This article about eCommerce copywriting is a generous contribution from Victoria Greene, who is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she offers advice on eCommerce and how copywriters can hone their craft. She is a passionate follower of sales copywriting and customer-centric advertising.

Where would an eCommerce site be without good copy?

At the back of the queue, scrambling to look over the shoulders of its better heeled peers, and hoping for one of them to slip over and present an opportunity to get a step closer to the front?

It wouldn’t even BE in the queue.

At best, it would be somewhere round the corner, listening to the rumblings of the rest of the eCommerce sites… trying desperately to hear where the chatter was coming from.

Good copy benefits both copywriters and eCommerce owners: copywriters get additional work and eCommerce owners get more site traffic.

It pays to make sure your copywriter knows how to make your eCommerce copy sing.

The bottom line: good copy increases revenue.  

I outline a 10 point eCommerce copy checklist to help you maximize revenue. At each stage of the process, ask yourself:

Does my eCommerce copy bring me closer to my commercial goals?   

Know Your Brand

First question: what is the eCommerce site like? What does their mission statement say about their values?

Having a clearly defined vision of your brand, values, and objectives will make your copy speak with more authority.

This authority will be passed onto customers in the form of brand coherence. To create a consistent brand experience, you need to first know what you’re talking about.

Know Your Product

It’s all well and good having a great brand — one that your customer can believe in, but they didn’t come to your eCommerce site to pay corporate homage.

Your copy must have a clear grasp of the actual product(s) you are selling. You must know and understand what problems your customers are having, so you can tell them how your product solves their problems.

Don’t just focus on obvious features and benefits — dig deeper into your customer’s mind with in-depth and useful product knowledge. Communicate product benefits and features effectively using clear language. Add a few textual flourishes here and there as long as it does not detract from your intended message.

Tell Stories

eCommerce customers don’t want War and Peace, but that doesn’t mean that your copy shouldn’t tell a story. You want to tug on your customers’  heartstrings. Make sure your copy doesn’t come across as too bland or generic.

Need help with finding a good story? Start by taking any of the problems discussed above and narrate the problem, solution, and outcome. Explore metaphors and analogies. Make it a hell-to-heaven story, but don’t be too predictable.

Speak the Same Language As Your Customers

You want your copy to speak to your customers. Make it personal so that they can form a deeper connection with the products you are selling. The best way to do this is to simply use the language your customers are already using.

There are free keyword checkers available to help you with this.

You can also use free forums such as Quora to find out what your customers are talking about online.

Finally, check out this article about SEO.

Write for Your Target Personas

It’s not enough for your eCommerce copy to speak to your customers, it needs to speak to the right version of your customer.

There are four principle customer types. Each of these four will want different things from your eCommerce site. Your copy needs to connect with all of them:

  1. Logical persona: scrutinizes your offer in order to establish that it offers them the best deal.
  2. Impulsive persona: focuses on the benefits of the product.
  3. Caring persona: establishes the good that your product is doing.
  4. Aggressive persona: wants self improvement from your product.

Use Power Words

Power words are about evoking emotion. Connecting with your customer on an emotional level with make them more invested in your brand and product,  also making them more likely to actually buy your product.

Examples of power words include:

  • Because
  • Free  
  • Instantly
  • New
  • You

Where possible, place power words into your copy so it becomes part of your customer’s decision making process.

Use Action Words

While power words are designed to influence your customer’s decisions, action words are designed to direct customers towards purchasing your product.

Examples of action words include:

  • Act
  • Buy
  • Choose
  • Push
  • Taste

Action words make your copy seem and feel more real and visceral.

Address any objections

Even if your copy is great, your customers may still have some objections about making a purchase from your eCommerce site.

By incorporating FAQs into your copy (including them in product descriptions), you’ll answer most of your customers’ questions. Address their objections at the same time as selling them the benefits of your product.

Call to Action

Some of the characteristics of your eCommerce site’s call to action will be the domain of the web designer, such as: placement, size and shape, and color. However, the text is still important and this is your chance for your copy to do its job.

Make sure the copy for your call to action is: clear, simple, and decisive.

You don’t want your customers to question what they are doing on your eCommerce site. You want them to follow your instructions and buy your products. Design your copy in a way that makes it easy for them to do so.

Design

Copywriters are writers and marketers, not web designers. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to consider how your copy looks when it’s finally live. Even the best copy in the world will have its message muted or rendered redundant if your customers can’t read it. Consider:

  1. Accessability
  2. Coherence
  3. Brand perception
  4. Copy ‘flow’

As a copywriter, try to learn the ins and outs of Content Management Systems on popular platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Shopify. Becoming technically adept at using those systems will allow you to build an online experience that presents your copy in a way that’s clear for your customers to digest, and will do your words justice!

The Main Takeaway

Any successful site selling products will be underpinned by good eCommerce copywriting. Well-crafted copy gives your brand a voice and allows your products to make their case to your customers for buying them ahead of your competitors.

By reviewing the 10 points on this eCommerce copywriting checklist, you will get an idea of where you rank in the queue for your customers attention and how effective your copy is in achieving your bottom line: increasing your revenue.