for it, and there are many ways to ask for it so you don’t seem repetitive.

    What I suggest is always having in your mind before you write anything what it is you want the reader to DO when they’re done reading the post. Then you write your post so that the reader understands exactly what it is you want them to do.

    People look online for advice and help: they want to be told what to do. If you do it in the spirit of helpfulness you won’t come off as pushy or bossy. “Next steps,” “What to do next,” “Action steps” are all ways to command your readers in a way they will appreciate.

    If you run an online store, one of your main conversion goals for posts is to get the reader to visit a product page (or even a product category page or a sale page). So that’s what you invite them to do at the end of the post. Getting a sale is more important than getting comments. :)

  3. Michael, this is a nice, short list of blog benefits for e-commerce. One thing I’m experimenting with is using a static front page on my WordPress blog to simulate a website, while keeping the blog contents as a Category and linking to that category in the static navigation menu. The other

    I wanted to avoid the drama of deciding how to integrate a website and blog, as I’m not sure how best to accomplish that. Also, I don’t want to fool around with pages vs. posts. I believe pages are best for uninteresting but required things like a contact page.

    My experiment is not ideal, since the categories showing on the static page simply bring up the WordPress archive list of posts. that kind of ruins the illusion.

    At any rate, your list lets me know I’m on the right rack!

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  4. Number 4 is a definite yes, “Humanizing the company for stronger relationships”

    People need to communicate and by the new business model of having call center agents we may somehow deprive costumers with that humane touch.

    Blogs somehow solve this as a post is made by a single person, better if being opinionated by the subject in mind.

  5. E-commerce online adaptation took place, however, and while the Internet pioneers in the early face a more uncertain course – there are fewer affordable options for Web services – Mavericks will meet modern web another major problem: himself. Some people just do the same thing too, and competition can be stifling tax. It is in the choices made during this critical phase of growth, which will act as to be able to jump

  6. Thanks for this blog. This is really helpful for everyone who has blog for the online store.

  7. Do you think a lot of website owners intend to open a online store?

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