May 28th, 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Copywriting for Ecommerce

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Written by Shawn Rolph

The Ultimate Guide to Copywriting for eCommerce

For eCommerce sites, written copy has become king.

Compelling eCommerce copywriting has the power to increase search and site traffic, conversion rates, and ultimately, sales. On the other hand, crummy copywriting for eCommerce that’s flat and uninspired will fail to persuade its audience to move on down the sales funnel.

Far too many websites fall into the latter category.

But, for the savvy retailer, this represents a significant opportunity to create a competitive advantage over their rivals.

So, what does compelling copy look like for your eCommerce website? This guide will cover everything you need to know.

The Changing of the Old Guard

Over the past two decades, a retail coup has occurred, shaking the industry to its core. In that time we’ve witnessed the decline—assassination, more like it—of major retailers like Borders, Sears, J. Crew, and Toys R Us. These once-giants were forced to bend the knee to the usurper, the game-changer; we speak of course about the aptly named eCommerce sovereign—Amazon.

There’s a lesson to be learned from the demise of major brands, and it’s not a new one. Darwin stated it more than two centuries ago—those that fail to adapt die. Many of these businesses could have but refused to change with the times. They rejected the inevitable march towards digitization and all that it entails, including:

  • Changing customer expectations
  • Customer demand for brand engagement;
  • Embracing new technologies
  • Migrating their services online

Because of this paradigm shift, long gone are the halcyon days of brick and mortar locations and traditional retail marketing. They’ve been replaced by virtual storefronts (websites) and the meteoric rise of eCommerce. Naturally, this shift has also altered how an eCommerce business sells and markets its products, particularly for a majority online audience. T

his is where copywriting for your eCommerce site comes in.

Copywriting for eCommerce

There are two goals of eCommerce copywriting:

  1. Build trust and establish authority
  2. Persuade your audience that they need your product

But how do you accomplish these goals? Simple. Just follow this advice.

Know Your Target Audience

While this point can apply to just about any form of written content, it’s especially relevant for consumers in the midst of the buying process. A well-crafted product description will speak directly to the target customer. It will hit their wants, needs, and pain points. This matters because language that speaks to a teenage boy will not be as impactful on their middle-aged mom.

Before you ever start writing eCommerce copy, you should have detailed buyer personas, which are fictional people that represent a specific segment of your customer base. A buyer persona gives you the opportunity to understand each characters’ buying habits. As Entrepreneur puts it, “Creating characters to represent your customers will give you valuable insights about their wants and needs and help you avoid wasting resources on ineffective marketing campaigns and unpopular products.”

By understanding who you’re writing copy for, you can tailor your messaging so that it hits all of the important beats.

Tell a Story

Humans are emotional beings. We connect to emotional stories, particularly those that feel genuine. Marketers have realized that emotion plays an integral role in any buying process, which is why many commercials and advertisements often don’t talk about the product at hand. Instead, they tell a story or share the brand’s message. Telling a story is the secret to good copywriting and will bring customers back to your eCommerce store.

Whether it's blogs, product descriptions, or web copy, eCommerce copywriting that’s done right helps to stir the imagination and paint a picture of how much better the person’s life will be if they make the purchase.

For brands trying to tell a story through their eCommerce copywriting, it’s important to ask questions like:

  • Who created the product?
  • Why did they make it and what need were they solving?
  • What was the product's journey from beginning to end?
  • How could this product impact a person’s life for the better?

About Pages

One of the best places to share your brand story and messaging is on the About Us page. People go to this page to find out more about the founders of the brand and to discover what sets it apart. According to Groove Commerce, “People want to know why they should buy from you, and these pages provide a space for your brand to clearly say, ‘This is who we are.’”

So, keep category pages concise and to the point. But be sure to build out compelling stories that highlight all of the whos, whats, and whys.

Pay Product Descriptions the Respect they Deserve

Product descriptions are pieces of website copy that often go overlooked. All too many e-tailers fail to sell their product because the product description was bland or uncompelling.

Fortunately, it's easy to take a bad product description and turn it into something magical by making some tweaks and remembering a few key tips for best practices:

  • Focus on benefits over features – Features are nice, but they’re impersonal. Consumers need to know how and why the product and its features will benefit them. Describe how the product will impact them personally.
  • Optimize the product description for SEO – Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in all web copy, and product descriptions are no exception. When you apply SEO techniques to your product description, you enhance the likelihood of it showing up in relevant searches. Common SEO practices for all eCommerce copy includes:
    • Including keywords and long-tail keywords
    • Utilizing title tags and meta descriptions
    • Writing catchy and engaging headers
    • Use image alt-text
    • Optimize for mobile
  • Don’t oversell – The language you use matters, especially when it comes to website copy. People don’t appreciate it when something—be it a show, a product, or an event—gets hyped up and then fails to deliver. When it comes to product copy descriptions, the same applies. In addition, many brands make the mistake of using superlative language that makes their product sound no different from anyone else’s since every product is “sourced from the finest of materials,” “hand-crafted,” “meticulously designed,” etc. Instead, use language that is clear, concise, and realistic.

FAQ Pages Matter

When it comes to search and SEO, FAQ pages are amongst the most powerful copy on an eCommerce website. This is because they directly tie into questions people are already searching for on Google. When done correctly, FAQ pages can increase web traffic and make for a better user experience.

To begin, highlight the most important or likely to be searched questions. From there, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Make it clear and concise – FAQs don’t need to be long paragraphs. They should get to the point so the reader absorbs their answer immediately.
  • Link top questions – While there should be a rhyme and reason to your questions, the most commonly asked ones should be placed at the top.
  • Regularly update the pages – It’s vital that fact pages are up-to-date and accurate. As new features and products are added and the eCommerce business evolves, so too should the FAQ pages.
  • Categorize – Make the reader’s life easier by grouping questions into relevant sections.

Avoid these Writing Faux Pas

Although there are always exceptions to the rule, some general things you should steer clear of when it comes to writing copy include:

  • Long sentences – Beautiful and flowery sentences may work great for literature. They don’t for sales-driven eCommerce copy. Avoid modifiers, independent clauses, and other superfluous descriptions.
  • Write in an active (not a passive) voice – The noun that’s performing the action should always lead. An active voice is more confident, persuasive, and easy to understand.
  • Inconsistent tone – Multiple cooks in the kitchen make for a bad recipe. Same goes for copywriting. Ideally, all of the category pages should be written by one person so that the tone and messaging are uniform from one page to the next. This “person” could also be a thorough writing guide.

Copywriter eCommerce—Enlist the Help of Experts

Truth be told, an eCommerce CEO may not be a great web copywriter, despite their best efforts. Writing is difficult. Effective writing, even more so.

That’s why we exist.

Copycat creates custom, in-house eCommerce writing teams. Each is composed of dedicated wordsmiths who have the expertise brands need to tell their story in a compelling way.

We know how to:

  • Identify your target audience
  • Craft your product into a story
  • Write compelling and pointed product copy descriptions
  • Build out well-positioned FAQ pages

So, if you want to increase traffic, conversions, and sales, you need to step up your eCommerce copywriting game. To do that, you need to enlist the help of experts.

Let us hold that pen for you.

Sources

Entrepreneur. Buyer Personas: What They Are, Why They Matter and How to Best Build One. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/347886

Groove Commerce. eCommerce Copywriting: How to Create Content That Converts. https://www.groovecommerce.com/ecommerce-blog/ecommerce-copywriting/

Neil Patel. How to Write Product Descriptions that Sell. https://neilpatel.com/blog/write-better-product-descriptions/

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