Research shows that the average e-commerce conversion rate is only 2.58%, which means that less than 3 out of every 100 customers that land on your site will end up buying something.
There are plenty of great conversion rate optimization (CRO) guides out there that focus on how to get started with tracking your CRO, running tests, and optimizing your page layout and flow for conversions (Backlinko has a great one).
But when you're done with those... what's next?
This guide will take you through how you should craft your product content to build a strong foundation for your content bank, and how that can be re-used over and over through the customer journey.
Chapter 1: Product content and how to identify its relevance for your business
In this chapter, I'll cover what product content includes, as well as where it's most important in each stage of the revenue funnel.
If you're overwhelmed with all the kinds of different content across your site, this can help you understand where you can start optimizing based on your current priorities.
Let's dive in.
What is product content?
Product content is everything on your site that helps your potential buyer understand the product they're viewing and contextualize how it would fit into their lives.
This can be broken down into visual content and textual content:
The revenue funnel and making it relevant for your business
Every customer's decision to purchase something usually goes along a conversion funnel:
Different businesses have different funnels in place, and at a high level, they involve:
- Discovery: What channels are your customers being acquired through? How do they come across and decide to land on your site in the first place?
- Interest and consideration: What's keeping the customer on your site? What are they looking at that is triggering a desire to keep looking?
- Decision: What's the tipping point when a customer is ready to buy?
- Retention: What keeps them coming back?
If you're not sure of the specifics of your funnel and what metrics you should be tracking, I highly encourage you to take a look at Metrilo's breakdown of various conversion funnels.
Okay, great. You know what your funnel looks like. How do you identify what content moves the needle for your business?
Build a buyer persona
A buyer persona is a hypothetical construct of your ideal customer. It's based on research as well as real data about your existing customers.
Building personas is a great way to understand how your typical customer can be influenced by product content to move down the funnel.
You can read more on persona building here.
As an example, if you operate a pet store, this is what one persona might look like:
For Alice, content tailored to her could have these attributes:
Why is this exercise important?
This is frequently the part that most folks skip past, as it doesn't feel like you're doing anything yet to improve conversion yet.
But discovery of what makes your customer tick is what will move the needle in how effective your product content is.
You'll be thankful you invested time when you realize you've eliminated a haphazard strategy and wasted resources on your content efforts.
In the next chapter, I'll cover how you can start leveraging focused content, both visual and textual, to improve your top of funnel efforts.
Chapter 2: Discovery and Awareness
This is the stage where you can offer your customer a potential solution to a problem they have, but don't know they can solve with your product yet.
Typically, this happens through some sort of communication with them - very often ads.
However.. how often do you spend time actively wanting looking at ads?
You scroll past ads or press 'Skip Ad' on Youtube as quickly as you can.
That's what your customers are going to do too, so your content at the top of the funnel has to grab attention quickly.
Specifically, this chapter will show you how to pique interest—using product content you already have— within those precious seconds that you have.
Group recommended products
Curate groups of products that you think will fit the persona you have in mind. You don't have to create many new product shots or agonise over new descriptions.
This will help your customer identify quickly and click in more to find out.
One great example is Vinomofo's specific email to wine drinkers looking for both vetted, quality wines, who likely identify themselves as discerning and tasteful:
Slideshows as videos
Video grabs attention FAST. Instead of painstakingly shooting video however, you can leverage your existing product shots into a slideshow to send a message across quickly.
Madewell does this especially well in their Facebook carousel ad here, emphasising their large range of swimsuits for someone who might spend a lot of time browsing before making a selection.
Typography in images with stock photos
If you're trying to convey a message that doesn't quite come across visually (eg. a USP or product feature), you don't necessarily need to make your visuals show that.
With a simple text overlay on Canva, you can use stock photos or videos combined with large, eye-catching typography.
Noom does this well in this Facebook ad that immediately calls the attention of someone who's been trying all sorts of diets without success, and is results oriented:
Let your customers speak on behalf of you
Who best to attract more customers than your current customers singing praises about your current products?
You can use a user-generated content platform like Stamped.io to create content off your existing reviews for use on social media platforms and ads:
After you've gotten potential customers onto your site or landing page, you'll want to feed them with the right content to get them to stay on.
I'll cover how in the next chapter.
Chapter 3: Interest and Consideration
This is the stage where high potential and targeted customers are actively browsing your site. You need to give them the confidence to view you as being able to legitimately solve their problem.
Instead of continuing to hit them over the head with high level, catchy headlines, you need to prove you're worthy of them handing money over to you.
This chapter will show you how you can show, not tell your customer with your content.
All relevant buying information should be above the fold
'Above the fold' means the upper half of a web page that is visible without scrolling down the page.
When you have all the information your customer would want the minute they land on a page, they are subconsciously reassured you're a trustworthy business.
This doesn't mean stuffing the top fold with information. Again, identify what your target persona would want to see.
To ensure that your product descriptions include all the necessary information, consider using a product description template to formulate your descriptions. Not only will this help your buyers to understand the product better, it will also help to improve your conversion rates.
Tentree is a good example of this. Aside from your usual free shipping policy, model information and sizing, they target consumers concerned with social responsibility and state the production facts of product prominently, even above the product description:
Persona-based, automatically generated product descriptions
While specifications in descriptions are important, painting a picture of how this product fits into their lifestyle is key to getting your customer to add that product to the cart.
Hypotenuse AI is a product description generator that takes your product images, any keywords you might want to include to optimise for SEO, and generates a fluent, human-readable description automatically.
User generated content for social proof
Detailed, filterable reviews
Make use of the reviews you've received to give your customers a personalized experience and prevent frustration. By allowing for filters on reviews, your customer can help themselves negate their own doubts around the product they're looking at.
Everlane does a great job of this on their site, by allowing for filters on size, height and weight:
Shop through Instagram generated content
Frankies Bikinis has a specific landing page for customers inspired by what other customers have posted, where you can click to shop:
Experiment with pricing packs to upsell more
By highlighting pricing information around a product your customer already has interest in, you can increase your revenue by creating buying norms around larger quantities.
In the case below, Native first tries to get me to Subscribe and Save 17%—a clever move to use percentages (17%) instead of amounts ($2).
When I persist with a One-time Purchase, Native ends up offering me the same price for just 3 sticks instead of locking in to a subscription. Very smart.
At this point, your customer is close to making a decision and just need a little push to convert. The next chapter will cover how you can close the gap with them.
Chapter 4: Decision
This is where you should be on high alert on any piece of friction that can cause your customer to abandon cart.
Think about it.
Have you ever left a website because you were just that amount away from free shipping?
How about leaving to look for alternative products?
These are all part of the reasons why a customer would leave your cart:
How can you share product information to combat this?
Cart stuffers as further buying incentives
61% of shoppers leave their cart when they see that a shipping charge has been added to their purchase.
Using your cart upsell section is a good way to tip the scales and increase basket size for customers to fulfil free shipping requirements. Some customers might want to just buy enough to hit free shipping, but don't know what else they can add to do so.
Notice that Bicyclesonline shows fairly low-value items in their 'Customers Also Bought' section. These can serve as 'cart stuffers' to hit your store's free shipping minimum:
So there you have it. A comprehensive list of content items you can focus on producing and using in various parts of your conversion funnel.
Which one will you start with?