The Biggest Mistake In E-Commerce Copy


Here at Exclusive Concepts, we say it all the time: “content is the cornerstone of SEO.”  Although I may be slightly biased, I feel like the biggest mistake made by store owners is underestimating the value of content.  Yes, content is a useful component of your SEO efforts, but it is so much more than words on a page or keywords stuffed into paragraphs.  Optimized content brings visitors to your site (more specifically, 150-200 words minimum brings visitors to your site), but the quality of your content will enhance their usability and give you a chance to tell your story.

NOTE: Don’t Forget To Read Part II of This Blog Post
and join me in my upcoming webinar

Perhaps the second biggest copy mistake made by online stores is not using their copy wisely.  Before writing copy for a client, I always dig and try to get a sense for their unique story.  There are millions of websites, and every niche has plenty of competition.  It doesn’t matter what your site does or what you sell – if you decide that content isn’t crucial for you, there will be ten (maybe hundreds) of other sites that decided differently, and they will get the visitors.

Online copy is such a great tool for your marketing efforts because – get this – it’s free.  Granted, you can hire a copywriter (I happen to know this one copywriter who produces some pretty amazing stuff…wink wink) because it certainly will cost you a lot of time, but if you’re looking to save money it’s completely doable.  Here are a couple tips to help you get started:

  1. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE I CAN GIVE YOU.  Before you begin writing, you need to pinpoint what sets your business apart.  Every site thinks they have great service, fast shipping is really more of a testament to UPS and “easy” returns doesn’t mean much unless you’re willing to cover the shipping costs (sites selling clothing or items people can try on – that may not fit correctly – are the exception to this rule).  Obviously “Low Price Guarantees” and “Free Shipping” and “Free Returns” are the best attention-grabbers, but I understand that not every site can provide these services.  If that’s the case, why should they buy from you instead of Competitor X?  What sets your service and your business apart?
  2. Information should be placed in an easily accessible location. Once you decide what sets you apart from the pack, place the information on a page where you expect visitors to land from the search engines.  Oftentimes I find crucial information placed on the “About Us” pages, and even more frequently I have to Lewis-and-Clark my way through the entire site to find anything.  Keep the information on these pages, but always place the most important selling points on the home page.  Then, reiterate the best talking points on some of the interior pages to ensure that it isn’t overlooked.
  3. Never underestimate the value of tone.  So you’re left scratching your head?  You know you have a great business, but perhaps the qualities that truly set you apart are elusive.  Don’t worry – with so many sites out there, most stores are in your position.  So how do you convince customers to buy from you?  You create a tone.  What kind of person would represent your store?  Is he / she funny?  An intellectual?  Laid-back?  Girly?  Manly?  Geeky?  You get the point.  The tone alone can set you apart, because a tangible voice forms a bond with visitors.

Examples are always useful.  We have one client (whose name and product have been changed to protect anonymity) who sells, uh, DVD players.  The prices are competitive, but not the lowest.  He offers free shipping, but customers have to spend about $200 before they can benefit from it.  He has a decent selection, but not comprehensive by any means.  He is committed to great service, but so is everyone else.  In a niche this extensive, those offers are not enough to stand on, so why shop here?

The whole premise of his site is that he helps you choose the best DVD players.  Unlike other electronics stores that present a huge selection (served up with absolutely no personality, rendering them a faceless entity selling expensive products), he has managed to create a tone across the entire site.  The product descriptions are completely honest in that they read like reviews, outlining good and bad qualities about each item.  He clearly defines the rating system for the reviews, and he makes it abundantly clear throughout the site that he doesn’t care about offering the biggest selection.  His goal is to test products and offer only the very best DVD players that people will love.  His reviews provide customers with advice to help them make an informative decision.  In turn, he has created the persona of an expert, and customers feel confident that they’re purchasing exactly what they want.  When people walk into a store, they interact with others.  When people shop online they do not have this opportunity, but by creating this voice you ensure that your site interacts with customers as well as, or better than, the salespeople in stores.

This information is intended to help you write copy geared toward your visitors.  For more information about optimized SEO copy, see my past blog posts or set up a meeting with one of our sensational Internet Marketing Strategists.

NOTE: Don’t Forget To Read Part II of This Blog Post
and join me in my upcoming webinar