Welcome to Part 4 of our “Guide to Shopify Landing Pages” series! To read the previous article, click here.
Ready to power up your ecommerce site with landing page copy that converts?
Without a doubt, copy is one of the most essential elements of any ecommerce product landing page. And in this article you’ll learn how to write and optimize your copy for more sales.
You’ll learn the answers to questions like…
- What does your landing page copy need to communicate?
- Which features or benefits should you emphasize in your copy?
- Are there certain words or phrases you should use or avoid?
- Where do you find the most compelling selling points for your product?
- How should you format your copy for the most conversions?
But before we get into the nuts and bolts of how to write it, we should probably take a moment to explore why copy is so darn important in the first place.
What Is Landing Page Copy, And Why Is It So Important?
If you don’t already know, the “copy” on your landing page just refers to the text and words on the page.
The amount of copy on an ecommerce product page can vary tremendously. A traditional landing page might only have a paragraph and a handful of sales bullets, like so:
Whereas some long-form pages can go on for thousands and thousands of carefully-chosen words. Even highly visual brands like Apple leverage long copy:
(Not sure which kind of landing page you should be using? Go here to learn more about the different types of Shopify landing pages.)
No matter how much copy you use, it’s always one of the most essential elements on the page. Because the copy is what convinces visitors to buy the product by explaining what the product is, how it works, and why it’s worth purchasing.
So in a nutshell, your landing page copy is your written sales pitch.
If you do your job well, your copy will explain the features and benefits of your product in a way that makes visitors feel compelled to buy.
That might sound like a tall order, and you may be wondering how to actually go about doing that.
In this chapter of the Zipify Guide to Shopify Landing Pages, we’ll break down the most important principles you need to know to write landing page copy that converts, along with plenty of clear examples.
You just need to follow along with this article, step-by-step.
But before we get to the copy itself, first we need to talk about the person you’re writing that copy for: your buyer.
Picture Your Ideal Buyer
Here’s the thing about copywriting: there’s no single “best” kind of copy. Instead, the best-performing copy for any specific product will depend on the person reading it.
Different people have different backgrounds, different goals, different values, and different challenges. So doesn’t it make sense that they’ll respond differently to different sales messages?
Copy that’s written for a 40-year-old VP of Marketing is not going to be very compelling to a 20-year-old college student. After all, they live different lives. They care about different things. So it only makes sense that they’ll respond to different sales messages.
The goal isn’t to write copy that appeals to everyone. If you try to appeal to everyone, you end up watering down your message so much that it doesn’t really appeal to anyone.
Instead, you want to write your copy so that it’s focused 100% on speaking directly to your best prospects. Your ideal buyers.
This is often called your “customer avatar” or your “buyer persona.”
So before we get to the copy itself, take some time to think about who you’re actually writing that copy for.
Start with some basic demographics, such as their…
Then dig deeper and try to really understand where they’re coming from. Ask questions like…
What are their goals? What do they hope to accomplish?
For example: are they looking for a faster way to make a healthy dinner?
What are their values? What do they care deeply about?
For example: do they care about feeding their family nutritious food? Do they place a high value on home-cooked meals that bring the family together every night?
What are their biggest challenges? What’s holding them back from achieving that goal?
For example: do they come home from work at 7pm too exhausted to cook?
What are their objections? What reasons would they have for NOT buying your product?
For example: maybe they think your product is too expensive. Or maybe they think it requires you to be a great cook to use it.
If you knew these things about your ideal buyer, and you were selling a cooking device like the Instant Pot, you might come up with copy like this to address your customer avatar’s wants, needs, and values:
Now it’s your turn. Take some time to flesh out your ideal buyer. Get started with the questions we’ve listed above, but you don’t have to stop there. Make a note of anything that seems important or that helps you better understand where your prospects’ heads are at.
You’ll want to keep those insights in mind as you consider…
The 6 Questions All Landing Page Copy Must Answer
There’s a well-known practice among journalists called “The 5 Ws,” which is the practice of making sure every article answers the basic information as quickly as possible.
The 5 Ws Are:
(OK, so it’s actually 5 Ws and an H.)
And this practice applies to more than just journalism. Any kind of writing can benefit from clarifying these basic details as quickly as possible — and yes, that includes copywriting.
Here’s why it’s so important:
Because when you’re writing copy, clarity trumps persuasion.
So while being persuasive in your copy is important, being clear about what the product is and what it does is even more crucial.
Because let’s face it, nobody is going to buy a product if they don’t understand the basics like what it is, how it works, and who it’s for.
So let’s go through a quick overview of these six questions, and explore how they apply to writing better landing page copy:
Who Is It For?
At this point you’ve fleshed out your buyer persona.
Does your buyer seem more real in your mind? Can you picture them, imagine what they might say if you got them into conversation?
If not, you might want to stop and go back to your customer avatar. It’s really important to have a firm grasp on who you’re talking to with your landing page copy.
Because when your copy makes it clear WHO this product is for, then it will do a better job of attracting (and converting) your ideal buyer.
Take Chatbooks for example: they sell personalized photo books, and their audience is families. The copy calls out that audience right at the top of the page:
Compare that to Shutterfly, whose copy is written for newlyweds:
Same basic product (personalized photo books), but each brand is speaking to a very different audience.
What Are The Basic Product Details?
For the purpose of this question, just keep things really simple.
What is your product? What does it actually do?
Remember, the person visiting your website might be learning about your product for the first time. Don’t assume they know anything.
Instead, make it clear (as quickly as possible) what your product is and what it does. The more complex or ground-breaking it is, the more important this becomes.
Take Tap, for example. Tap is a wearable product that you can use as a mouse and keyboard. But since this isn’t a product most people are familiar with, Tap keeps their copy simple and just explains what the product is in the clearest possible terms:
Clarifying what your product is might seem like a simple thing… and it is simple. But a lot of ecommerce sites get ahead of themselves and start diving into technical details before making sure the visitor knows what the product actually does.
That’s a big mistake. Remember: no one is going to buy a product they don’t understand.
So before you do anything else, make sure you’re super clear about what the product is and what it does.
Where Would Someone Use It?
A surprising number of products are location-specific.
Toiletries, for example, are used almost exclusively in the bathroom, cooking products, in the kitchen, athletic products in a gym.
Not every product is location-specific, but when they are, it can really pay off to write your copy in a way that addresses this fact.
Are you targeting city dwellers who will use your product to get around in an urban environment? If so, make sure to speak about that area… like Boosted Board does here:
Notice how the copy mentions speeding past traffic. That copy is written specifically to target people living in a city.
By writing about how your product fits into its intended environment, not only do you make it seem more attractive—you also make it easier for the prospect to see themselves owning and using it in their daily lives.
When Would Someone Use It?
Now think about the time when your product is most likely to be used. Are there specific details or features about the product that makes it particularly well-suited to that time?
Take the toothbrush Quip for example. They know that people need to travel with a toothbrush every time they go on vacation or a work trip. So they use copy to highlight how travel-friendly their product is:
(Notice that the phrase “Waterproof & shower-safe” speaks more to the where, by calling out how well-equipped the product is to being used in the bathroom.)
Why Is It Better Than Similar Products?
This is all about comparison. Not just, “Why should someone buy your product?”
But rather: “Why should someone buy your product rather than a different product?”
Answering this question is important, because comparison shopping online is easy. And whether you know it or not, your prospects are comparing your products against similar products from your competitors.
So what can you do to stand out and get more sales?
First of all, realize that this is happening. Don’t try to avoid comparisons by hiding your product details. (Remember, you want CLARITY. People won’t buy a product they don’t understand.)
Instead, you should invite comparison shopping…by telling your visitors all the reasons why your product is better than the competition.
Purple Mattress, for example, chooses to focus on how their proprietary material is superior to memory foam:
One of Purple’s competitors, Tuft & Needle, takes things even further. Tuft & Needle has an entire page dedicated to comparing their products against the competition. See if you can count how many differentiators they use to help set themselves apart from other mattress companies:
How Does The Product Work?
Lastly, make sure your copy clarifies exactly how your product does what it does. In this example, Frank Body explains how each of the ingredients in their Coffee Scrub works together to give clearer, softer skin:
So why should you care about explaining how your product works? There are a couple benefits to it:
1. People might not believe you.
People today are skeptics. (Especially online, where it’s easy to Photoshop images, write fake reviews, etc.)
So if you tell people that your new dress shirt never wrinkles and never smells, they might be skeptical. But if you can explain how the new nanofibers hold their shape and reject odors, you can convert those skeptics into customers.
2. It gives you a chance to build up more value.
By explaining the unique mechanism behind your product’s magic — such as a rare ingredient, genius manufacturing method, or exciting new technology — you can make your product even more appealing to your ideal buyers.
Also, let’s not forget the most important reason: No one will buy a product they don’t understand.
You don’t have to explain every little detail, but you should at least give a mechanism for how your product does what it does. In some cases, the best way might be to name it.
Notice how Purple makes its claims sound more authentic and believable by giving their technology its own proprietary name—“The Purple Smart Comfort Grid™.”
Landing Page Copywriting 101: Features & Benefits
Now let’s dig into one of the most basic — and important — lessons that every good copywriter has to learn:
The difference between features and benefits.
A feature is something that your product has or is.
Features are specific facts about the product. For example, maybe a pencil has a hexagonal shape. That shape is a feature of the product.
A benefit explains how a product will improve your life.
Benefits take those features a step further and explain how they can help improve your life by delivering a desirable result or benefit.
So what’s the benefit of having a pencil with a hexagonal shape? Well, you might say that because the pencil isn’t round, it won’t roll off your desk.
It’s a simple example, but a good way to illustrate the difference between features and benefits.
Now let’s look at a real example from a real product page. This graphic shows a handful of features for the GoPro Hero7 Black camera:
For the purpose of this illustration, let’s zoom in on the middle feature, voice control.
Saying that the product has voice control tells you something the product can do, but it doesn’t really explain why that feature is useful or attractive. It doesn’t explain how the feature helps you, the consumer, to have a better experience.
Now in this next panel, GoPro has taken that feature and expanded it to explain the benefit of voice control:
See how that works?
In and of itself, just knowing that the camera has voice control may not mean very much to you. But when GoPro puts that feature into context, and explains how it can be useful or convenient by allowing you to start recording even when your hands are busy with something else, suddenly it’s a lot easier to understand why that’s such a useful feature.
Now, this is not to say that benefits are good and features are bad. Far from it.
Good landing page copy will have both features and benefits.
But generally speaking, it’s more common for product pages to have a list of features without diving into the benefits. So just make sure that for every feature on your landing page, you explain how that feature will help your customer to lead a richer, fuller life.
Next, let’s dive into a few more ideas that can help you write even more compelling landing page copy.
How Is The Product Made?
Is there a compelling story that tells how your product is made?
In the pilot scene of Mad Men, for example, advertising executive Don Draper comes up with a brilliant new slogan for their client the cigarette company Lucky Strike:
This part of the show is actually based on reality. Lucky Strike cigarettes really did advertise the fact that they were toasted:
This became a point of differentiation for Lucky Strike… even though plenty of other cigarette companies used the same manufacturing process. But because Lucky Strike was the first brand to advertise it, they became known as the cigarette that was toasted.
Now, you probably aren’t selling cigarettes. But that’s OK — you can still look for details about how your product was made and turn them into compelling copy.
A more recent example would be calling out production methods that are eco-friendly or sustainable.
Now, depending on your market, that may or may not be a selling point. Baby Boomers and Gen-X’ers generally don’t care that much about how their products are made. They just want to know that the product is high-quality and that it works.
But millennials, by comparison, tend to care a lot more about being sustainable and eco-friendly. They often want to know how their products were made and what kind of impact they have on the environment.
So when you’re writing copy to millennials, you might want to point out the ways in which your product is helping to conserve water, or reduce emissions, or feed the hungry, and so on.
Like Boosted Board does here:
Are There Key Ingredients Or Materials?
Depending on your product, you may be able to call out specific ingredients or materials that will make your product more compelling to your audience.
Cosmetic companies do this by calling out the ingredients used in their formula.
Supplement companies can take a similar approach, like Onnit does for its nootropic product “Alpha Brain”:
But physical products can do this, too. For example, Boosted Board does a great job of explaining how the materials make their products so durable and dependable:
Just as clothing company Combatant Gentlemen makes a point to highlight the benefits of their “Allstretch” fabric:
So think about the ingredients, materials, or other components being used in your product. What can you call out to make your product appear even more valuable to your ideal buyers?
Can You Highlight Any Science, Proof, Or Unique Technology?
Maybe what separates your product isn’t the materials or ingredients, but the technology that actually makes it work.
If that’s the case, great! People love new tech. If your product has some really interesting technology, that can be a major sales point that you should absolutely call out in your landing page copy.
For example, Nuraphone sells cutting-edge headphones with advanced technology designed to improve sound quality. They go into great detail about how this technology works:
If you have scientific data backing up your product’s effectiveness, that’s another great proof point to add to your product page. Onnit, for example, shares clinical study results on the product page for Alpha Brain:
Human beings are wired to respond to stories.
Features and benefits are great, but stories can bring something else to your landing page copy: an element of emotion, of human interest, of inspiration.
That’s why the best landing page copy will include a story related to either the product, the brand, or both.
Now, many product pages don’t have room for a long, involved story. That’s OK. That’s why the header to this section says Tell Mini-Stories.
Even a brief story can help to engage your visitor on a deeper level, inspiring more interest in your product and/or your company.
You might believe you don’t have a good story to tell — but just about every company can find a good story.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Who made the product?
- What inspired the creation of the product?
- How was the product tested?
- What obstacles did you overcome to develop the product?
And remember: this story could be about the individual product, or it could be about the whole brand. If you have a single product that’s special or unique, then it probably makes sense to flesh out a story for that core product. If you’re a larger store with a lot of products, on the other hand, then it will probably be easier to stick with a brand story that will apply across all your products.
Toms is an example of a brand that takes a strong stance on social issues, and as a result, they share a lot of stories related to their efforts to impact the world:
Warby Parker is another brand that does a great job of sharing their story, including their two sources of inspiration: (1) providing people with affordable glasses and (2) helping the less fortunate by donating a pair of glasses for every pair that’s sold.
Choosing The Right Words
Up until now, we’ve focused mainly on what you should say in your copy — the sales messages, benefits, and features to focus on.
Of course, what you say is vital. But how you write your landing page copy can be just as important. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you choose the best words and phrases for your landing page copy.
Use Industry-Specific Lingo
Is there any industry-specific lingo or specific words your buyers use?
For example, on the sales page for Zipify we use words like “upsell” and “conversion rate” — terms that the average person might not understand, but our target customer definitely would.
Anytime you come across insider lingo like this, make a note of it. These are great words to use in your landing page copy, because that will show your prospect that you’re one of them. That you understand their world and that you’re part of it.
Use Sensory Descriptions
Remember, people on your website can’t actually touch your product. They can’t know how decadent your candle smells, how delicious your wine tastes, or how luxuriously soft your velvet blanket feels.
So tell them, as specifically as possible, using language to evoke their senses of smell, sound, touch, and taste.
Take Buttercloth for example: they sell ultra-comfortable men’s shirts. But since you can’t actually feel the fabric when you’re browsing online, they try to write their copy in a way that communicate how soft and comfortable the shirts feel:
Use “Influential” Words
You should know that not all words are created equal. Some words naturally pack more punch, while others are lame and forgettable.
According to David Ogilvy, “the father of modern advertising,” the 20 most influential words in the English language are:
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it’s a good introduction to some of the more powerful words in the English language. Anytime you’re writing copy, do your best to sprinkle in words with feeling — words that are more likely to grab a reader’s attention and elicit a response.
Use Humor Whenever Possible
Using humor in your landing page copy can be a fantastically effective way to help your product stand out from the competition and grab the attention of a huge audience.
One company that has done a phenomenal job with this is Poo-Pourri. The product is really simple: a bathroom spray.
But thanks to their clever and humorous copy, product sales shot through the roof when they launched this sales video:
Purple Mattress has also used tongue-in-cheek copy to create humorous ads that do a great job of selling their product:
Why does humor work so well? There are a couple reasons:
1. It makes your copy fun to read (or listen to).
And when your copy is fun, you’ll have an easier time getting more people to read it.
If Poo-Pourri had written a white paper about how their product seals in odors, how many people do you think would read it? Very few.
But deliver that same information in a hilarious video and you can reach millions of people. Which brings us to the next benefit of using humor in your landing page copy…
2. It can go viral.
Humorous sales copy does more than simply sell the product. It also invites more social shares, helping your sales page or sales video to go viral.
At the time of this writing, the Poo-Pourri video above has over 41 million views. The Purple Mattress video has over 67 million.
Needless to say, that kind of exposure can have a huge effect on your growth.
3. It’s rare.
Humor can be hard to pull off, which is probably why it’s so rare to see a product that uses humor, effectively, in its sales copy.
But the benefit here is that if you can use humor, and use it right, then your product will stand out from the sea of competition that’s using bland, boring copy on their landing pages.
4. It helps build your brand.
Humor instantly communicates personality and likeability — two great qualities for any ecommerce brand. And the great thing about a brand personality is that it can’t easily be knocked-off.
Take Poo-Pourri for example. It probably wouldn’t be hard to create a similar product. But even with the exact same product — heck, even if you had a better product — it would be very difficult to take over market share from Poo-Pourri given how well-known their brand has become.
Format Your Landing Page Copy For Easy Readability
Now that we’ve covered what to say on your product page, and how to say it, let’s cover the last element of high-converting landing page copy: formatting.
In other words, this is how you lay out your copy to make it easy and enticing to read.
To do that, you need to understand how people read websites. And the most important thing to know is that people today are skimmers.
They don’t read through every word of text on a web page from beginning to end, like a book. Instead they’ll jump around, reading bits and pieces. If something catches their eye, they might stop and read more; if not, they’ll probably move on.
So what you want to do is format your landing page copy in a way that appeals to skimmers by…
- Using lots of headlines
- Using lots of bullets
- Generally breaking up the text as much as possible
You want to avoid giving people long blocks of uninterrupted text.
Big paragraphs like that can feel like an obstacle to the reader; very few people will actually take the time to read text like that unless they’re already highly interested in your product.
Instead, use lots of headlines, bullets, and whitespace like Purple Mattress does:
See how inviting that feels? Even though the page is very long and has a lot of content, it’s still easy to read at a glance. You can briefly scan down the page and get a decent idea of all the product features and benefits, even if you don’t stop to actually read any of the longer descriptions underneath the headers.
This kind of copy formatting will get more people to engage with your copy and, ultimately, to buy your products.
A Highly Effective Formula For Writing Landing Page Copy That Converts
OK, now that we’ve covered how to format your landing page copy to make it skimmable, here’s an easy-to-create and effective formula you can use for your product pages.
Using a formula like this can be really helpful because it focuses your copy on the right messages. It also makes it much easier to write in bulk, which can be a big deal when you have a lot of products.
The landing page copy formula is:
- 1 Headline
- 3 Bullets
- 1 Headline
- 3 Bullets
- 1 Story
Here’s how the formula works in more detail:
1. The first headline + three bullets focus on the benefits of ownership.
When someone first comes to your product page, they’re not yet sold on why they should buy. That’s why you should NOT talk about features. At least, not yet.
Instead, hone in on the biggest benefits of ownership. Focus on how the product will improve the person’s life before you start talking about the product itself.
How will the customer’s life benefit from using your product? What will it do for them?
Here’s an example from BOOM! by Cindy Joseph:
This audience, in general, tends to want a simplified makeup routine. They don’t want to have to buy (and apply) a dozen different products.
So BOOM! wisely focuses on the benefit of ownership, which is that you can throw out your whole makeup bag and just use these three easy sticks.
2. The second headline + three bullets focus on product features.
Now that you’ve communicated the product’s biggest benefits, you can go into detail about the features.
How does the product work? What does it do that’s interesting, unique, cool, or better than the competition?
Here’s the second block of copy from the same product page for BOOM!
Notice that this section talks more about the product itself — specifically, how it’s able to work with every skin tone. This wouldn’t be the best copy to lead with, but when used later on down the page it makes helps to overcome a common buyer objection (“Will this product work for my skin tone?”)
3. The story focuses on why the visitor should buy.
Finally, wrap up your product page with a brief story about your product or brand. Remember, people identify with stories. This will help humanize your brand and make your product stand out and be more memorable.
Remember, your story doesn’t have to be long or complicated. BOOM!’s story is very simple, yet effective: they just tell the story of what inspired the product and how it was made (cruelty-free in the USA):
ACTION ITEM: Write Your Product Description
Armed with your landing page copy formula, it’s time for you to give this a try and write some copy for one of your products. Make sure to include as many of the conversion-enhancing copy elements you just learned.
Then when you’re done, skim through this article again and see if you can’t squeeze in at least one more of the tips we covered.
Remember: this is your sales pitch. These may be the only words your visitor ever reads about your product. So make them as clear and compelling as you can.
And when you’re done, head over to part 5 of our “Guide to Shopify Landing Pages” series. You’ll learn how to increase your sales even more by implementing Shopify landing page best practices like FAQs, exit-intent offers, reviews, live chat, and more.
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