- Nov 20, 2020
- 10 minutes
How to boost sales through buyers' guides, product descriptions, and product reviews
Unique content gets more pages from your Web store indexed in the search engine, and often contributes to your pages ranking higher in the search results which delivers more visitors from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Offering visitors compelling content on why they should buy what you sell often results in increased conversion rates for browsers visiting your store. It works! And I have proof. In this article, I'm going to show you all the different kinds of text content I create on our online stores and give you tips on how you can leverage your product expertise into online profits.
Why should I buy from you and not from Amazon or eBay? Writing unique and compelling content is one great way to differentiate your store from all the other places folks shop. Be honest with yourself. How many other places on the Web can folks buy what you sell? Amazon? eBay? Directly from the manufacturer? Big box, category-killer catalogers? Dozens if not hundreds of smaller retailers just like yourself? What makes you different from every other online store? Why should I buy from you and not from one of the above? Provide the answers to my product questions, and even tell me what to buy, and you're likely to get my business.
Now let's talk about how to create compelling content. Start by simply writing more about the products you sell. My parents started Gun Dog Supply on their kitchen table back in 1972 selling dog training supplies and equipment to hunters. Their primary marketing vehicle was a paper catalog advertised in specialty hunting dog magazines. My dad had a different approach to design than most catalogers. His catalog's real estate was allocated based upon how much revenue a product generated as well as how much explanation the product needed to educate potential customers. Since many of the products we offered needed more than a 1/8th of a page to accurately describe all the details, most of our best-sellers got a full page.
This strategy was pretty expensive for a paper mail order catalog, but this extra detail gave us a head start on the competition when we moved from the paper catalog to selling online in 1997. The extra product detail was search engine friendly and customer friendly. As the old catalogers finally came online, most of their product pages only had a sentence or two from the manufacturer with a small product image. Even now, 14 years later, they still just copy and paste the text from the manufacturers' websites. I hope they don't read this!
Write Buyers' Guides for Product Categories
If you only take away one idea from this article, simply write a buyers' guide for your best-selling product categories. Most folks are busy and don't have the time to do the research needed when buying what you sell. If you spend a little time educating them about what you sell, and what they need to know to make a decision, the time spent will pay huge dividends. Imagine you are talking with a prospect on the phone:
- Ask them what they want to do with the product.
- Identify what problem they are trying to solve.
- Introduce the important features of this category.
- Explain the benefit of each feature.
- Walk customers through different solutions.
- Tell them what to buy based on their situation.
Buyers' Guides sell. For example, we have a 50% higher conversion rate with prospects who actually enter Gun Dog Supply on a buyers' guide page than prospects who enter on a category page. That's a big deal. If you can get a 50% sales bump just by changing the content on an entry page, that's a no-brainer.
When it comes to writing reviews, you want someone who knows your industry, understands all the different types of customers you serve, realizes the many different ways customers use your products and can communicate what's in the customer's best interest to buy. Some products simply need more explanation and detail than others. These reviews are very text-heavy, and are written for the people who actually want to drill down into the products that we sell to find out every single little thing about them. Some manufacturers don't appreciate a public account of what's wrong with their products, but they know he's honest, and they keep sending him prototypes to field test. Your mileage may vary, so be as diplomatic as you need to be. Write great reviews, and your customers and bank account will love you for it!
Write Unique Product Descriptions
"Write unique product descriptions" used to be my number one piece of SEO advice for most retailers, but not anymore. The reality is that if you sell thousands or tens of thousands of products, many of your product pages aren't even going to be in the Google index. Pages not in the index can't drive organic traffic from Google, so why waste the time and effort cranking out content for those?
SEO and unique content on product pages
When writing content for customers, I spend time on products driving the most revenue and profits. When it comes to writing product content for SEO, look in your analytics, and make sure a product page is in the index, to begin with. Usually, when you prioritize your top entry pages from Google (organic) by revenue, you'll see that these money-pages aren't product pages, but mostly category and other content pages. What I do want you to do when you are working on products that are very important to your business - your top 100 products - really max them out.
And how much content should you write? I recommend that you write one new paragraph for every $10 in item price, so a $99 bark collar would warrant 10 three-sentence paragraphs. This is just a rule of thumb, so write as much information as a customer would need to make a buying decision.
Find your company's experts to create this content. In bigger companies it might be some senior staff, it might be the owner, it might be the founder, but you need to find somebody who knows a lot about these products or you don't need to be in retail in the first place.
Once you pick someone, you need to communicate three things:
- You're the expert.
- This product will solve their problem.
- When they buy it, they should pick you over the competition.
When you demonstrate your product knowledge through writing expert content on your online store, you increase your credibility. When I'm shopping online, I want to buy from the authority. And when I'm buying a product somewhat complicated to operate, I want to make sure I'm getting it from a retailer who will be able to answer any questions I have after they have my money. I want service after the sale. Writing top-shelf content about the products you sell differentiates your online business from every other reseller of the product. Just do it!