When you’re running an eCommerce business, you need to be on top of multiple moving pieces, from product sourcing, to marketing, to fulfillment, to customer support, and more. As you scale, all of that becomes too much for one person to handle.
One of the best pieces of eCommerce to outsource is product marketing, and under that umbrella, writing. Freelance eCommerce writers need to master multiple types of content, including product copy, sales copy, blogs and SEO, and even email templates.
Writing comes into play everywhere in eCommerce, and multiple times during the buyer journey. So you need a writer who understands how to write for different purposes, channels, and audiences.
Value of content in eCommerce
Writers need to be able to create content for different reasons and drive value across channels. There are a few key functions of content in eCommerce to give you an idea of what a freelance writer can handle.
1) Writing product copy that converts
Compelling product copy is what brings shoppers to your listings and websites. This is copy that describes and highlights your items on your own website, marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Wish, and Walmart.com, and many other eCommerce sites.
Product copy needs to be written for search engines, marketplace listing SEO, and potential customers. To do this well, eCommerce writers must:
Understand and implement listing best practices across every channel you sell on. There are no “one-size-fits-all” product descriptions. You need custom content for each channel your eCommerce store sells on.
For example, Amazon uses significantly different guidelines than eBay or Etsy. Walmart Marketplace has enhanced content options to help listings stand out. Understanding how each works and how to make the most of marketplace search engines on each is crucial to ensuring customers find products.
Create compelling product listings that can be used in ads. Many eCommerce advertising options use the listing itself, which means your listing must have titles, descriptions, and captions that entice clickthroughs.
To write listings that convert, an eCommerce copywriter must understand the target audience, their pain points, needs, and what drives them. The full listing itself should both describe the product accurately, as well as sell the product as a solution.
Tip: Use A/B testing to continue updating and tweaking your listing content over time to improve results.
Write succinct copy that quickly and clearly informs your shoppers about your product. A good writer can condense a topic into a few quick bullet points, so shoppers get the highlights at a glance.
Remember, your audience, like yourself, is time-poor. With the short attention span of modern consumers, you need to capture interest as quickly as possible.
Know how your SKU catalog works and including the relevant specifications. Your writers should understand what makes your SKUs special, including how they work, what to highlight, and which selling points are most powerful for which audience.
Many eCommerce writers need to write about multiple items they haven’t seen or used themselves yet. Think about the eCommerce stores with thousands of products that all need good copy.
Product copy is one of the most prominent pieces of content in eCommerce. However, depending on a writers’ role and expertise, they can do so much more.
2) Conversion marketing
When you have your own D2C website, there are multiple touchpoints in your sales funnel where conversion marketing comes into play. A simple buyer funnel looks like this:
- Top funnel – This is where your buyer first discovers you. Channels can be SEO, ads, or referrals. For example, someone can discover your blog through SEO and be introduced to your brand that way.
- Mid-funnel / nurture – When you’ve already made contact, but someone isn’t ready to buy yet. An example is when someone reads a blog then signs up for your newsletter. In this case, your emails would be mid-funnel, trying to nurture them to become customers. Another example of a mid-funnel channel is a landing page from an ad. The ad is top-funnel, and the landing page is mid-funnel, trying to get someone to convert.
- Conversion – This is the “aha” moment that everything is working toward. Depending on your funnel, this could be different things, but in eCommerce it’s usually a purchase.
Conversion marketing is what drives someone through the different stages of your funnel all the way to purchase. You’ll use it whether you’re selling items that are a few dollars, or a few thousand dollars.
The idea is to build a process of moving a visitor into a customer, a customer into a repeat customer, and so on. Conversion marketing normally heavily relies on behavioral research, which should be ongoing. Ideally, writers would be involved with this research.
Overall, conversion marketing means your writer must understand what your customers need to know to make a decision, what influences that decision, and what’s important to your customer.
Tip: Pay attention to the type of product you’re selling. If you’re a shoe store, your writer should tap into impulse purchases and trying to raise the value of the shopping cart with more add-ons. If you’re selling a higher-value item like custom windows, you should build a slow sales funnel that thoroughly informs the customer first and sells to them second.
Content marketing comes into play across your conversion funnels, so more on that in the next point.
3) Content marketing
Content marketing is excellent for customer acquisition and retention, especially when you have your own website. In essence, it helps you reach your target audience by creating content that’s valuable to them.
Chances are, you’ll need copy for social media, email, your website, and product pages to complete a full sales funnel. Depending on the content, you might also need downloadable content such as case studies, whitepapers, and similar resources.
Webpages and product pages
Having an eCommerce website means you get direct access to your shoppers, and can highlight your products and solutions in their best light. But having your own website also means creating and maintaining pages of content that must convert (in addition to product pages).
Here’s a quick primer on the advantages of having your own website versus a marketplace listing.
Pros of having your own website
- You get direct access to your customer, which means you can use their contact information to build a relationship. This is important for remarketing, requesting reviews, and more. Many marketplaces forbid sellers from reaching out to customers with marketing information, or getting their direct contact information in the first place.
- You can highlight promotions across your website, and don’t have a limit on what you can offer. For example, you can use your website banner to promote a sale or free 2-day delivery. You can also add more marketing opportunities like email capture fields and signup forms to download a catalog.
- Marketplaces often show competing products alongside each other, to give shoppers more choice and options. On your owned website, shoppers only see your products, which means there’s no risk of them clicking away to a competitor instead. You control what your shoppers see (and that includes highlighting great reviews).
- Having your own website can be cheaper than listing on a marketplace, since you don’t have to pay marketplace fees.
Pros of listing on a marketplace
- Selling on popular marketplaces means you establish a presence everywhere that consumers are likely to shop. This also makes a shopper more likely to see you, activating the mere exposure effect.
- There are tools/software that can help you recreate a listing on other marketplaces. This makes it more efficient to list on multiple marketplaces without taking too much time.
- Marketplaces like Walmart and Amazon invest in their own ads and promotions, which means you can piggyback off of their efforts and get some free marketing.
- With such high volume and traffic, you have the potential to gather a large number of reviews in a short amount of time. Having social proof is important for boosting sales, but this is a double-edged sword, because the reviews can go either way.
Pro tip: You should have both.
Your product page content, whether on your website or a listing, should convert users into customers. Your content must achieve a certain click-through or purchase rate, and you’ll need to optimize continuously.
Landing pages help you focus your visitors on one specific goal. They could be as short as a product page, or as long as a one-page website.
This is typically the first place someone lands after clicking on an ad, and most landing pages usually only have one primary CTA. Many landing pages don’t even include a website menu, so as not to distract visitors from the goal.
eCommerce writers for D2C stores likely have access to an owned email list, unlike with marketplaces (where sellers are often forbidden from emailing buyers with marketing materials). This means you’ll need to learn how to craft a nurture campaign to get someone from interest to purchase.
You may also need to write abandoned cart emails, new product announcements, and upsell campaigns meant to turn buyers into repeat customers.
When you run your own website on Shopify, BigCommerce, WordPress, or another platform, you’ll want to do some content marketing with your blog. eCommerce stores can blogs to highlight new products, showcase customer reviews, answer customer questions, and optimize for keywords.
Writers will need to balance between serving the readers’ needs and answering their questions, selling products, and signaling high-quality content to search engines so you rank well. Ultimately, a blog will convince and convert readers to purchase.
Many eCommerce stores invest in some form of link building to expand their reach and acquire customers. This often translates to guest posting with relevant websites that serve similar target audiences.
A freelance eCommerce writer can take charge of your link building efforts, implementing a guest post exchange program that helps you reach more potential customers.
For example, if you run an eCommerce repricer that automatically adjusts product prices based on what competitors charge, you should pitch a guest post exchange with listing tools that re-list products across multiple marketplaces.
Resources and downloadables
A common content marketing tactic is to create resources, like eBooks, infographics, and whitepapers to drive more value for readers.
Look for ways to repurpose your content to extend your efforts even further. For example, turn a blog into a video script to create an animated video. If you write often about a particular topic, combine and edit all your blogs on that topic into a comprehensive eBook. Turn a customer survey into an infographic filled with original data.
Here are a few ways to use these resources:
- Offer an eBook in exchange for signing up for your email newsletter.
- Create an embeddable infographic for an adjacent company’s blog, in exchange for a backlink to your website.
- Provide a whitepaper exclusive to current customers to reward loyalty and encourage them to come back and shop with you.
4) Deciphering market research
Most eCommerce writers have to understand, use, and sometimes gather market research.
Your organization might have its own researchers to find and confirm marketing data. Or you might have a single communication professional to fill both roles.
In the latter scenario, a freelance writer will have to find:
- Demographics of your target audience
- Pain points to identify the ideal sales pitch
- Audience behavior to find the most effective communication channels
- Search behavior to see how and where customers discover you
- Buyer behavior to identify the purchase driver
- Customer needs and values
- Important keywords for SEO and PPC ads
Your eCommerce writer should know how to find and use the information above and craft copy accordingly.
Tip: You’ll want to run A/B tests to optimize on-page content, funnels, and CTAs.
Good eCommerce copy is informative and value-driven. You have to build trust to drive long-term relationships. While good eCommerce copy should function for both sales and driving value, no amount of sales-only copy is enough to retain customers over the long-term.
eCommerce writers can take on numerous functions, operating in marketing, sales, and communication. Depending on the size of your business, they might also be responsible for marketing research, direct outreach, and long-term content testing and management.