What are the secrets of great product page copy?
Iris McSweeney, Web Content Manager at Schuh:
Product names should reflect customer search terms
This is to maximise SEO opportunities. It’s often the case that many companies suffer from a severe case of ‘administration overload’ meaning that products, from their first arrival into the company, don’t receive the correct SEO treatment.
This is then carried along until the products are displayed on site with names that don’t reflect how customers would recognise them.
We want to improve on our SEO efforts, and we’ve also been reviewing our meta data and its structure to ensure consistency. Our copywriters also produce on a product by product basis new copy so that no two descriptions are the same.
For this, we are currently running a test on some of our key best-selling products that have had their meta data re-written to understand how much of an impact these changes will make on their ranking and findability. We will look to review this in the next few weeks.
Copy that reflects the company’s tone of voice and is consistent throughout all products
Each company needs to have a distinguished tone of voice that reflects how customers view them. There needs to be a strategy in place where this tone of voice is carried through all ecommerce channels so that the language used in product copy is instantly recognisable.
This in turn will inevitably also contribute to the originality of each product copy. For this, we need copywriters that are able to adapt their writing style easily to suit the company’s tone of voice and who receive the right training to ensure that SEO objectives are met.
For Schuh, we have a clear grasp of our tone of voice (the natural individuality and fun personalities of our staff members) and this is something that we actively promote across all our channels including our stores.
This is something that is highlighted right from the start with our copywriters and we ensure that this is reflected consistently in any copy that they produce.
Positioning on the product page
We can all create innovative copy that meets SEO expectations. However, the customer needs to be able to find the information quickly and easily. There needs to be a clear understanding on what level of the priority ladder product copy sits on a company’s product page?
This depends on how often customers shop on the site, how much information is needed, and if other elements (reviews, offers etc) take precedence over copy.
Key features and benefits
We ensure that the first and foremost priority of information to provide to our customers are the key features and benefits of the shoes with a creative spin on them that reflects Schuh’s tone.
Product copies have a limit of 255 characters and need to include keywords.
Due to the limited character count of our product copy we have often found it difficult to include all the features and benefits of our shoes. We have now launched the ability to include extended descriptions which can provide extra information to our customers.
Check for errors
To ensure that standards are kept high, all our copywriters work to an error percentage goal, which originally began at 5%. This is policed by the Web Content Manager. This percentage goal has been achieved and we are now working to 4%.
All errors are noted and copy that has the potential to receive more SEO related benefits by re-working it is also highlighted and thereafter re-written.
Testing all content on the site
This is a prime objective for us, and the positioning of our copy is something that has been reviewed several times. Using eye tracking software and understanding how our customers are shopping with us; we’re reviewing our product pages for our responsive site.
The result of which we’ll definitely test again!
Depesh Mandalia, Head of Digital at QualitySolicitors
Write for your user base
From my experience the most important thing is to write for your user base. Sounds obvious, but writing for someone viewing an electrical product is different from an item of clothing. Then within electrical products you could have a remote control (functional) vs an iPad (lifestyle).
Splitting that further, even the functional remote could be a standard replacement remote or a whizzy remote that’s shaped like a wand. For clothing it could be a pair of £10 socks (functional) or a £4,000 sheepskin jacket.
Think about how much information is needed
Take into account the range or category of item, price point, how common the item is and to think about how much information the customer is likely to need to make a purchase.
A five-pack of black socks for £10 might state that they’re cotton, sizes 8-10, machine washable which you could cover off in bullet point form to allow the customer to scan-read the functional aspects of the product.
Differentiate your product copy
Quite often retailers are caught up with ‘samey’ product copy and certainly for branded items which are sold through various websites it can be difficult to differentiate your product copy. I would recommend, where it is feasible, to write specific copy for each item.
I’d hazard a guess that product copy nowadays probably ranks lower in terms of influence than images, videos, reviews and ratings, pricing, promotion, page layout, delivery and returns info among others so I guess it really depends on whether you’ve pushed the product page as far as you can.
I think many retailers can get away with fairly standard product copy as they may have market authority or awareness, are niche, or have really good images, page design, reviews etc and so product copy can play a smaller part in conversion.
James Gurd, Owner at Digital Juggler:
There are certain essential facets of product copy that determine whether or not it has the desired impact:
- It promotes the key features and USPs of the product e.g. for skincare, if it’s 100% organic this is a key USP.
- Answers the questions visitors will have about the product e.g. What it is, what it does, how it works, what it’s made from, size etc.
- Speaks to the visitor in a language that they can understand based on a good understanding of visitor demographics: gender, age, geography etc.
- It communicates important policy information without hijacking the product copy e.g. clear delivery message with link to policy page.
- It’s contained within a UI design framework that makes it easy for visitors to access and digest information.
- There is social proof to validate the expert view e.g. Customer ratings/reviews, Facebook likes.
- Persuasion techniques are used to encourage activity e.g. Using scarcity to drive basket adds: “Order by 12.00 for next day delivery”.
Once these are satisfied there are differentiation techniques:
- Inspire the visitor through storytelling e.g. The history of the product, the story of who made it, where it’s come from etc.
- It entertains the visitor e.g. Copy that is tongue-in-cheek, playful.
- It creates an implicit bond between the visitor and the product e.g. “This dress is so beautiful you’ll want to keep it all to yourself”.
- It encourages sharing e.g. “Perfect for all the family”.
- It shocks or polarises an audience to make some people feel like they’ve found a naughty friend e.g. Wish.co.uk’s Riot Training – genius!