Every business decision comes down to dollars and cents. How much will this cost, and what benefit will it bring?
Some investments we make are less tangible than others. For example, how do you measure the value of training staff to smile and be courteous? What value does posting on social media bring?
Luckily, in the digital space and eCommerce in particular, you have much data at your fingertips. Improvements in sales, ranking in google searches, conversions, and average purchase value to name just a few, can effortlessly be tracked.
In this article, I aimed to give you reasons to invest time into your product descriptions, and also quick and actionable ways to do it. If I’ve succeeded (or not) I’d love for you to let me know in the comments below.
But first, a quick story. This article is largely born from frustration when trying to purchase a showerhead (more on this below). As a customer, this turned me towards a different product. And as a marketer, I wondered how many others had done the same. (And in full disclosure, this article also doubles as a tactic to acquire a new client 😉).
With that said, let’s look at ways some benefits of unique product descriptions on your eCommerce site:
Be more competitive in search results
Google organises the world’s information and connects its users with the information they’re looking for. If you have an identical product description as the manufacturer, then it is reasonable for Google to send customers there for information.
Your product descriptions are an opportunity to provide additional information for your customers. If you aren’t offering extra information then it could be a reason why Google is sending its users elsewhere.
Help people find the product they want
When researching, we look at lots of pages and opinions. I don’t have the stats on this, but you only have to look at your own behaviour online. If fact, just look at your internet usage in general. How much time is spent on ‘checkout’ pages, and how much is spent looking at information?
Looking at my behaviour as an example, I was recently researching a showerhead. I would have happily bought the more expensive brand-name showerhead, largely because it was a brand I recognised and therefore trusted. But I couldn’t find any info on the unique feature they offered. Nothing on their website, forums, or YouTube, answered my question. In the end, I read a recommendation on a forum post for a showerhead with decent pressure at an affordable price, and that is what I purchased.
Another example of this is the product you sell might be exactly what the customer wants. For example, a showerhead that doesn’t droop with decent pressure. But if you don’t promise the customer the benefits, and convince them it will solve the problem, the fickle customer may go elsewhere or never purchase at all.
Keep people on your website longer
This is another SEO benefit which could also be argued tips into branding. Google looks at many signals to rank web pages, including visit durations. A description that is detailed or entertaining can help you achieve this.
To take this idea further, adding a product video or in-store sales demonstration can quickly turn a 30-second visit into a 2-minute visit. If someone looks at multiple pages and videos, that is a very clear signal to Google they can confidently send more people your way.
Attract return visits with your unique POV on products
Is your brand more aligned to being funny, extremely detailed, informative, or simply offering a unique point of view on your products. People often come into physical stores to have questions answered. So how much more would you sell online if you had more information?
The product info you share might be just what someone needs to make a buying decision. The SpecialistSales website has in-depth product descriptions of its herbicides and insecticides, plus examples of equivalent products. This is a great place to research pest control products, even if you don’t want to buy in bulk. Their SEO is undoubtedly increasing due to this fact alone.
Another example is Amazon. Their SEO surely benefits because people visit and re-visit to research product specs, customer reviews and online prices.
Time invested in descriptions is time saved in other communications
I’m a big believer in scaling work you’ve already done (this blog article will become many social posts, an ad and possibly more). Because you’ve already written the copy, any social posts, ads, or email comms will all become faster and easier – you now have lots of examples and copy to draw from. You’ve already thought about who will be using the product, how they’ll use it, and what benefits they will enjoy.
More skilled salespeople sell more products
There is a good reason why there are many renowned copywriters, many from days gone by when direct mail was a bigger industry. It wasn’t hype or false promises that made them successful. It was copywriting that sold products en mass.
Clearly, both emphasised in copywriting and personal selling, a small difference in what you say and how you say it has a huge impact on how much you sell.
Test and measure
As much as possible, a test and measure should be adopted with your marketing. One great aspect of eCommerce is almost every action, up to and including the online purchase of a product, can and should be tracked. This takes out a lot of the guesswork and discussion time about what works. You simply look at the data.
Ready to get started? Here’s how:
Use Google Analytics to find…
- The best selling products
- The highest-ranking products that aren’t selling
- The products you should sell more of, but aren’t
In each case, provide extra value to improve the chance of a sale or increase in Google ranking, and measure the results.
Start with a single category of products
You might have hundreds, even thousands of products. Updating them all will undoubtedly be a large task and will take a long time.
As stated earlier, I believe in a test-and-measure approach. Try doing just one category or subcategory at a time. This provides data on how effective this is. Remember though, SEO can take months to have a measurable effect. Persistence for a reasonable period is recommended.
Use reviews (both your own and consumer reviews) to your advantage
Customers will tell you exactly what benefits they like and dislike in their own words. And they’ll provide it for free in the form of product reviews and on forum websites.
To quote David Ogilvy, one of the most renowned marketers of all time:
“Find out how [consumers] think about your kind of product, what language they use when they discuss the subject, what attributes are important to them, and what promise would be most likely to make them buy your brand”.
Add unique photos to your listing as well.
I used to love a website called ThinkGeek because it shared their customers using the products in their homes or offices. It was great seeing to-scale photos of the product, but also all the fun the customers were having with them.
Don’t half-ass it
I’m sure this goes without saying. This will only waste time and confirm any pre-existing bias you have that it won’t work. By all means save time where possible, and certainly, progress is better than perfection. But also give the task to someone to understands sales and SEO, or get someone that is customer-focused to lend a hand.
I hope this was helpful in some way. If you’d like to leave some feedback in the comments below it is very much appreciated.
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