Writing Copy that Converts for E-Commerce5 min read
To the layperson an e-commerce website typically is a multi-product online store and so writing copy means writing engaging product titles and descriptions. This is certainly the case with Amazon product listings.
There is a big difference from the traditional e-commerce store and having effectively a one-page product store though. This approach follows the direct response modal, which essentially is a one-page sales page that aims to pass prospects down a sales funnel to be a customer.
Direct response copy, you know the ones with incredibly long web pages or maybe the video sales lander with the VERY long video. Often referred to as “very long sales copy” or “video sale lander”, is about connecting with the visitor and guiding them down a single path for a single outcome. A conversion. Be it an email address, contact number or in most cases a purchase!
Using this approach is very different from your Amazon product description, and this article looks to dissect how to go about writing copy for e-commerce brands.
Writing Engaging Landing Pages
There is little point in having wonderful prose if at the end of the day no one buys. This is true of having a beautifully designed website as well. Although a well design website can certainly help with conversions it’s also true that an amateur looking site can work equally well.
To get a better understanding of how to write copy that converts, I cannot recommend “The Art of the Click” by Glenn Fisher enough, check out my review of this book here.
I could pretty much cut and paste all of Glenn’s book “the Art of the Click” here, as literally every page contains a nugget of copywriting gold. So, if you haven’t already, go rush out and grab a copy of the Art of the Click from Amazon – I did (and even convinced my friend too as well!)
The process of writing landing page copy that converts ideally should follow a three-stage process:
- Figure out an idea (concept)
- Imagination (content)
- Test (confirm)
Then you rinse and repeat this process to fine tune the angle, then the content and the final message.
It’s All About the Benefits, Baby!
A mistake I did for many years, and still do today, is to talk too much about features and skip over the benefits, or in some cases avoid altogether!
Okay, so it’s useful to know that product X has a special green lid, or that Product Y lasts twice as long as Product Z. This won’t be the number one thing that’s selling your product – it’s all about the benefits.
Why should I buy your product?
HOW WILL IT MAKE ME FEEL?
People buy with feelings first, then features second.
This can take some time getting right, I find myself constantly slipping back into “features” mode. So, I try to always remind myself of the buyers’ feelings and motives for making buying decisions.
Here is an example of a features-based description:
Contains 75 super green ingredients, more than your average high street multi-vitamin and packs more of a punch. You don’t need to take any other supplement every day.
Now, an example of a feelings-based description:
This easy to drink greens powder packed with 75 of the most potent nutrients can ensure your body is working at 100%, keeping you energised during the day – so you keep at the top of your game.
Which one do you think would convert better?
A great exercise recommended by Glenn is to turn a set of features into benefits.
It’s not just about benefits though. Like features, they may not sell just on their own, and if they do not as effectively as one loaded with emotion.
People want a story they can relate to, a narrative that conjures up emotion.
The most efficient way to write great headlines is to follow a practice that Glenn calls “Write. Delete. Repeat”.
This process works because it’s impossible to write outstanding to write outstanding content in one sitting. So, it’s only through a process of iteration that you can tease out your sharp, killer content.
Even through gripping content can disrupt and evoke attention, you want to ensure it’s believable and not an outlandish hyperbolic claim.
Because there is a real danger of causing mistrust between you and the reader, something you want to avoid at all costs.
You only make sales or conversions when the visitor trusts you. I mean who gives money or their email address to someone they don’t trust?
Do’s and Don’ts of Copywriting
Following these simple tips to ensure you keep on the right track.
- Ideas should be the priority and not the presentation
- Don’t try to be too clever – simply the better
- Has to be credible (believable) – not incredible
- Don’t try to change opinion
- Confirm what they already believe
Marketing Angles and Using Landing Pages
When I say “angle” I am of course talking about marketing angles. It’s the creative approach to marketing.
All marketing campaigns should be using a particular angle. When researching my green supplement competitors it’s clear how some of the brands are positioning themselves.
The approach I am taking is to have a more generic home page website that appeals to a wider audience and then having specific pages (called landing pages) targeted to a specific audience.
This way I am not trying to create a “one size fits all” home page that I know won’t tick all the boxes for audiences I wish to test out.
For example, my Super Greens supplement would be great for competitive athletes and also busy mums looking for more energy to help them juggle kids and household chores, both will be attracted to different pain points.
This is where the benefit of having a self-hosted solution comes in as I can have multiple embedded carts throughout different landing pages, all having the same pricing (or not) if I wish. I go through this setup in developing my supplement e-commerce website post, check it out.
So, whilst initially I will go live with the broader home page copy, I will be creating specific landing pages to target smaller sub-markets.
If you’re really struggling with working out what angles to use for your product, then I suggest trying this service anglesaurus.com/. For a one-off fee of $100 his team with brain storm angles you can try for your business.
For practical reasons I am not going to outline the angles and specific landing page niches openly here. This is something I won’t be revealing here for obvious reasons – sorry!
TIP: Thesaurus is Your Friend
A great tip that I found incredibly useful is the use of an online Thesaurus. We all tend to use the same adjectives when describing things and sometimes these can be a little bland.
This is very handy when you find you’re using the same words over and over again. It pays to mix things up and use more breath-taking words (see I used it here for breath taking instead of “exciting”)!
Simply type in your usual adjective into the website below and up will pop lots of variations for you to try.
The Bottom Line
Writing engaging copy is part art, part science.
There are techniques that work, but you shouldn’t take a set and forget approach. For once you have written copy you should ALWAYS split test this and go through a process of continual refinement.
Following the do’s and don’ts of direct-response copy can keep you on the right track, but you still need to be creative to figure out a believable but imaginative message.
If you struggle coming up with creative copy, then you may find this process difficult – so feed your imagination with lots of stimuli and check out what other people are doing for inspiration. If all else fails, then try out some services that can do this for you.
I am about to start the process of defining my first set of landing that will follow the direct response approach. The aim is to resonate with a particular audience; ideally this triggers an emotional response leading to a conversion.
Stop writing about features and get focusing on the benefits for your audience and ensure it resonates with them. If it does, great. You will have them reaching for their credit card and see a nice bump in your bottom line!