As we head into the busiest time of year for retailers and eCommerce companies, many marketers working in those industries are seeing the culmination of their year’s efforts.
So while this year’s efforts may be coming to fruition now, it’s important to look ahead to what you can do next year to take your SEO and conversions to new heights.
With that in mind, we recently hosted a webinar with Brian Hennessy, CEO of Talkoot and former Global Writing Director at Adidas, that explored what the world’s most successful brands are doing to create amazing product copy.
In short – Brian really, really knows how to write amazing product copy, and I haven’t met anyone else as passionate about product stories as he is.
If you didn’t catch the webinar, here’s the recording:
I also want to highlight some of the key takeaways from the webinar.
Information Confirms. Stories Convert.
Brian’s first point was a great one. When it comes to writing product copy, many brands don’t put a ton of effort into each individual product, and what gets produced is rather short and tends to provide descriptive information about the product and little else.
Those types of descriptions do have value, but Brian’s point is that they’re most likely going to confirm information that shoppers who are already seriously evaluating a product already know and give them a small nudge to make the purchase.
Shoppers who are undecided are unlikely to be convinced to buy based on this type of product copy. But, if you craft a compelling product story and establish an emotional connection with this shopper, they may just convert.
This screenshot shows product pages for two very similar axes from Best Made and Lowe’s. Brian highlighted that despite being very similar and largely serving the same purpose, Best Made’s axe costs around 8 times what Lowe’s does.
How are they able to charge more?
A big part of it comes down to their product copy. Lowe’s example basically just lists the key features of the product, whereas Best Made’s tells a rich story about the axe’s design, manufacture and uses. The story builds intrigue and helps the buyer feel connected and invested in the product.
That adds to perceived value and makes shoppers more likely to convert.
eCommerce SEO Helps You Write the Way Shoppers Buy
As marketers, we know that SEO is really important. It can drive a ton of traffic to eCommerce sites, and that traffic is more likely to convert than traffic from most paid sources.
In the webinar, we highlight that by discovering the search terms and intent that your customers are using when they search online in Google and other search engines, you can discover what they’re looking for and craft your content to match.
Shoppers are using Google to help them as they make their buying decision and move through the buyer’s journey. Keywords can help you get insight into that.
By doing the proper keyword research, you can find keywords that represent different stages of the buyer’s journey for people that could buy all your different types of products.
Consider the example of someone who is thinking about buying a tent.
At the awareness phase, he might be looking for general information on the different types of tents available and would search Google for a broad keyword like “tents.” You’d want to make sure you have a good blog post or category page covering this topic in-depth to help him learn and also get him into your funnel.
At the consideration phase, he might have narrowed his search down to a particular type of tent and would be searching for longer tail keywords like “pop-up tents.” This is a great place for you to create an informative category page description that explores the benefits of pop-up tents. You can then link off to specific models to get him engaging with your product stores and push for the conversion.
Finally, at the decision phase, he’s largely identified the type of tent and likely a specific model he wants. His search in Google will be very long tail and likely show commercial intent. He might search for “buy Coleman pop-up tent”. Traffic from these types of searches is extremely high value and close to converting, and also almost always link to product pages, which is why so many brands put so much effort into crafting product stories that are SEO-optimized and designed to convert.
The Product Content Lifecycle
You’re familiar with the product supply chain, but have you thought of writing product content in that context?
One of Brian’s points was that there’s a lot that goes into writing just one product story – research, writing, review and QA, editing, publishing, optimizing, etc. The process will vary a bit depending on your company, but his point was that defining your process is key and ensuring you’ve built the right team and collection of tools to efficiently follow the process is critical.
This is something that we’ve done at Crowd Content with our Enterprise content team. Depending on the project, we have defined processes, tools and teams for each step of the process:
4. Quality Assurance
Brian goes over some great tips on how to set this up, so be sure to check out this section of the webinar replay.
Good Product Copy is Fresh Product Copy
Most major brands are constantly refreshing their product copy.
For a number of reasons:
- Google’s Freshness Algorithm. Freshness is a dedicated ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, so the simple act of refreshing your content can help you realize a ranking boost. It looks at how much of your content you refresh, how often and what percentage of your text is refreshed. Think of it like this – if you see content that hasn’t been updated in a long time, wouldn’t you also think it’s losing relevance?
2. SEO performance. Content is the most important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. If your product pages aren’t ranking well, you’ve ensured your other on-page factors are optimized and you have high domain authority, there’s a good chance your content could be updated to help give you a ranking boost. Things you can look at improving are your freshness, match with search intent, topic completeness, readability and crafting better content than competing content that currently outranks you.
3. Seasonality. How your shoppers interact with your products may vary depending on the season. Think of how you’d position a t-shirt in the summer versus winter:
In the summer you want to focus on how the t-shirt can help you keep cool, whereas in the winter, you might position it as a base layer that will help you stay warm. By updating to make your product copy more seasonally relevant, you can boost conversions.
4. Product Updates. Often, details about your products will change or how your consumers use them will. It’s critical that your product copy is updated promptly if this happens. Consumers are intelligent and will often notice inaccuracies which can create doubt during the buying process. Worse, if someone buys your product and then discovers the information that led to their purchase was inaccurate, you may be faced with a costly return.
Wrapping it Up
We had a great time working with the team at Talkoot on this webinar, and I feel that Brian brought some great insights that anyone looking to succeed with creating product copy can learn from.
Be sure to check out the replay and please let us know what you think.