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January 4, 2017

eCommerce Copywriting for Awesome Engagement and Sales

Most people have no idea that copywriting is different from content writing. While both tasks involve content, the main purpose of copywriting is to compel the reader to take a desired action. It may be to buy something, registering for a newsletter, following a brand, posting a review, making a comment and so on. As such, it is a part of a marketing strategy just like content writing, but in a more direct, active manner.

Because you want something to happen, you have to engage the audience enough so that you accomplish your goal. As ‘Father of Advertising’ and businessman David Ogilvy said: “When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

In the online world, your website is one big advertisement and, increasingly, the only thing to which most people pay attention. You want to make sure your website is geared toward awesome engagement and sales by having great copy.

Writing persuasive copy is not hard if you pay close attention to some pretty basic principles. If you really think about it, much of that is common sense. Here are some tips for effective eCommerce copywriting.

Keep it simple and straightforward

The most important thing you need to remember is that people are more likely to listen to you when you tell it to them straight. A common mistake of many copywriters is getting lost in their own words. They go on and on using vague references and complicated language before finally getting to the point, which may have been summed up in one or two sentences right at the start. Delaying the reveal for dramatic effect too often will make your copy tedious.

I myself tend to skip e-mails or sales pages that won’t tell me what they’re selling right off, because it looks like too much work to read, much less understand.

When copywriting:

  • Avoid long sentences – Sentences should be no more than 15 to 20 words. Any longer than that and it can be difficult to scan. You also risk making some grammatical gaffes grappling with those compound complex sentences. Commas are good, but periods are your friends. Break up long complex sentences into two short ones, and watch your readership soar.
  • Avoid jargon and cliches – Using technical terms is OK if there is no other way to put it, but if you are using jargon just to sound impressive, you could be putting your readership on the bounce. The same goes with cliches. Sometimes, these oft-repeated and heard phrases can really express what you mean, but in most cases, it’s just fluff. Try your best to keep them out of your copy altogether,
  • Speak simply – Express yourself as directly and in as few words as you can without sounding like you’re dumbing it down. Talk to your audience as you would if they were in the same room, and you are late for an appointment.
  • Active voice – The active voice is preferred mostly because you use fewer words overall, and it denotes action. For example, instead of saying, “This product was bought by millions of people,” you should say, “Millions of people bought this product.”

Direct-response marketing guru Jay Abraham perhaps said it best:

“Make your copy straightforward to read, understand and use. Use easy words; those that are used for everyday speech. Use phrases that are not too imprecise and very understandable. Do not be too stuffy; remove pompous words and substitute them with plain words. Minimize complicated gimmicks and constructions. If you can’t give the data directly and briefly, you must consider writing the copy again.”

Make sure your copy is professional

The one thing you don’t want is for the site to look unprofessional. Failing to populate all your product pages is the biggest no-no, mainly because you’ve just lost the opportunity to persuade your readers to engage. It is like buying a whole page in a newspaper and leaving it blank except for the title. It also makes you appear careless, especially if your product page has “Lorem ipsum” in it.  Other common errors in eCommerce copywriting are:

  • Using an inconsistent tone – Most websites have several copywriters working on different parts of the site, most likely with different writing styles. If you’re not vigilant, you will end up with a hodgepodge of copy with different characters. You need to lay down guidelines for the tone of the site and put one person in charge of reviewing the copy to make sure the copywriters follow it, as well as ensure there are no embarrassing grammatical or typographical errors in the copy.
  • Ignoring convention – While creativity is usually a plus in business, it can backfire badly when it confuses your audience. Most people look for certain conventions when they visit a site, so while putting “Bite Me!” instead of “Buy” on the button might sound cute, some people might hesitate to click because they’re not sure what they’re doing. Reserve the outside-the-box thinking for your promotions, and follow conventions for crucial aspects of your site.
  • Overhyping – You’re purpose is to sell your products. Exaggerating the quality and benefits of your products and services might get you a few sales, but you do so at the risk of getting really bad reviews after that can cost you a lot, maybe even your business. Strive for authenticity in your copy to build trust, and your online reputation will remain pristine.

Also here are some samples of web pages with amazing copyright:

Shopify – Sell Clothes Online

MetaPress – How to Create a Website

Website Setup – How to Build Website with Drupal

Know your audience

Last, but perhaps the most important thing you need to know for effective eCommerce copywriting, is your audience. You can do this by establishing your buyer persona. It can take quite a bit of work, but without it, you have no way of knowing if your copy is going to resonate with the right people. They will most likely belong to one of the following personas:

  • Logical
  • Impulsive
  • Caring
  • Aggressive

When you have established for whom you are writing, it will dictate the tone of your copy, the way you present your information, use of social media, and the products and services you should promote. The response will be different for each persona, so you have to make sure you’re crafting your copy in a relevant way to your prospective clients.

Conclusion

eCommerce copywriting that engages and sells follows a well-trodden road, but the experience is different for each copywriter and website. These basic rules can guide you in the right direction. What you do from that point is up to you.


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Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer for Grit.ph. He also has an extensive background in online marketing. You can follow him on Twitter @easyvince

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