If you had just one minute to talk to a prospective customer in your store, what would you say? Would you help them find what they were looking for? Tell them about your current promotions? Encourage them to stay a little longer and take a look around? After all, the more time they spend in your store, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

When someone visits your ecommerce store, you’re trying to achieve the same result, only with copy (text) and images instead of a conversation. You’ve got less than one minute to grab their interest, reassure them they’ve come to the right place, and help them find what they’re looking for. And if you get it right, you’ll sell more products and boost your profits.

In this post, we share 8 tips to help you write web copy that sells like a sales pitch but feels like a real conversation.

1. Show your personality

The first thing that shines through in a real-life conversation is your personality, and you need to let that shine through online, too. Gone are the days of business websites that read like a formal letter—shoppers want to do business with real human beings, not faceless corporations. Every word and image you place on your website helps create the unique brand personality that sets a tone for your customers, giving them a clear image of who they’re dealing with and what they can expect from you. It’s a way to stand out from your competitors, who may sell similar products but are unlikely to have the same personality.

If you’re having trouble capturing what you want to say in your web copy, imagine you’re talking to someone. You can even video record yourself. When you play it back, you’ll immediately spot the words that belong in your copy: it’s the ones with infectious energy and enthusiasm that will excite your customers and leave them wanting more!

2. Aim for the right target audience

Some online stores invest in SEO strategies only to find that their higher search ranking and increased traffic don’t result in increased sales. Why? Because they’re not aiming for the right audience. Those visitors click through, but when they don’t find what they’re looking for, they leave. By writing copy with your target audience in mind, you’re more likely to attract genuinely interested customers who will have no doubt they’ve arrived in the right place—so you’re more likely to make a sale.

3. Start strong with a compelling headline

When a visitor hits any page on your site, the first words they’ll read are the ones in the headline, so make them count. Nothing deters an audience like a vague headline promising a boring article, so be specific and fun. Try playing with poetic devices like alliteration or rhyme to create a unique feel. And be careful not to over-exaggerate your claims—clickbait is a great way to lure traffic, but if your copy can’t deliver on your headline’s promise, it won’t do anything for your conversion rate.

4. Finish even stronger, with a clear call to action

Every time you write copy for your online store, whether it’s for the homepage, a product description, or even a blog post, you’re writing with a goal in mind. When readers get to the bottom of your page (or even sooner), you want them to take action. That action might be

  • adding an item to their shopping cart or wishlist
  • signing up for your email marketing list
  • clicking through to read more in-depth information.

Don’t leave your prospective customers hanging! Use impossible-to-miss links and buttons with simple action words like “learn more” or “start now” to spell out exactly what they should do next.

5. Create highly targeted landing pages

Your different campaigns will focus on different products (or different benefits of the same product) and therefore appeal to different segments of your audience. By sending this traffic through to targeted landing pages instead of your home page, you make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for, reducing a barrier to sales and increasing your conversion rate. Landing pages are also a prime opportunity to convert prospects to leads, by offering an incentive for visitors to sign up to your email marketing list.

6. Sell the dream with benefits, not just features

Online shoppers might think they’re just looking for a good deal, but they’re actually looking for something much bigger: a better life with greater popularity, prosperity, or pleasure. Your job is to write copy that helps them visualise this outcome. Instead of writing a detailed list of product features, describe the blissful benefits of those features in a way that appeals to customers’ emotions, like this: “Protect your toddler’s sensitive skin from harsh synthetics. Our fun fashion garments are made of unbleached, organic cotton, which is soft enough to sleep in and strong enough to stand up to the rigours of play.”

7. Speak in the same language

It’s easier to build a genuine connection with your customers if you’re speaking their language. And we don’t just mean website translations, either—although that’s a good option if you’ve got customers all over the world. We mean you should listen to how your customers talk about you, and adapt your language to suit, much as you’d adapt when speaking to different age groups or professions. Check out the language your customers use when reviewing or recommending your products in online stores and on social media, and incorporate the phrases that feel right. Not only will it help you rank higher in their searches, it will also help your content stand out from your competitors’, and make you feel more familiar to new prospects.

8. Proactively address any concerns

As customers browse your online store, there’s a good chance they’re not just thinking about why they should buy your products. They’re also thinking about why they shouldn’t buy now, worrying about other expenses and whether they could get a better deal elsewhere. Don’t let them get scared off! Boost their confidence by answering their most common questions about shipping and returns in your FAQs, and point visitors to your customer reviews where they’ll discover that their concerns are unwarranted.

Don’t stand still

The ecommerce stores with the highest conversion rates didn’t get there by chance—they figured out what worked and did more of it. You can do the same by starting with our eight tips and then tweaking your copy to perfection with A/B testing, which splits your incoming traffic between your current page (the “control’ version) and a variation. By regularly testing the performance of different headlines, descriptions and calls to action, you can be confident you’re writing copy that maximises your conversion rate.