ecommerce-copywriting-tips

What do some of the best ecommerce brands have in common? As well as great products and loyal brand advocates, they are likely to have an excellent grasp of language.

Without great copy, you simply won’t be able to sell your products effectively, let alone create a customer community. From advertising the benefits of your offering over the competition, to clearly laying out the expectations of your returns policy, copywriting matters. Copy will help you convert web browsers into ecommerce customers — fact.

If you’re struggling to put words together, or just want some inspiration on how to freshen up your ecommerce copy, here are some customer-centric ecommerce copywriting tips to help you put sales back on the agenda.

Why great ecommerce copywriting matters

First, let’s start with why you simply have to invest in great copy for your online store:

  1. It might sound obvious, but great copy will increase your brand equity. Good writing takes time and practice, so showing your copy some love will help you position your brand further up the food chain.
  2. Great copywriting is a differentiator. Household brands like innocent and Lush have developed their brand personas around witty product copy. 
  3. Good copy means more sales. Copy helps you communicate value, purpose, and price in a way that will appeal to your customers.
  4. Organic traffic can be greatly improved through good ecommerce copywriting. Smart use of keywords will help you capture more relevant traffic. 
  5. Bad copywriting is often rooted in an inadequate understanding of SEO and customer language. Good copywriting shows people that you really understand your target market.

There is no one foolproof ecommerce copywriting formula to follow, but there’s plenty of sound advice based on what’s worked for other ecommerce brands in the past…

Lead with great product stories

The problem with ecommerce copywriting is that is a tendency to commit either one of these cardinal sins:

  1. Write about your products too closely (boring)
  2. Write about everything and anything except your products (irrelevant).

As an ecommerce writer, you need to maintain balance between overdoing product-led content, and going on a crazy tangent that has nothing to do with your sales goals.

The best way to get the balance right is to lead with great product stories. Bring the human element of what you sell to the foreground and feature customer success stories, customer quotes, and real life product examples throughout your online store. This type of customer storytelling will appeal to your customers more than slick sales copy. 

The best product stories? Ones that feature a very strong emotional message, a personal triumph, or a healthy dose of humour.

Clarity wins every time

One of the main mistakes merchants make with ecommerce copywriting?

Trying too hard to sound clever, or coating your copy with too many adjectives, unnecessary jargon, and confusing imagery. It’s essential that your ecommerce copy takes clarity seriously.

  1. Clear copy is essential to plugging any leaks in your ecommerce conversion funnel. Customers can get easily confused and distracted, so clear copy will help them stay focused on completing the funnel and getting to that essential call-to-action.
  2. Something that seems obvious or funny to you, may not be appealing to your customers. Focus groups and user testing can help you benchmark your copy and remove any unhelpful ‘fluff.
  3. Even from an accessibility point of view, you have a duty of care to provide users with concise and clear copy. Your ecommerce copy can sell and entertain, but not mislead.

Don’t try too hard to imitate the cool kids

Try-hard brands are not a good look. It’s important to understand and appreciate customer language, but not take it too far and try to imitate people in a way that all too often makes brands sound desperate to be ‘cool’.

Yes, you’re a brand and a community, but don’t lose sight of the primary function of your business: to sell products. Veer too far from that, and you’re likely to alienate and confuse your customers.

Make sure any colloquialisms you use are appropriate — you don’t want to alienate large swathes of the population with the language you use.

Lead with niche expertise

Niche content is a good strategy for both customer loyalty and SEO. Covering a wide range of niche-specific topics will help boost your ecommerce website traffic. 

So-called long-tail keywords that relate back to your product-led keywords are often a web traffic goldmine. As well as helping customers answer specific questions about your products, they can help educate and engage whole new customer groups. 

You can also widen the net and write content around relevant topics that have a good amount of crossover with your niche. 

For example, if you sold custom leather belts, you might create content around customisable gift ideas, cool gift ideas for dads, unique wedding gifts, the best ways to wear jeans, different kinds of belts, belt tooling ideas etc.

Some great tools that can help you do niche and keyword research:

  1. Wordtracker
  2. SpyFu
  3. Keyword Discovery

How you position yourself matters

Where you position your brand matters. The words you use and your language influence how people see you, so think long and hard about how your brand talks to its customers.

Audience research and market research should form the basis of your copy positioning. You want to present a warm and relatable face to your customers, ensuring you don’t alienate any single one customer group. Testing out slogans with focus groups and getting customer feedback on product pages and blogs is a great way to get real-time copy advice from the people who matter the most.

Good ecommerce copywriting works in harmony with the rest of your brand aesthetic. It should be another extension of your overall brand story and vision.

Talking to your customers shouldn’t be hard — but you do need to stop and think before putting pen to paper if you want to make the right impression. Ecommerce copywriting must navigate between sales, engagement, and clarity. Put customer needs first and you will already be 75% there.


Rodney Laws

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Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsior

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