Share this page on:
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle BookmarksMyspaceTumblrRedditGoogle ReaderDiggDeliciousBlinkListStumbleUpon

30 smart content ideas that most online stores don´t use

To get a head start against other online stores, you can make sure that your website is a bit more creative and a little less boring than your competitors. Here are 30 tips you can use to spice up your online store and make it more exciting for your visitors.

1. Articles that explain how to do something special easier.”How to ...” Use the article to describe how you solve certain problems. Make it simple and easy to understand. Show how it's done, step by step.

2. Tips of various kinds are good. Offer short descriptions or full articles.

3. Charts showing your best selling products, preferably in different categories

4. News articles. They can be about your industry or your business, or about related stories that may interest your visitors.

5. Interviews. You can interview customers, employees, experts.

6. Publications. You can create special reports to download on areas of particular interest to your visitors.

7. Tell the story behind your business. It sounds boring and it can be boring too if you can't seduce your visitors with your story.

8. Visual Content. You can have images, graphics or other images that illustrate and support what you sell.

9. Entertainment. It might be good to offer a little fun on a website, it makes it more personal. Competitions, quizzes, games and funny pictures can give the website a better impression.

10. Hook Pages, ie those pages that make the customers stick to and it provides more than just selling your stuff. A hook page is the page where you describe your new tent model. Hook Pages is your collection of great places to camp in your country. Hook Pages brings a new dimension of your product, and give tips on how to use it. The advantages are that you show that you are so involved in what you do, that you are adding new dimensions to the subject.
Let us stay with the example of your hook side of fabulous places to camp in your country. Not only is it easy to get visitors to like the list. It's also easy to write a press release about it in conjunction with the release of your new tent model. It's easy to let newspapers publish your entire list in return for telling their readers where the paper got the information from.
11. Downloadable manuals. Do you have a product that requires manual in order to get it working? Publish the manual in the online store or link to it. People buy things secondhand and need instruction manuals. Help them to understand how to use your product - and build confidence in the process.

12. Answers to Common Questions - FAQ.
FAQ stands for “Frequently Asked Questions”. You make sure to answer common questions that customers usually have about your products directly in the online shop. This is a great sales tool camouflaged as an information bank. Your customers enter your FAQ to see which colors a certain sofa has and you tell them that it's available in white, black and red. At the same time you tell them that the reason that it comes in 3 different colors is that your quality demands makes other colors unsuitable with the material that the sofa is made of. The hand-woven fabric absorbs certain pigments easier than others. Collect questions to a FAQ. Make use of all the questions your customers ask and add some of your own.

13. Things that can be printed. This could be your most popular section. Do you sell furniture?  Offer visitors to print squared paper, so that they can plan their living room. If you sell clothes, or anything that needs to be measured, put in a tape that you can print. Whatever you are selling, you can ask customers to print something to use to make a purchase decision. What would your visitors like to print?

14. News about your company and/or products or related issues. Have a news section that readers can use to see what has happened since their last visit – but make sure to keep the section updated. Never publish a link to a news section if you don't intend to maintain and regularly update it. A link to the news which is updated frequently is a very powerful way to show that you are active in the online shop. A link to the news which leads to something that happened a year ago is useless, it just irritates the customer that you have stolen valuable time from him/her. It also shows that nothing new happens in your company.

15. Tell us about this month's customer. Give your customers their 15 minutes of fame by telling us about this month's customer - not the customer who purchased the most, but a presentation of one of your customers and their businesses. Your customers will want to become the “Customer of the Month” and it'll make your other visitors see that you have customers who really like your company.

16. Tell us about this month's employee. Showcase the monthly employee and tell people what he/she has done to solve your customer's problems. This has positive side effects for the staff as well because people surely want to be the next “Employee of the Month”. Besides, this will make the visitors realize that you have good people working at your company.

17. Ask for content from the visitors. Ask people to write and tell you about the most fun they've had with your product. Award them with different prizes. This could be an interesting collection of tips that will give new customers new ideas about what your products are good for.

18. Educate your visitors. Educate people. Help them to see your company as a valuable and effective resource for them and their businesses. Offer a course on your subject. Offer new lessons weekly. If you sell yarn, offer a course on advanced knitting. Everyone can see how good they are online. You can too. Does it feel strange that you will set up a course? You'll get over it. Once you have uploaded the course # 2 or 3 in your online store and the number of members (students) increase, you will feel completely at ease offering those courses.

19. Column. Have a column with a guest expert who writes something that strengthens your line of business. You can also designate the best writer at your company to write a separate column. Let all your departments write a column. Take advantage of people's knowledge.

20. Develop your own information in various fields. Find an angle on something that is current. It shows that you are updated and alert. Do you sell an accounting system? Promise to give one away free to anyone who has been in the press for tax evasion (there's always someone like that in the news).

21. Have a special Members Section. Have a special Members Section where only your customers can enter. This is where you put things that others don't get - special discounts or tips on how they can make their lives better. The advantage of this is that you can collect mail addresses from the visitors and send them great deals on a regular basis.

22. Glossary list. Make a suitable dictionary for your particular field and put it in the online shop. If you work in a specific industry - make a glossary of common industry terms. Then tell the trade press that everyone who wants to know what certain words mean can visit your website. In other words, make yourself the expert of the trade. Another advantage is that dictionaries contribute to higher placements in search engines.

23. Create a Questions and Answers column. If you want to increase the credibility and create interaction with your readers, publish a column about your line of business and encourage readers to ask questions that you can answer. If they don't ask any questions, think about the most common questions you usually get and respond to them in writing and publish it on the website. It will help your customers to choose you.

24. Specials. You MUST have a standing offer that is ”right now” in the online shop. Vary the offers and ensure that they only apply right now, today only or this week only.

25. References. Very few companies use the internet shop to tell what customers think of them. If you have hundreds of customers who have written positive comments about your company, then publish them as references on the website (but remember to ask permission first). You are not online because you want to be invisible.

26. Jobs Page. This could be a great way for you to hire new people in a cost effective manner. Furthermore, you indicate that your company is active and expanding.

27. Investigations. You see them everywhere and they create a sense that the website is relevant. Ask questions in a direct manner and provide different answering options. The subject must be interesting and relevant for your audience and the more controversial the topic, the better. If the result is interesting, you can send it to the press as well.

28. Coupons. Have coupons that you can print and use in your shop offline. Create a mailing list that visitors can sign up to find out when new coupons are available in the online shop. Since you still have the addresses, it's also tempting to create a club where special offers will appear periodically.

29. Show people what you do at work. Let visitors take a virtual tour of your office or factory and see a thrilling manufacturing process. Add a competition to make it as interesting as possible. Even if you won't get a lot of people to take the opportunity to see the production, the whole point is that you offer them the possibility. It shows that your company is serious and that people can count on you.

30. Countdown. Have a countdown to the release of a new product. Describe a new feature to your product every day. Build excitement. It's not certain that all customers are interested in your countdown, but everyone will see that they have come to an active website, and that'll make them feel safer doing  business with you.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.