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Content that sells: Getting the balance right

Christopher Khoo
20 March 2020 16:00

For most retailers quality content is what will help increase your sales. And to improve your content doesn't take that much time, afer all you are the person who knows your product best. However, if you are to write quality content and descriptions for your products, and use these in conjunction with Google AdWords, then here are 3 things to consider:

Add the phrase "This means that..."

For you, it’s obvious what your product or service is. You live and breathe the product, you talk about it all the time, and it makes total sense. But an online visitor may not be so educated. In fact, they may be a complete beginner, but willing to buy if you can convince them why they should invest. 

All too often I see listings that are very full of information, but not very… informative. Let’s say you have 3 cars listed, you can list all their specifications; weight, brake horsepower, number of seats, number of ISO fixing points, average mpg, even a review score from a well-known car forum. But to sell a product you have to make it real to someone and tell them why they should buy it as well as all the factual information. A good way to check this is to and add the phrase “this means that” to your writing. 

I’ll try it on myself now - If your listings are too sparse, you will turn away uneducated visitors and leave guests confused. This means that you could be losing customers because they didn’t have the information they needed to buy the product. 

Or again: Often people like to shop around and see the different models of product that can solve their problem. So what? So you have to tell them why each product is the right fit and carve a niche for each one. 

It comes down to “feature-benefit”. We often talk about features, but really people make decisions on benefits to them. 

Features: 350Watt motor and a twin 18V battery pack with wireless dock charging. 

Benefit: Powerful, portable, practical. Rapid, convenient charging.

Listings need both these things. One without the other is like toast without jam. 

If you’ve got a new product that you know really well, ask someone who isn’t familiar with the new product to read what you’ve written and ask them what they think it does and who it’s for. If they don’t know, then how will your customer? 

Ask yourself "So What" 

I used to play the “So what” exercise during team sales meetings - you keep asking “So what?” until you really understand why the feature you are describing helps someone. Let’s try it with KhooSeller as an example;

Feature: All product pages can be edited quickly 

Benefit: (This means that) Managing your website is easy. 

(So what?) This saves you time. 

(So what?) This makes running your online store easier and gives you more time to focus on other business areas. 

(So what?) This means you can invest more time into driving profits, new products and strategy.

(So what?) This means you will enjoy working online more and earn more money. 

OK - so it becomes a bit redundant, but you realise that editing per se isn’t the sell. Its the time-saved that is the selling point.

 So ask yourself, here’s what my product is and its features but… so what? If you can't articulate why it's great, a customer won’t be sold, either. 

Are you looking for Knockers? Or Drivers? Rammers? Borers? 

(We’re talking about fence posts of course!)

Content is great at attracting people to your listings and helping people make informed decisions on what to buy. Recently I got into Google AdWords as a tool to help drive more advert traffic toward a listing.

If you're not using AdWords, you should at the least know why you aren’t using them. Mindlessly throwing money at a campaign is not very effective, but it may not be worse than not trying at all. I’ve learned a lot from using AdWords that you can use to improve your listings and adverts (see below), and investing even £20/month can help you see what your competitors are doing on the web around you. This means that you’ll be better informed to change your listings to help convert customers. 

The Google AdWords suite is a machine built to give you data on search terms. After all, this is a primary way Google makes money. You can put in certain keywords that you want to be found for. Let's look at fence post knockers. They are a product that you use to bash a post into the ground. The thing is, some people call them “post drivers”, others say “post rams” and you may upsell on the cross product of a “post borer”. That's three extra keywords you could be using on your listing to help drive traffic and increase the effectiveness of an advert. 

Google comes with plenty of detailed suggestions where it finds related terms and suggests them to you on your dashboard. Some are very irrelevant and need to be added as so called “negative keywords”. For example “Post Drivers” refers to our post knocker, but “Postman Drivers” are very  different altogether. So perhaps we’d add a specific negative on the word “Postman” despite having the word “Post” in the positive box. This applies across more terms than you think - try and think what other contexts the word may appear in and you’ll realise you have to narrow it a lot. Thankfully, Google will tell you the most common related searches and suggest you should add them as additional keywords - use these to screen for wrong searches and add negative keywords, and add relevant matching ones. 

When you put a keyword you can have either a “broad” or “exact phrase” match; broad is typically best for keywords, while phrase matching on negatives is good at knocking out terms that would be a waste of money.

Your campaigns can also help give you great insights into your demographics and target audience. On the dashboard you can see what time of day, what gender, age and location a search originated from. There are many searches that don’t give you this information, but there are enough that do to help you see your target audience. This means you can tailor your content to your target audience, and also increase ad spend or campaign presence during peak activity (you can schedule AdWords for specific time windows if you want), or even decide to not show adverts to certain demographics altogether! 

Content that sells 

Pulling this all together, I'd suggest this cycle:

  • Use Google Adwords to drive traffic
  • Use great content with Feature-Benefit outlines to make conversions.
  • Review Google Data to see what terms people are finding you for 
  • Review competitor listings to see what terms they use
  • Update your adverts and listings to refine the customer more
  • Track sales and ad spend together 

Help with Content

If you need help with writing content that works for people and for search engines then please do not hesitate to contact us as we are here to help.