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Episode 12 - Text Content in your Shopify Store

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Hello, Scott Austin here and in this episode I'm going to focus on a topic that I think is really important in most doors actually do it really poorly and that is text or the copy they put on their site. I find very few Shopify stores provide their customers good text that answers all of their questions and fully describes the product, the offering, the brand, the mission, the story behind the company. And I also see that the rare company that does this well is usually the successful stores. In other words, having good text and copy on your site will help your bottom line of your business. So let me start off with a story to explain how I perceive many of the stores text on their site. And this is in a real-world retail situation. I was recently at my favorite burrito store where I get lunch every Tuesday and the store is owned by the most pleasant man there is.

He's just so friendly, always smiling, has nice conversation with his customers and everyone that comes in lights up when they see him because he's just such a nice person. Well, recently I was there and the store owner wasn't there. Instead, his son was, and I did. My owner sat down and I was eating my burrito and another customer walked in and the son looked up at him when the customer got to the counter and just said, what in a pretty bad tone too. And the customer was so offended by the single word welcome, and it wasn't welcoming English, just the word what and the tone that it was said with that the customer got very upset, said a few words, and then just left, didn't order food. And I doubt that customer's ever gonna come back because the son didn't present the best face towards the customer. 

And what I see a lot of stores doing is basically just when the customers come to their online Shopify store saying, what? What do you want? You know, with no introduction, no story, no conversation, no connection. So what I'm going to talk about in this episode is the ways that you can use content, especially text content on your website. So in this episode, we're talking about text to engage customers on your site. There's a whole other aspect to text on your site for SEO, search engine optimization, which I'll cover in a future episode. Now, frequently in this podcast I'm going to refer you to an example in the show notes. So there's going to be links to videos and other podcasts and that type of content. And those all be listed out in the show notes. So let's start where techs content goes and simply put, you're going to be creating text for all of your pages in your Shopify store.

First, you're going to have evergreen pages and that's your standard content pages like your about page or your FAQ or contact us, press reviews, testimonial, all your policy pages. And those are the standard evergreen pages that I think every store should think about starting out with. And you're going to have other evergreen pages to cover the other content needs in your store. And many times my clients ask me, well, how many evergreen pages should I have? And the silly but true answer is you should have just as many pages as you need to cover all the content that your customers are going to need in their shopping experience. So you need to look at how much information you're going to be providing to your customers about your products and your services, and then come up with all the pages to cover all that content.

Then the next type of pages you're gonna have where text is going to go is and your shopping experience. And there's two page types for that collection pages and product pages in the world of SEO, which we're not doing a deep dive on here, but I do want to talk about it briefly. In the world of SEO, collection pages are usually bigger traffic drivers than product pages cause people are searching for terms like leather handbags instead of leather strap list, handbag manufactured in Budapest in color green. The difference between a collection page title and a product page title on a random example that I just made, most collection pages or just simply a product grid. So you're actually gonna want to put text in your collection pages for SEO purposes and also for your consumer experience. Now the text for product pages is the place where I see most stores that are doing text and copy poorly.

You know the first place they're doing it poorly is on the product page. So the way I like to structure it is I try to understand there's two different modes for content on a product page. One is for people who are researching about the product and the others are people that are shopping for the product. So you have some of your customers who are looking to buy and trying to find the right choice for them at this time. So you're selling to them. You've got other customers who are higher up in the funnel and are just trying to understand their options and maybe see, you know, what is the price range for things like this or what sort of size or dimensions to do the products have. So the selling part is when you're talking to your customer about the benefits to them from the product and you are differentiator, whether it's your product differentiator or your brand or store or differentiator.

The research side of things is the things like specs, sizes, installation, set up in content of that nature. And your product page is going to want both of these types of content. Usually, I put the selling content towards the top and the research content towards the bottom and on the selling content. One of the tricks that I try to use is think about churning your product features, [inaudible] benefits. For example, let's say a feature of your product. Let's see your products of wallet. And that's made of titanium, which is a pretty unique feature. So the feature is it's made of titanium and you need to turn that into the benefits to communicate to the customer why they should buy this product. So some of the benefits of a titanium wallet, maybe it's the last wallet they'll ever gonna own because it's indestructable or that it's so lightweight that the customer wanted to notice that it's in their pocket.

But then it doesn't wear out or doesn't corrode because it's a metal that you know doesn't rust or the fact that it's just super unique, it will be a conversation starter every time you use it. So think about the features of your product and turn them into customer benefits and communicate those benefits as you're trying to sell the customer on that product. Now if you're getting your products from a supplier, you should probably replace the supplier's product description if they're providing one with your own text. And a real example of this is there's a lot of companies that are using print on-demand services, which are pretty awesome to sell. You know, designs on tee shirts or hats and that type of content. And those print on demand suppliers actually provide good research-level content. It talks about the sizing of the products. You know, what is the polyester versus cotton blend of the products and all the information about the shirt or the hat.

That's not really your differentiator that you're selling to the customer. What you're selling is your design. So you need to add to that product spec information. You get it from the supplier, that value proposition, the benefits of your product to the customer. Talk about your design, talk about why it's unique, talk about how it's going to affect that customer's life or their personal brand or whatever it is, the value prop for the products that you're selling. And another thing to remember about your product pages and also your collection pages is that in the world of SEO and everybody else in the world that is just linking to your site for whatever reasons that they are through social networks and other links, they're creating your collection pages and product pages can both end up being landing pages in your shopping experience. So you may design a funnel from the top on your homepage that works, people down to the vine process step by step where you're explaining certain things about the brand or the value props of the products or the comparing contrasting products and letting them make choices.

But you also need your member at the product page. It customer just may have ended up on that product page because they found it by SEO or someone sent him a link. So that product page really has to have a lot of content on there and build a lot of context for that customer without them having to navigate through the rest of the site to understand the full story about the purchase decision that they're about to make. Now another place, we put a lot of our text content in blogs and I recently did a podcast episode on blogs that I'll link to in the show notes so you can [inaudible] review that if you want to. And there's also a lot of places that we're creating content, especially text content that is not on our Shopify store in things like email, social posts and advertising. Now I'm going to go through 11 different tips and tricks that I have that you can use while creating text content for your Shopify store.

And the first one is to have a brand voice. You should have a consistent brand voice throughout your shopping experience. And the simplest way to do this is to pick three to five adjectives to describe your brand. For example, one brand voice may have the adjectives of fun, funny and quirky, while another brand voice may have the adjectives of informative, expert and helpful. Knowing what your brand voice is is going to help you determine which way to write your content. Are you going to use humor? Are you going to be friendly? Are you going to just stick with the facts? You know what is the way that you're going to talk to your customers and do that consistently within your store. Number two, most people are skimmers and not full-on readers, especially in a shopping experience. So it's important as you're structuring your content on your site, whether it's on evergreen pages or product pages or in your blog, you want to structure that content for skimmers also.

So instead of having a blog article that is 2000 words with just you know, paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of text, you're going to want to break your content up with things like headings and graphics and illustrations. Having bullet point list of five things to remember or whatever way you want to bullet point things and use text treatment to highlight information that's in your text. What I mean by that is like bolding keywords. So if your example talking about your shipping policy, you may want to bold the phrase free shipping and content that is structured for skimmers is also just visually more appealing and invites people in to actually look at the content, skim it, and even read it. So number three is that your copy should have a conversational tone. You should think about the fact that you're talking to your customer one-to-one. Just think about the way you talk to customers when you're standing in front of them and try to translate that way of wording things to text.

So one tip that I have for that, it's to actually record yourself. So let's say for example, you're trying to create content for your about us page. I recommend you sit down with a friend or a customer and turn on the recording on, on your phone and just talk to them about your company, about your brand, about your history, to tell them about you and your business and then take that recording and turn it into text and use that as your starting point for the copy to go on your about us page. And there's a tool that I use quite often to turn recordings into text and it converts any audio or even video and converts the audio from the video into text and it's called [inaudible] dot com and I'll include a link in the show notes. And the really cool thing about that is you can upload an audio file or you can just send it a link.

Like if you have a YouTube video, you can just put the URL of the video into Temi and it, it'll pull the audio out of that video and convert it to text for you. And it only costs 10 cents per minute of audio that you're converting. So if you end up with an eight-minute recording, it only cost 80 cents to convert it. Now, it's not a perfect translation of your voice to text, but it's actually really good. So just a little light editing. You can refine it and make it grammar correct enough to put on your site. And another thing to think about in having that conversational tone is being a lot less technical [inaudible] a lot more conversational. Most people aren't really going to be that concerned with the chemical formula behind your product if you're selling something with a chemical formula in it, but they're going to understand the benefit of having that formula.

So tip number four, I fully believe that your website should have an answer to every single question your customers have asked you in the past about your products and your business. Don't expect that customers are going to go to chat or some of your other contact methods to get the answers that they can't find on the website. While you do get people contact you through chat and those other methods for every person that's willing to go through that hoop of contacting you, there are others who had that same question on your site. Instead of contacting you, just abandon their shopping experience. So all the questions that you get from your customers for things like shipping and returns and all your other policies, maybe questions about where your products are sourced or your philosophy about giving back to the community, whatever it would be. Make sure that somewhere in your site you're answering those questions.

Number five, use your customer's language when talking to them. So what I mean by that is if your customers use the term clothing for your products, don't call it apparel. The best ways to figure out your customer's language is to actually look at what they're telling you through the different channels that they're talking to you through. So it can be you're face to face conversations you have with them or emails or whatever they're writing in your product reviews, wherever you see your customers talking to you. Listen to that language and use those same words when you're talking back to them. That way they'll easily understand what it is that you're talking about. Now let's see, you're a brand new store and you don't have a lot of emails from existing customers or any product reviews yet. Another way to figure this out is to go on to Amazon and look at the product reviews from the customers on Amazon for similar products to yours and see that the way that these customers are talking about the products and describing them in the terms that they're using and use that in your content.

It's also a great place to figure out what sort of questions that you should be answering in your store as you're building it out. So number six on product and collection pages. In Shopify we have one description text box and we can put a lot of texts in there and we can use HTML formatting to have it be a really engaging piece of content. But it's just one text box. So there's a simple technique that I call the split technique that I learned from the turbo theme cause they, they automatically in the turbo theme build this into product pages. But I use it regardless of what theme I'm using on a product pages and on collection pages. So what it allows you to do [inaudible] you have in that one description box two sets of content. Let's just call them box number one in box number two.

And in your template you can decide where the content for box number one goes and put the content for box number two in a separate place. So most frequently the way I use this on collection pages is box number one goes above the product grid in box number two goes below the product grid. So I've actually done a video describing how to implement this. With that I'll link to in the show notes and it's especially useful when on the collection pages, which we talked earlier about that collection page being important for SEO. You don't want a lot of text above that product grid so that people can get straight to their shopping experience. You want to just a couple lines of text and let them start seeing your product catalog so you use that split functionality to put a bulk of your content on the collection pages below the product grid so that it gets picked up for SEO purposes.

Number seven, start with your point when you're writing something instead of building up to it. We're not trying to prove our point to a jury. We're trying to build up from step one, two, three, four and five to get to this end conclusion with your customers. Tell them that end conclusion first because a lot of people today don't have the patience to read through steps one, two, three, four and five to get to that conclusion. So give them the conclusion first and then if you want to prove that point, you can take the step back. Once you put that conclusion out there and give them steps one through five. Number eight, a valuable source of content on your site is going to be content from your users, whether that's reviews, videos or be sure you're using the right tools and apps to get user-created content your customer-created content into your shopping experience.

Number nine, use Grammarly. Grammarly is a Chrome extension that you can add to your browser. I've done a previous episode on browser tools that I'll link to in the show notes for more info on this for Grammarly is is a grammar and spellchecker that you can use inside of your browser. You're probably used to having a spreadsheet or word processing application and having it do spell checking and grammar checking for you automatically. Grammarly adds that functionality to your web browser, not just for the Shopify admin, but everything you're doing inside of your browser. It's really nice because when you're in your shop for admin in looking at something like a product description, which is inside of a text box, well Grammarly does is in that text box, it looks at all the content. The text that you've written that's in there and spell checks everything for you and grammar checks it for you too.

And it gives you notifications, like little underline, squiggly marks. It says, Hey, the spelling of this isn't right. Or you might want to check the grammar on this other element over here. And it's really easy to click on those elements and say, Oh yeah I did misspell that. Go ahead and fix it. I highly recommend Grammarly for anyone who's on Shopify cause it's a great tool to help you edit your text. So number 10 try to write once and publish in multiple places on Shopify store. So I have two examples of this for you. And the first one is standardizing product text. Let's say you sell socks and all of your socks are made from the same material and what's unique about all your different products. And let's say you have a thousand different products in your store, but they all have the same sock material and same sizing of socks and all that stuff's the same.

And what's different is the design. So what you want to do, standardize the information about the material of your socks and write that once, but then have that applied to you all of your thousand SOC products so that if you end up changing something, so let's say your socks are a cotton-poly 60 40 blend, you're going to want to write a paragraph that says, Hey, our socks are a cotton-poly 60 40 blend and whatever information goes in there and then have that on all your different product pages. But you write it once, publish it in all the pages. That way if you change and in the future you have a 65 35 cotton Polyblend, you can update that content once and it'll update across all your products automatically. So the way that I do this for products is I'll have a page that's that information about the socks.

It might say sock material. And in that page, because in a page type in Shopify we have the rich text editor, which allows us to have things like bold and headings and bullet points. I'll use that to create the content that I want to put in there about the sock material. And then on my product template page, what I'll have is some simple logic that says if the product type is equal to Sox, then show a heading two of the page that I just talked about, page title, and then below that show the page description in that product page. So then if I want to change the content for that product, I just go to that page and edit it there and it shows up in all the product pages. Sometimes I'll also do this with FAQ [inaudible] and typically I do FAQ is inside of theme sections, but I'll create multiple theme sections for the different FAQ [inaudible].

So we could have an FAQ about products and FAQ about shipping and Epic and FAQ about returns. And I'll show those on different pages throughout the site and just reuse that section. So I have to do is edit that section once inside the theme editor and then it'll update on all the different places that I'm using that on the site. So my 11th and last tip for you is about content agencies. You can get many people out there to write your content for you. They can be freelancers that you find on services like Fiverr or you can find e-commerce agencies that'll help you with your copy and I'm going to give you a word of caution here to be careful about a lot of these agencies or service providers, many of them are just word mills with a lot of these word mill type agencies.

You really get in what you paid for. So I recommend that you don't go on Fiverr and try to get product descriptions for $5 apiece, but you could go onto Upwork and find some good copywriters, but they're going to cost you more than $5 for product description. A lot of the good ones that I've seen work with are charging $40 per hour or more, but the result is really good content for your site and another service to consider is called content cucumber. And what they do is they give you a dedicated writer for your blogs because this person is dedicated on your business. It's the same person every time you're having them write content, they're going to really understand your brand voice and use that brand voice when communicating consistently in all the content that they're writing. So that's my advice to you on content for your Shopify store. I've given you a lot of different tips and tricks. Not all of them are going to be right for your business, so it's gonna be important for you too. Look at your business and understand where your content stands today, and think about what steps you're going to take to improve it, and then apply the right solutions for your specific business needs.

Thanks for listening.

JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.