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How to Write Copy that Sells: A Guide to eCommerce Copywriting

Is there such a thing as copy that sells on a website? Science seems to indicate that the answer is yes.  There's no doubt that language affects how people see the world around them. The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis says that language affects both how we see the world and how we think about it. In 2008, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to prove this theory. And over the past ten years, research on eCommerce has shown that copywriting is a key part of making sure that online retail is successful.  For example, a 2014 study looked at how the way people talk about products emotionally affects sales. It was interesting to find that words that showed strong emotions helped sell hedonic products. Another study from 2017 looked at more than 90,000 descriptions of products to try to find writing styles and words that could predict sales. They found that the best results came from using words like "authority," "polite," "informative," and "seasonal."  So, if how you describe your product, present your unique value proposition, or encourage web visitors to convert has a direct effect on your sales, it makes sense that you'll want to improve your website copy.  This guide to writing copy for eCommerce will teach you exactly how to do that: how to use language that sells.  

Why it's Important to have a Great Copy?

Even though a scientific approach to copywriting might not be everyone's cup of tea, investing in your eCommerce website copy has a few clear benefits.  Some of the benefits of making sure your words are just right are: 
  • More Sales: Finding good ways to talk about your products and services is a surefire way to get more visitors to buy, which is good for your bottom line. 
  • More Effective Nurturing: Using the right words at the right time can help you send the right message to your audience at the right time, depending on where they are in the sales funnel. So, if you write your eCommerce copy with the buyer's journey in mind, you'll not only get more leads, but you'll also turn one-time web visitors into brand-loyal customers. 
  • SEO Benefits: Great copy is optimized for search engines. It uses keywords in a strategic way to make your site more visible on SERPs and get you free traffic that you can turn into sales. 
  • Achieving positive feelings and emotional buy-in from customers: One of the best ways to build an emotional connection with your audience and get them to support and promote your business is to get your brand's voice right in your website copy.
  • How to Set Your Brand Apart from the Competition: Website copy is a great way to show people what makes your brand different from others. Remember that consumers might put price and value at the top of their list when making a purchase, but they also choose brands based on trust, reputation, and emotional connection.

How Important it is to Talk to your Customers in their Own Language?

One of the best ways to plan marketing strategies is to focus on things that have been shown to work in the past.  This doesn't just mean keeping an eye on analytical data to see if the ways you write copy are working to get people to buy. But it also means doing constant research on how customers feel to understand their most common problems, changing shopping habits, and most important values (which are currently shifting in most industries).  If you keep these in mind as you write, you'll be able to write the best copy for your website that will appeal to your target audience and help you connect with them through shared values.


When starting to write, many business owners and even some copywriters make a few common mistakes. Without a doubt, the biggest of these is letting themselves go with their guts instead of the facts.  You see, most landing pages and product pages have a copy that seems to fit with what the brand is trying to do. Writers or business owners decide to write copy they think will work without doing research to back up their language choices.  What happened? There are web pages that look and sound great but don't get people to buy anything.  Lucky for us, there is a simple way to avoid this problem: do a lot of research.  By looking for the right clues, brands can effectively find the language and voice that appeals to their target audience. In the end, this leads to better ways to talk about brand values and product benefits, which increases sales.


Getting to know your audience well might be the best way to find language that sells.  Creating buyer personas and understanding their pain points, concerns, and motivations is a crucial step in the copywriting process, as it shows which sales points need to be emphasized. Once you have all of this information, you can use it to improve your product pages or landing pages.   Copywriting sell website write ecommerce


You need to know not only what your audience wants, but also what kind of brand they want to support.  Maybe they're looking for a company they can trust. Or, they might want a brand that is fun and interesting. They might be interested in how things look. Or, they might be looking for a brand that inspires and motivates them to go after their goals.  You have to think about the tone of voice when writing copy for your website. Read the room (that is, learn about your potential customers) and find the best way to talk to them.  You might find that the best way to talk to website visitors is to appeal to their sense of logic. Udemy does this with its no-nonsense, professional tone, which is all about making the brand seem like a reliable place to learn.   Copywriting sell website write ecommerce But you might find that your audience responds better to a motivating tone that appeals to people's need for self-actualization and inspires them to take action to reach their full potential. Monthly has done this, for example.   Copywriting sell website write ecommerce Also, keep in mind that the voice of your brand needs to be the same across all channels, but the tone will change depending on where and what you're trying to say. In other words, your Terms of Service page will have to sound much more professional than the caption to a meme you share on social media.


When you think about everything that goes into writing web copy that sells, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of doing the research and gathering all the relevant information to start.  But the thing is, you probably already have access to a lot of useful information that will help you turn your average website copy into language that actually sells.  For example, a simple Google search can show what people have found helpful when looking for certain keywords.  Because of the search engine's advanced algorithm, the top results will be the ones that have been shown to be relevant to users' searches, provide relevant information, offer high-quality content, and give the best user experience.  You can look at these results to see what words they use, how they put sentences together, and what calls to action (CTAs) they use to get people to convert. Then you can try to figure out how to make what works on these pages work again. Just make sure to add the unique touch of your brand and highlight the things your company does better than the competition.  Then there are the clients you already have. Look for feedback from both people who bought from you once and then went to a competitor and from people who bought from you once and then went to a competitor.  There are a lot of great ways to do research, such as...


The easiest way to improve the text on your website is to talk to people who visit it right now. Just use software for live chat (or, in some cases, chatbots).  Engage people who visit your site, offer to help them, and listen to what they say. Most of the time, they will tell you exactly what they want. Also, they'll use the words that make them feel the most comfortable. This gives you a great chance to find out what keywords and feelings your website copy should include selling your products and services.


Going through your support logs is another great way to find out what language your customers speak. When you know what your current customers are having trouble with, you can not only work to make your products better, but you can also find ways to describe your products more accurately in your copy. This will help you manage customer expectations and prevent disappointments by being more clear about what you promise your clients.


Do you have a lot of people who buy from you more than once? Why not make a survey that will help you find out what your audience is having trouble with? Ask questions such as: 
  • What problem were you trying to solve that brought you to our product or service? 
  • What were your priorities when choosing solutions? 
  • Why did you continue to subscribe to our product/choose a different solution? 
  • Who would you tell other people to buy our product? 
  • Who do you think shouldn't buy our product, and why?
  • What changes would make your experience better or make you want to try our product again?


Copywriters can also learn a lot from the questions your support and sales teams get asked over and over again.  Do people who visit your website often want to know more about how a product works? Do they have questions about shipping or how to pay for things? Any question that comes up more than twice in your company's inbox gives you hints about valuable information that should be on your site.


If your e-commerce business uses CRM software, it might not be a bad idea to look at the information you have about your most loyal customers. Since most of these solutions offer advanced customer insights, it would be silly not to use them to optimize your website for conversions and fine-tune the language you use so that your buyers are happier.


Lastly, don't underestimate the value of product reviews. They are a great place to look if you want to learn about the problems that brought your customers to you, the benefits they liked the most, and the main reasons they didn't want to buy from you.

How to Write Great Copy for Your eCommerce Store?

Now that you know the steps to find the right language, voice, and tone for your brand, it's time to get to work.  But before you come up with a formula and start applying it to all of your distribution channels and digital assets, you have to realize that different formats need different ways of communicating. Because of this, the best way to move forward is to divide your copywriting work into groups based on the type of distribution channel you're writing for.  Here's how to write copy for all of your eCommerce brand's needs that get people to buy.


Since paid ads cost money, one of the best ways to increase ROI is to optimize your copy.  In addition to focusing on the right audience segments and linking to relevant landing pages, there are a few tried-and-true ways to make your PPC campaigns more effective and get more conversions.


Your ad copy should talk about what people want. That is, it must answer the search terms you are bidding for right away.  Don't ask people if they want their problem solved, because of course they do! Just give them a solution that looks good.  Look at how different brands target the search term "buy glasses online" for a great example of how a well-written ad needs to match the user's goals.  On the one hand, there are those who say they sell glasses at a discount or ship them for free. But Zenni, the brand that tells people to "grab great deals," "shop by face shape," and "check out frames under $20," is the clear winner.   Copywriting sell website write ecommerce


When writing ads, it's also a good idea to be as specific as possible.  People like it when you pay attention to the little things and want to buy from brands they know they can trust. That's why using language that makes people feel like they can trust and rely on you is a great way to get more clicks and sales.  Check out the highlighted parts of ads that use the key phrase "pet insurance Australia" for a great example of how you can be specific.  The two companies have done a great job of appealing to pet owners by promising $50 savings, 80% coverage, stating annual limits, and offering flexible payments. This is in contrast to the company that only defines the term and stays on technical details that don't have a chance of selling to buyers in the awareness stage.  


According to a survey done by Econsultancy in 2017, 39% of brands that used personalization in their search engine marketing saw a big increase in conversions, and 54% saw a small increase.  The great thing about this is that you can easily improve your ad copy by adding custom attributes like text, numbers, price, date, etc.  


One of the most important things to think about when writing copy for Facebook ads is what CTA to use. Know that people in different stages of the buyer's journey usually respond to different calls to action.  So, if you want your ads to raise awareness, use something like "learn more," which Mercedes-Benz Cars UK does.  But if you're retargeting people who have already been to your website or even bought something from your online store, you can use more sales-y words like "shop," "call," "buy," "book," etc.  


Lastly, as you write the text for your ads, don't forget to keep an eye on your analytics and data and make changes as needed.  If you find phrases that lead to a lot of conversions, add them to your landing pages. Zenni, whose Google Ad we talked about earlier in this section, did this.  

Posts and Conversations on Social Media

The biggest benefit of a well-thought-out social media strategy is that it lets you meet potential customers where they like to be. Basically, this means you can make people aware of your products or services and tell them what they can do for them without: 
  • A) Spending money on ads;
  • B) Coming off as a brand that’s entirely focused on sales 
But if you want social media marketing to really pay off, you need to know how to write posts that stand out and how to talk to your followers.


Research shows that most young people use social media to find out what's going on in the world or to find funny or interesting content.  This should be a clear sign that you need to make sure your voice on these platforms is exciting and interesting.  You can also write in a funny, edgy, or controversial way, but make sure it fits with your brand. Check out how Lazy Oaf's social media profiles struck the right balance between being likable and being different. And judging by the number of likes and comments, the tone seems to be one that people like.  


Even if you're trying to be funny and friendly, you have to remember that value and trust sell better than design or personality. So, don't forget that your posts still need to be useful and show that you care about giving customers a great experience.  Adobe does a great job writing copy for its social media profiles. Its tweets are easy to read, most of them start conversations, and a good number of them have good value, usually in the form of educational content.  


Lastly, when you're writing copy for your social media profiles, don't forget that your main goal is to get more people to buy from you.  This means that your posts need to have strong calls to action that show how your followers will benefit from going to your website and spending their hard-earned money on your products.  Wolverine does a great job with its Facebook ads, which say that its limited bundle offer will save you 20% if you buy it all at once.  


The goal of the copy on your website, which is your digital business card, should be to show off your brand in a way that will appeal to your target audience and get people to buy.  To get this effect, make sure to use words and phrases that create a connection between your company and your potential customers, show the value you offer, and show that you're a brand that puts its customers first.


In the past few years, shoppers have made a big change toward "conscious consumerism." This means that they want to buy from brands whose values are similar to their own.  So, a simple tip for writing copy is to make sure that your homepage copy reflects the values of your audience. So, you can effectively connect with website visitors and turn them into good leads. Then, you can slowly turn them into repeat customers by giving them good products and services.  Check out how well Transparent Labs does this in the "Our promise" section of its homepage, where it talks about how its products are based on transparency, science-based ingredients, quality, and integrity.  


You should not mess around when it comes to making customers happy. Still, you should keep in mind that the sales copy on your website needs to be interesting enough to make people stop and think about your products.  So try to find the right balance between catchy taglines and strong value propositions that are backed up by data.  This is done very well by SomniFix, which has a header that says "Don't be a mouth-breather" and sounds funny but is followed by solid industry terms and claims.  


Millions of eCommerce stores will be open in 2021, so it's likely that you won't be the only one in your niche. This means, of course, that you have to find a way to show that your store is different and has something new or better than your competitors.  A well-written home page can help you do that. Just think about the things you offer that no one else in your field does.  GILI Sports, for example, figured out that the space-saving design of its products was the thing that made them stand out.  


Website copy is an important part of defining and putting your brand in the right place. But remember that the real goal of your business is to make your customers happy.  So, don't forget to plan the process of writing copy with the customer in mind.  Tell people who visit your website how your products can help them. You don't have to give a lot of details. You can do what Coola does and only use four words. But make sure those words are what your audience wants to hear (and what your brand can deliver).  

Product Pages

Once you've got people's attention, it's time to make your product pages as convincing as possible.  In addition to beautiful photos of your products and a user experience that makes it easy for people to become clients, your copy also plays a role in getting people to buy.  Most of the time, you can increase sales by focusing on the most important parts of your products and using words that your audience likes.  Here are some great ideas for how you can improve your product pages.


One of the best ways to get people to buy is to grab their attention right away when they visit your product pages. Do this by making bold claims, like Apple's claim that the iPhone is the "best phone ever."  Don't forget to show proof to potential buyers that you can do what you say you can do.  Watch the video below to see how Drunk Elephant does it. It gets people's attention by saying that it will "dramatically improve the look of skin's texture, tone, radiance, and bounce." It then backs up this claim by going into detail about the ingredients.  


Another great way to write copy for product pages is to not get stuck on the features.  Yes, the features of your product make it better than those of your competitors, but in the end, your audience doesn't care about the details as long as it can feel the benefits of those features. So try to talk about the benefits that can be seen.  For example, Thomas Farthing doesn't just say that the best wool is used to make sweaters. But instead, it says that they are made "for a lifetime of adventure," which is a great way to show how well-made they are.  


Lastly, don't forget that people don't always decide what to buy based on what they think is best.  Most of the time, they are swayed by words and images that make them feel something, so make sure that your copy makes them feel something.  Take a nostalgic approach, as Mixam does in the video below. Or, you could tell a story about your product. You can even use the problems of your audience to show how well you can meet their needs. Just make sure that your message sticks and that your brand and products are seen as the solution.  

HTML Titles and Meta Descriptions for a Page

As we talk about eCommerce copywriting, it would be silly not to (briefly) mention how important every bit of text about the product you're trying to sell is.  What's the meaning? It's easy. It means that you have to use your copywriting skills on even the smallest parts of your website. This includes not only UX text but also HTML titles and meta descriptions.  Since these are likely the first examples of your brand's language that potential buyers will see, these spaces are a great chance to make a good impression.  Check out Bloom & Wild as an example of a brand that gets it right with its meta descriptions.   As you can see, the meta descriptions that have been added to each page of the brand do a great job of telling customers what they can expect.  The brand's copywriters used emotional language like "surprise" and "delight," and they also made sure that each web section was formatted correctly. They made it very easy for potential customers to find pages that meet their needs. This made it much more likely that website visitors would become buyers.

About Pages

Your About page is another important part of your website that you should not forget about.  As you try to add language that sells to your website, keep in mind that trust, authority, and your brand's values are what drive sales. And what better place than your brand's About page to share these?  In addition to expanding on the values, you listed on your homepage, a well-written About page gives you the priceless chance to tell your brand's story by using emotional language, like this example from Depop.      And it gives you credentials that back up what you know. For example, Icebreaker's "About" page has a lot of information about everything the company does, such as an explanation of the supply chain, a list of the growers of its materials, and even profiles of its employees.     Plus, it can help you connect with people who visit your website by telling them about your mission and how you plan to make people's lives better as Deliverr does.  

Over to You: Increase Ecommerce Sales by Getting the Copywriting Process Right

Here are some of the most important things to remember when writing copy for eCommerce that sells.  As you can see, a lot of what you can do depends on how much research you do and how well you find the right voice for your audience.  But to make sure your copy gets results, try not to make the common mistakes of watering down your language with too much fluff or too many adjectives, writing copy that is sterile and doesn't show your brand's personality, or, worst of all, writing all your copy in one sitting without going back to edit it (or check your grammar).  And, of course, if you want the best results, you will have to keep working to improve the copy on your website.  So don't forget to test, make changes based on the season, and watch how your audience responds. Most likely, they are already giving you the tips you need to write the best copy possible. All you need to do is pay attention.

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