I bet copy isn’t the first element you associate with conversions.
Whenever you try to increase the number of people buying from your store, you look at design, calls to action, navigation, placement of various other elements and more other factors.
But not the copy.
Yet the words on your site affects sales greatly.
Copy influences how people see your brand. Your tone of voice can either attract or repel customers from your brand. And the information you provide might be enough or insufficient for them to fall in love with it.
It helps to build confidence in you. When visitors land on your site, they not only want to know if you can provide them with a solution but also, if they can trust you. And since your copy is your only way to communicate with them, this is what they base their first impression on.
It can help you show personality. Personality is what actually gives people the assurance to buy from you. Only if they like who you are, they might buy from you. But if you sound too corporate or too casual, you might put them off.
In other words,
Whatever he or she says to the customer will influence their buying decision. They can persuade, push and even trick customers to buy.
But their words can also scare them away.
Words are persuasive. They communicate your value and make it clear why your visitors should buy from you. Mess them up and your website will be like that sales man who doesn’t know when to shut up. Or that store attendant who doesn’t even pay attention to new customers entering the store.
Needless to say, neither of them will get much business.
Nor will your site if it features poor content.
There are a number of different types of ecommerce copy you need to write:
Transactional. This is all the boring info about who you are and how you do the business. Terms and conditions, shipping info or payment options fall under this category as well. And this requires a thought through approach to not to leave the customer wondering about the obvious details.
Landing Pages. These are all pages that aim to attract and convert visitors into buyers. Home page is often your main landing page, followed by category pages and any other, keyword-driven ones.
Product descriptions. Copy that aims to portray your products is your main sales tool online. Quite often though, stores leave default descriptions sent by producers. In doing so they send a clear message to a customer – we don’t know the product and don’t care about telling you about it in our own words.
Microcopy. This is the most forgotten element of your web copy. Microcopy are those short messages you use to communicate with customers. Something went wrong with the purchase – that error message you display to a client is your opportunity to show your personality.
Yet in most cases, they are left as default, showing only boring and often unclear information.
There are three main things that will affect how your customers perceive your copy:
To help conversions your copy should relate to what the visitor is hoping to see when she types a search phrase to Google for instance. It should also use the language of your visitors and communicate with them in the way they understand. Otherwise it might leave them feeling disoriented and forced to exit the site with a bang.
Your copy should also very clearly articulate your store’s value proposition, benefits of buying from you (and buying your products too) and your authority to build visitor’s trust in you.
Customers like to sit on making a decision. If allowed they will prolong it until they either find a better option or run out of other options to try. Therefore your copy should create some sense of urgency and indicate to them that the action must be taken now.
In business, especially ecommerce, everything starts with how different you are from your competitors. You communicate this through your value proposition. It is the single reason that makes you different from other stores selling similar products.
One way to develop your value proposition is by completing this statement:
“My customers buy from me because…”
Imagine a corporate customer entering a store. He wears an expensive suit, coupled with equally pricey watch. His shoes are impeccable and shine so much that you could use them as a mirror.
How do you think he’s going to speak? What words you’d expect him to use?
Now imagine that he approaches you. But the first sentence he says is filled with cursing.
How would you react to that?
Your visitors might react the same if you don’t sound like they expect you to. If you sell hipster clothes, don’t sound like as if you were on some corporate meeting.
Meet their expectations.
This advice also relates to your microcopy. Every message you show a client should match the tone of voice your audience expects from you.
Benefits sell. I am sure you’ve heard this a million times before. But I bet your copy still focuses on technical aspects of a product rather than emotional benefits for the user.
Yet in order to engage with the visitor and push them to select a given product, you need to communicate what your product actually does for the customer not what it’s technical aspects are.
Stating features is a much easier task, I agree. In most cases, it just means repeating the information from the product packaging.
But instead of doing this, consider why your customer would want to buy a product. Next, think what emotional state will he be in once the product does its job. And then target that emotional state with your copy.
Have you ever realised that a particular store doesn’t ship to your location only when you were trying to pay for your goods? Or that they don’t support your preferred payment method?
How did that made you feel?
I guess you weren’t too happy about it. After all, the product was already within your reach. All you had to do is pay for it and await delivery.
But then it turned out that you can’t have it. Not from this store anyway.
The situation would be different if the store owners communicated such obvious information as their payment options or shipping details, wouldn’t it?
Your customers will feel the same if you fail to communicate information what might seem obvious to you. It doesn’t matter how dull it might be, if this is an information that might help the customer, state it openly.
Don’t exaggerate or make false claims in your copy. It’s easy to make promises about your product or your service that aren’t true. Unfortunately once found out they can hurt your store’s reputation badly.
Unfortunately not many businesses take this advice into heart. According to Accenture survey, 62% of customers who experienced a broken promise from a company say the company broke multiple promises it made to them.
Lastly, in spite how tempting it might be, don’t pretend you are bigger than you really are.
In today’s world, brands are everything, I agree. But this doesn’t mean that a small brand can’t make an impact on their customers. In fact, revealing the truth about who you are might help customers connect with you better. If you’re working on your store from your garage shed, don’t hide it. Customers prefer to buy from humans than faceless corporations. They want to hear your story and if it resonates with them, they will value it more than anything else.