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Can My Ecommerce Product Pages Learn Anything From BuzzFeed’s Writing Style?

In this blog post, we welcome ecommerce platform specialist and online business consultant Rodney Laws, as he explores how, with inspiration from BuzzFeed’s writing style, you can transform your ecommerce product pages and drive online sales!

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Guest Blogger

The contents of this article will SHOCK you. You won’t believe how applicable the BuzzFeed writing style is to the world of ecommerce. There are 25 things you can learn from the clickbait formula, and 5 types of people who can use it effectively — which one are you? And which is better: conversion rate, or profit margin? Note: only ‘90s kids will get this intro.

OK, that’s quite enough of that style for the moment. Even if you’ve never actually visited the BuzzFeed website, and have somehow managed to avoid being exposed to any Buzzfeed pieces through social media platforms, it should be quite familiar to you. This is because the template is used across countless sites of different kinds.

Image credit: Tech in Asia

Did BuzzFeed pioneer it, or simply popularize it? It doesn’t really matter that much, because it’s widely known as the BuzzFeed style (and that name is unlikely to be changed anytime soon). And whether you love or hate it, it’s undeniably effective for getting attention — just look at how rampantly BuzzFeed quizzes get shared on Facebook in particular.

In this piece (sparked by this Stephan Spencer post on BuzzFeed headlines, incidentally), we’re going to consider how you can draw from BuzzFeed on your ecommerce product pages to effectively drive online sales. I say how, because the answer to the titular question is an inarguable yes.

Let’s get started, then:

Offer shoppers something unexpected

When you shop online, your options are scarcely limited to the extent that you feel pressured to stick around on a given site. Just about every type of product you can think of is sold by countless merchants, and this can lead to all the listings and product descriptions blurring together — a scenario that often results in no purchase being made (due to excessive choice).

BuzzFeed pieces face similar challenges on social media platforms and blog post curation sites. There’s so much digital media produced on a daily basis that it’s really hard to stand out, yet of course the BuzzFeed pieces manage it. The key, very often, is offering something unexpected (in prospect, at least, even if not in actuality).

I opened this article with “The contents of this article will SHOCK you”, which implicitly offers the unexpected. Open it, it suggests, and you’ll be taken aback by what it says. Not only can you use the same kind of structure to market your ecommerce product pages (through email marketing, for instance), but you can also deliver unexpected elements to hold interest.

Take something generic like a phone case, for instance: if you can find one thing to say that the reader won’t expect, it’ll catch their eye, leaving them more likely to convert.

Cater your copy to relevant readers

If you try to please everyone, you won’t end up pleasing anyone (or something along those lines). Knowing that it puts out enough content to eventually cover all reader types, BuzzFeed often aims its posts at people with specific backgrounds or interests — forming titles like “If you grew up in the ‘80s, you might remember these songs” to grab attention.

This works so well because we like to feel that the content we’re reading is specifically for us, and when we see posts aimed in that way, we don’t want to miss out.

On ecommerce product pages, you can take advantage of this by aiming your copy directly at the people you most want to be reading it: the people most likely to be interested in what you’re selling.

Note that it’s about the people likely to buy, though. Imagine a product page for a children’s toy. How should you phrase the copy? Well, you shouldn’t aim it directly at the kids, because they won’t be the ones buying it. You should aim it at parents, using a mixture of formal language and child-friendly informality. And the more you can demonstrate an understanding of the parent’s plight, the more you can sell to them.

Play on emotion to spark decisions

Browsing a site like BuzzFeed isn’t particularly different from indulging at a fast-food buffet. You know that nothing you’re taking in is overly nutritious, but it’s so appealing and easy to consume that you find it hard to stop.

Core to this is the focus on emotional pull: whether it’s nostalgia through pieces on childhood memories or anger through pieces on world events, you’re always being called upon to feel something, urging you to keep reading.

In ecommerce, your content needs to take things a step beyond that — not just drawing someone in, but also convincing them to place an order. Once again, emotion is intensely significant. Product pages need to focus on the problem the product was designed to solve (playing on the frustration and anger of dealing with that issue) and even its popularity (FOMO, or fear of missing out, is largely about being emotionally driven to act like other people).

Bring in social proof wherever useful

Speaking of FOMO, social media content is tremendously powerful for establishing this phenomenon, and that’s something that BuzzFeed really loves leaning on. It’s as much an efficiency measure as anything else, admittedly, but you don’t need to look for very long to find a BuzzFeed article consisting mostly of third-party tweets (with very slight commentary).

You can borrow from this approach for your ecommerce product pages. In addition to allowing buyers to leave reviews (and encouraging it), you can track down some positive social media posts and embed them on the pages (getting permission from the writers, of course). Seeing direct and unedited posts from real people will help convince the reader that your product is legitimate.

Wrapping up

Wrapping up, then, you can definitely draw from the BuzzFeed writing style to significantly improve your ecommerce product pages. Make your copy different from that of your competitors, cater to your most relevant prospects, aim to evoke powerful emotion to drive interest, and use extensive social proof to show credibility.

Follow all of these tips, and you should be able to create some product pages that draw people in and convert them to regular buyers — no extra gimmicks needed.

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