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April 1, 2009

How Ecommerce stores can use articles to influence behavior

Article marketing is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to market your online store. Articles can drive traffic, build trust and establish credibility without having to sell at all. The opportunity for an article to engage, educate and influence consumers during the critical research and evaluation time is an ecommerce marketers dream.  Yet, most online stores have little or no article content.

Why do so many eCommerce stores ignore the power of article marketing?

I suspect that this underused tool just slips under the radar for most online store owners. I have also wondered if web store owners feel that articles do not fit into the feel of an eCommerce store because brick and mortar stores don’t offer them.  Perhaps they are not aware of just how powerful these unassuming tidbits can be. Articles have the power to attract a targeted group and influence behavior.

First people read – then they search

Statistics show “52% of college graduates said they conduct Internet searches for products or services they read about in online articles either very frequently or somewhat frequently” Articles prompt a search queries about specific products, brands, features and comparisons. The reason a simple article has the ability to make consumers take action is because they consider the information to be more credible.

Your online customers are most likely looking for information before they buy and they trust articles more than brands or internet websites. Really this should be no surprise; after all it is the same thing you do when you when you shop online. The internet allows people to find information on their terms and within their comfort zone. Social media and articles have perceived trustworthiness that is well above that of paid advertising, business websites or internet ecommerce sites.
Are you avoiding your customers at a critical time?

Even when they decide to buy something, the majority of people use the web to research a product or service before they buy, especially for items with higher price points. Its’ important to recognize how the timing of article reading affects sales. It’s not only that they read it- it’s also when they read it that matters.

People use the internet to look for information while they are in the middle of the buying process. The newest stats by Adfusion, March 2009 report that “ 67% of people between the ages of 18 and 24, and 56% of those making at least $75,000 per year say they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to read and act upon article-based advertising

Credibility, Trust and Mindshare

Researching and evaluating is a very influential step during the buying process because it often sets priorities, desires and expectations. These elements affect how a person responds to your product and your ecommerce store. When a potential customer reads an article you have the opportunity to establish credibility, trust and capture valuable mindshare.

It is like a pre-introduction where you get a whole 600 words to say hello, rather than the usual 7 seconds. Every online retailer could benefit from more time, trust and credibility.

The people that read articles online are also the people who buy online.

Adding articles to your web store can also attract more customers. Keyword specific articles can be great Google food while submitting articles to directories can provide high quality links to internal pages. Unique articles can be used to share with joint venture partners on their websites as well as being posted in social media sites too numerous to mention.

Article marketing for ecommerce is inexpensive

Adding articles to your ecommerce marketing plan can save you money. Pay per click is getting more expensive everyday and when you quit paying – traffic stops. Articles can send visitors to your site for years at no additional cost to you. Even paying for article to be written is a very cost effective online marketing strategy.

A quick example of articles, traffic and expenses:
Lets say you do the keyword research and choose 15 longtail phrases to target. These longtail terms get a total of 10,000 combined searches per month. You hire a writer to create keyword specific articles for $25 a piece. ($375) and then hire someone to rewrite them for $10 each ($150), giving you two versions of the same keyword targeted article.  You have spent $525.

One Keyword optimized article is posted to your website and the rewritten one is submitted to an article directory or social media site. If these combined articles attract just 5% of the organic traffic for your 15 phrases this would be 500 visitors per month. Over one year this would bring you 6000 new consumers. Your cost is just over 8 cents per visitor.

And these are not just any visitors – articles can attract people who are actively engaged in the process of research or buying and you can be in the unique position of influencing their activities. Articles are a great way to promote your online store without ever having to sell.

Jan Riley is the CEO and founder of LeadMastersUSA, a website marketing company founded in 2004 and based in Atlanta, Ga. Her entrepreneurial spirit and internet experience along with a talented staff has made LeadMastersUSA synonymous with innovative marketing tactics, increased ecommerce profits and business websites that build relationships. We believe that the true power of the internet is NOT technology – it is communication. People buy from people. Discover how your website can connect, capture and convert visitors into customers with our 3 minute weekly video series at You can contact Jan at 678 318 7515.