This is a guest post by Patrick Foster, ‘the ecommerce guy’. Over to you Patrick!
Bad ecommerce content stinks. And product pages usually get it the worst. People focus on the edgy blog or the sexy social media posts, neglecting the humble product page; filling it with bland factory floor language.
It’s time to stop treating product descriptions like product labels – let’s make them into the awesome stories and sales pitches that they deserve to be.
Here are some product page strategies to help you with your online copywriting – say goodbye to boring product pages and wage war on the blank page.
Think about the customer, not the product
Selling industrial-strength bleach? You’re not bleach; and your customer isn’t bleach either.
Think about the person on the other side of that screen.
There is no niche, no product, that is simply ‘too boring’ for great writing.
1. Connect with the emotional elements of what you are selling, no matter how obscure at first. Once you are able to get emotional about the sale, you will be able to access a much more interesting and compelling syntax.
2. Write down all the questions, concerns, and thoughts a customer might have when considering a purchase; no matter how small, or strange. These questions and comments should help guide you write on a more natural, conversational way.
3. Everyone knows you need to stress product benefits for the consumer, not list out product features. Keep checking in with your core benefits.
By focusing on the customer, not the product, your copy will be a lot more natural and people-focused.
Imbibe everything with a brand voice
Does your brand voice sound like a nasal people-pleaser who’s trying to impress the guys in sales? Or like someone who’s given up ever getting what they want? Revisit your brand voice now (or come up with one quick – here are pro-tips on where to start from master copywriter Ann Handley).
1. The mistake that brands often make is that they play it too safe and end up settling on a corporate voice, not a voice that their customers actually want to listen to. Come up with a brand character and personality to help you combat blandness.
Freaker USA is a great example of a brand who have embraced a distinctive and quirky brand voice in order to transform their drink insulator business into a cool and edgy lifestyle brand. Here’s how they approach product pages:
Even a product category header can be a place to be creative! The colorful banner and the tongue-in-cheek typography are ‘so Freaker’.
Talking directly to the user in a conversational and funny tone works better than listing out features (or even benefits) in dry bullet points. You get the same information across, but you (and your customer) have WAY more fun doing it. Note the use of CAPS LOCK and punctuation to make the copy more dynamic.
Fun product names that reference American pop culture transform each product into a micro-story – allowing customers to relate to the products on a more intimate level. They also make the products easy to gift to people.
Word of warning: Being too ‘clever’ or ‘cutesy’ can backfire, so make sure you brand voice doesn’t become too dense. It’s fine to be sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek, but only if your customers ‘get’ it.
What’s your product story?
Great copy comes from having a great story. If you write your product pages in a more narrative frame of mind, you’ll get a lot more out of them.
1. Focus on the people behind the products, or bring your products into context with their provenance or production. Try out different stories and configurations until you find one that ‘fits’.
2. Stories don’t always have to be grand and complicated, simple ones work too. Storytelling is all about injecting life into your product pages and making people see beyond what’s in front of them.
Mollyjogger “field, forest and stream” is an Ozarks lifestyle brand whose product pages read like an all-American classic. Highly stylized and narrative, these outdoor products each tell a story of heritage, family, and discovery. Started by Rick Stagner, a fourth generation Ozark shopkeeper, and built with Shopify rather than bricks; this store is a shining example of how a great product story and brand can help launch anyone into the world of ecommerce success.
Consistency and branding
Maintain a consistently high standard across all your different content channels and invest time and money into developing a cohesive brand you’re proud to share with the world.
1. Even small details like where your product is made, your ‘add to basket’ call-to-action, and your returns policy can be expressed in a more interesting way. There are thousands of ways of expressing even the simplest things – why not say what you have to say with more personality?
2. Balance aspirations with reality; people don’t trust things that look too good to be true. Agree on consistent brand guidelines so that you offer a coherent experience.
3. Products should be shown in the best possible light, but they need to also be true to life. Photograph products from many different angles and always give a clear indication of size. Inaccurate sizing is a customer pet peeve; it leads to disgruntled reviews and customer returns.
4. You should also factor in inclusivity – are you excluding certain people from your store and your products? How accessible are you making your products?
5. You don’t want to have a hyped-up sales pitch on every single product page – learn how to write non cheesy sales copy.
Lush USA has a detailed ingredients list on every single product page which highlights the difference between natural ingredients and synthetics – it almost acts as a product glossary. The on-brand content model helps the savvy customer make an informed decision about buying the product. The subtext here: we’re so good, we’ve got nothing to hide. This level of transparency and openness about their ingredients goes to the very core of what Lush are trying to achieve as a brand.
Feeling lost in a sea of copy? Get some professional copywriting help and training to help kick start your ecommerce sales. Don’t settle for mediocre product page copy ever again! Respect your customers and give them what they deserve– good words.
What’s your biggest online copywriting challenge right now?