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Writing 'salesy' descriptions
Pointers please
badass101




msg:3021190
 9:35 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've got a UK targetted e-commerce site with around 1000 products, of an electrical nature.

I'm not a 'sales expert' but I'm trying to re-vamp the copy on my products to make them convert better than they are at the moment.

The problem I have is that every time I seem to find information on making good sales copy it always seems to 'Americanised' for my liking.
I mean, I'd click off straight away if I visited a website where every product page was like:

Benefits:

Benefit 1
Benefit 2
Benefit 3

Buy widget x today for the fantastic price of 19.99 and solve all your worldly problems.
But wait, if you buy it today then we'll also throw in x, y and z which are worth 29.99 for free.
But that's not all, if you buy in the next 20 mins then we'll also give you an extra z.

So, can anyone give me any advice on how to subtley increase the conversion rates on my product pages without making them look like an infomercial/american junk mailout/scammy?
If you know some key points to consider then I'd be awful grateful!

Thanks,

Craig

 

jweighell




msg:3021309
 11:36 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting you should post this as this is exactly what I've been looking at recently. I also run a UK website.

I bought the book "Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy Every Time (Paperback)" from Amazon, but I've found that this is very much based on the writing style you have found. Most of the examples seem to be Get Rich Quick schemes or Revolutionary Weight Loss Programmes. I personally would run a mile if I saw this sort of hard-sale writing, and I'm sure most people in the UK would too.

I'm still in the process of reading this, but the ideas can probably be used a little more subtly. I haven't got the book here at the moment, but the general ideas that I have started to adopt are writing in a more personal manner, using the words 'you' and 'your' a lot, and trying to write more emotionally. I've started writing in a style that assumes the customer has already bought the item and how it will make their life better.

I have experimented with a free gift with one of my products. I don't think it looks too hard-sale and does seem to have helped conversion. I was careful how I worded it and certainly didn't use the 'but wait...' :). I think when you start using deadlines, then alarm bells start to ring!

It seems a lot of the guides that cover sales writing are selling just one service or product. Like you, I have a lot of products listed, so it's quite hard/time consuming to write quality descriptions for all of them. I have quite a few similar products too and always find my content getting repetative.

I'd be interested to see if anyone else has any suggestions.

Jonathan

sniffer




msg:3021405
 1:35 pm on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Australians also do not buy on the hard-sell American infomercial-style copy. I suppose we dont like to feel rushed ;)

I agree with personalising the language. I prefer using the benefits as a fairly straight-up way of presenting the information, rather than the 'question and answer' style (which I personally find a bit condescending). Its important not to talk to people like they're stupid. This means changing "will change you life" to something more specificically related to the function of the product

Also look at including non-sensational customer feedback, but ones that re-inforce the positive emotion of making the purchase

We have free gifts but they're often not part of the product copy, they're part of the shopping cart (which is a step or two away).

Retrobate




msg:3021802
 7:43 pm on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

ACT NOW! ..later.

This is a very interesting post! Initially I got a little angry.. being American and all, but realized that what's being said here needs to be said.

I don't like the deadline driven hard sell ads either and will go the other way if I don't see what I was looking for immediately!

The early days of purchasing via the web are (soon to be) gone, and the Americanization of the copy and ad styles will inevitably change (I hope) because of the global audience and webmasters like you blokes!

That being said- Heed the advice of others that have been there, but I'm a big fan of the "follow your gut" too. Know your target buyer and write to them.

Even though I have some trouble with conversions myself ;-) I think we can make this work. Let's re-write the "how to" books starting right here. And I'll give a HUGE discount code to the first one to ...oh never mind

badass101




msg:3023301
 10:34 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Initially I got a little angry.. being American and all, but realized that what's being said here needs to be said.

Sorry if I've upset and angered any Americans. That wasn't the idea in the slightest!
I'm victimising you due to the style of many of your infomercials and sales letters, not you personally! :-)

That being said- Heed the advice of others that have been there, but I'm a big fan of the "follow your gut" too. Know your target buyer and write to them.

Sometimes I think this is easier said than done. I mean, when you run a shop you can easily gauge your target demographic (you can SEE them for a start!) - on the web, anyone and everyone can be a potential customer.

Even though I have some trouble with conversions myself ;-) I think we can make this work. Let's re-write the "how to" books starting right here.

Agreed - as soon as I've found some decent web copy sales tips I'll let you all know - let's 'Share the wealth'

And I'll give a HUGE discount code to the first one to ...

SOLD! :-)

Retrobate




msg:3024328
 3:10 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh I agree whole-heartedly here. No offense taken!
I think it's funny that the information out there is in that style. I mean why shouldn't it be? Wouldn't it be those particular salesmen who are out to get a quick buck by selling their.. Tips?

It's just a matter of time for it to balance out.

I have to write salesy descriptions for items being marketed to the Motorsports crowd, and had only a mild interest as a teen (25-30 years ago!), and so do it in my own words and not pretend to be something I'm not. It offends me that american (notice the little "a") advertising seems to target the very rich 5%, or the lowest common demoninator. Ok- maybe exadurated but I think you may know what I mean. Why would I want to buy a Jaguar, I'm sitting here watching wrestling? Sell me potato chips! I live in upstate NY where I have to endure countless TV ads featuring small car dealers absolutely SCREAMING into the camera about buying with no money down, ..that's right NO MONEY DOWN! for 5 YEARS!

I have boycotted products. It's my Irish temper.

sja65




msg:3024389
 3:44 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would recommend just setting a set of basic requirements for your sales copy (something like 2-5 sentences of small talk / flowery descriptions followed by specifications and features). Keep the sales copy similar enough between products to keep a consistent feel on your website. Then get as many people as you can to write your sales copy (and don't let them do more than a few each day). If you try to do too much all at once the copy tends to be very dry.

Also, do keep the audience of the product in mind. Writing something like "Holy bat shark repellent, Batman! What a great deal!" would work for batman paraphenalia, but not for a tea service.

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