Nowadays, with so many online stores peddling the same products, customers have very little incentive to buy from one place over another. Sure, you could try to separate yourself by having lower prices, but if you’re in a market with the big boys like Amazon, you’ll never win that war.
No, competing on price alone is the surest way to failure. The only way you stand a chance anymore is to be better than your competition at anticipating customer needs and answering questions you’ll never get to hear.
To do that, you need to become the customer and, not just one customer – you’re going to have to become a whole lot of people if you want the best chance of converting shoppers into buyers. That’s where customer “personas” come in.
Really, before you put a single word of copy on any of your website pages, you need to think of every type of customer who might be looking to buy your products. There are all sorts of people who you may need to answer questions for and all of them have slightly different questions.
Please keep in mind that the following are generalizations and that within any given group, there are undoubtedly individuals who do not follow the stereotype. Nevertheless, practically everybody falls in line with one of these persona types and all of them need to be accounted for:
- Teens – more focused on things that will make them more popular or have more fun
- Parents – more interested in things that save them money, make their life easier, make their children happy and can be used safely
- Coaches – usually looking for things that work the best and last the longest
- Single Men – want things that make them more popular or more successful (or at least look more successful)
- Single Women – more brand conscious, often want things that make them more popular or attractive
- Elderly – want things that make life easier. Usually very budget oriented.
As you construct the copy for each page of your website, make sure that those words appeal to each of the personas, above, assuming they are all potential candidates for your products.
Answer the Basic Questions
Answer the who, what, where, when, why and how questions for any type of customer who enters your website, and there’s a much better chance that they will stay and buy from you, regardless of who they are. You may very well have to to provide more than one answer for the same question, depending on who is asking it.
- Who is your product for?
- Who are you as a company?
- Who manufactures the product?
- What does your product do?
- What are its specifications?
- What makes it better than other products?
- What void in the marketplace do you fill that separates you from competitors?
- Where do you ship to?
- Where can your products be used? (and where can’t they be used?)
- Where are you located?
- Where do things ship from?
- Where are the products made? (made in the USA is a BIG plus right now)
- Do you ship to an address other than the billing address?
- Where do customers send things back to, in case there is a problem?
- When can they contact you?
- When can they expect products to ship? (especially if it is not in stock)
- When can they expect them to be delivered?
- When does your special sale price end? (if you have one)
- Why should they buy this product?
- Why is it better than similar products?
- Why should they buy from you?
- How will this product make their life better, easier, more affordable or make them more popular?
- How does this product compare to another product you offer?
- How do they install or use the product?
- How hard is it to learn to use the product?
- How much does it cost? (Are there any hidden charges during checkout? Do you have a low price guarantee?)
- How do they get a discount? (if applicable)
- How do they get in touch with you if they have a problem?
- How will the products be shipped?
- How are returns handled?
Different Answers For Different Personas
As you can see, customers have lots of questions. If you provide answers that they are comfortable with, they won’t have to go looking for them elsewhere.
Put yourself in each persona’s shoes. Then, ask yourself if you have answered all of the questions each persona may have from their perspective. If you have, chances are, your website will convert quite well. Leave a few questions unanswered or omit a few personas, and it is very likely that quite a few people will be leaving your website in search of answers to their questions.
Of all the questions mentioned above, perhaps the most important one is how buying your product(s) will improve their life. People don’t really buy products; they buy solutions to problems, real or perceived.
More than anything, customers want to be sure that they are making the right decision. They want to know for sure that they have chosen the right product, gotten the best price and that you will be there to help them now or down the road if they have any questions or problems. Leave no room for self-doubt.
If there is a smile of anticipation on a customer’s face as they view their shopping cart, you have done your job well and can feel quite confident that their next click will be the Checkout button. If there is a grimace of doubt, you’ve undoubtedly left some questions unanswered and you’ll have more abandoned carts than you would like.