There is a simple formula for creating a high-performance eCommerce site: Better Copy = Better Results.
Naturally, every component of your site is important - layout, images, fonts, colours – all contribute to a positive overall user experience. But while the design might attract, it’s the copy that converts.
OK – so how do you go about creating the content for conversion?
First Impressions Matter
The first thing you must come to terms with is that (almost) nobody came to your site specifically looking for your company. Sorry, but they just don’t care about you – they care whether you can solve their problem.
Once they find you, every page they encounter on your site has one role: advance them on the path to purchase.
So, starting with your home page, that sense that they’ve come to the right place needs to be apparent instantly – remember the 5 second rule? Your initial proposition has to be strong, easy to understand, and convince them that their problem can be solved here.
Note: Your homepage is all about focus on the customer, not how great you are. As Donald Miller from Storybrand said, “Your website is not a place to celebrate yourself.” You can talk yourself up later; just don’t bash them over the head with it when they first arrive.
Benefits First, Then Features
You know the expression; “sell the sizzle, not the steak?” The first thing most people want to know about what you sell is what it will do for them. In what way will it enhance their lives. (Yeah, we’re all self-centered like that.)
So don’t lead with the exhaustive bullet-point list of features. First, tell ‘em how much more wonderful their lives are going to be when they make the decision to purchase…
How it does, that can be interesting and should be included. But the features are often viewed as a measurable justification for the emotional decision they’ve already made in their mind.
Use the Voice of the Customer
When you’re describing the benefits, express them in the same way that your prospects would; the voice of the customer.
On the face of it, that can mean simply being more conversational than technical.
But there are a number of different ways you can find examples of your customers' natural language.
For example, look at customer reviews for companies in your related industry.
Ask for feedback from your existing customers to hear about their issues in their own words.
And encouraging engagement on your social media channels will give you great insights.
Using the ‘voice’ of the customer in your site’s content reassures them that you’re on their ‘level’ and understand their problems.
Xero, a small business software company, tick the right boxes with their homepage: Strong, simple image – strong, simple benefit statement in casual language.
Less is Usually More
Way too often, we’re sure you’ve seen for yourself; companies are so in love with their product or service that they can’t stop going on about it.
The result can be confronting readers with overwhelming slabs of impenetrable text. Potential customers glaze over and move on.
In order to turn a prospect into a customer, you have to get to the point – fast. Conversion copy isn’t the same as writing a blog - every word of every line needs to be intentional.
Keep Content Driven by User Intent
Ultimately, your converting content needs to go hand in hand with the primary objective – being found.
To do this, you need to separate from your own view of your product/service and put yourself in your prospective customers’ shoes – what are they looking for?
What fundamental problem is your product the answer to?
Are your benefits clearly expressed?
Could someone who knows nothing about your product navigate through your site?
As search engines become increasingly sophisticated, the bots get closer to interpreting searchers’ needs.
But remember how we said features should be included? Those details are often searched and can quickly get you down at the pointy end of the purchase funnel.
‘About You’ is Really ‘About Them’
When you finally get to talk about yourself, just make sure it’s not all chest-thumping.
Of course, you can list achievements but express them in a way that shows how you helped people solve their problems.
Your values, history, mission statement, vision should all be framed from the perspective of how it serves the #1 party in this communication: the customer.
They should come away with a stronger sense of being comfortable doing business with you.
“Don’t Take Our Word For It.”
As connected as you might be with the content you write yourself – nothing resonates with potential customers like testimonials, AKA social proof.
If you’ve been in business for a while already, there’s a good chance that reviews of your company will pop up in search. Of course, you have no control over what appears there. (Other than provide such amazing service that people can only say the most flattering things about you!)
But it’s perfectly fine to pick and choose what testimonials you publish on your own site. As long as they’re not made up – ooh, don’t be caught doing that – you can present the reassuring side of satisfied customers.
When All’s Said and Done…
Be clear, be concise, be genuine. Talk from the heart – it’ll show.