Words That Sell

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Your web site should be like your ultimate salesperson. All knowing, all helpful, all the time. One area that has a huge bang-for-the-buck is having your own powerful, compelling and well-written product descriptions.

If you really want to set yourself apart from the competition, you need to do things differently, especially when it comes to the product descriptions on your site. You shouldn't be relying on the descriptions that come from the OEM or a distributor catalog. While they might be a good place to start, they generally are just not up to the level you need to truly have a best-in-class operation.

DO IT YOURSELF

There are several advantages to writing your own product descriptions:

  • Better descriptions really inform the customer, turning that browser into a buyer, and increase conversions and sales. Benefit: more money
  • Better descriptions should lead to better search engine rankings. If everyone else is using the same canned descriptions, your unique description — when picked up by the search engine and used as that little summary below your link (when well-written as a sales tool) — will lead more people to click your link, even if you are not at the very top (of course, you still need to be at least in the top 10). Benefit: more traffic
  • You will slowly become known as the place on the Web to go to for in-depth information on powersports products. Sure, you might say, "So I put all that time and energy into writing great descriptions, millions of people visit my site, then they go to some Web discounter to get them for less!" Well yes, that may happen, but the increase in reputation, traffic and so on will lead to more sales in the long run. Benefit: better reputation and brand image

Unlike having to educate and train parts people over and over as they leave your shop and new ones come in, once you put it on the Web site, it's done! Benefit: saves time

In-depth product knowledge should come from your parts department. If the people in your parts department don't do much more than hold down the counter with their elbows waiting for a customer to come in or call (and when customers do call, all they do is read the description out of the product brochure or distributor's catalog), they are not really providing a unique service.

If you don't have a parts staff that could, at any moment, give a customer a more compelling reason to buy some widget or doodad than the customer could get from reading a brochure, the manufacturer's Web site (in most cases), or a distributor's catalog, you need a new parts staff. Or at least you need to begin a comprehensive product training program so that your parts staff can provide the level of service that will blow customers away and that you can use on your Web site.

With your Web site acting as a never-sleeping extension of that parts sales team, you should be doing everything you can to get the knowledge that's in their heads onto your Web customer's computer screen.

HIRE AN EXPERT

Not everyone has the ability or education level to be able to write to the level that public display on a professional Web site requires. That's where having your own professional merchandising copywriter comes in.

Hire a person that can write really well, and have meetings with that person and your parts staff to go over all of the products that you're selling. Have your knowledgeable parts staff go over all features, advantages and benefits of the products, and then let your merchandising copywriter put them into words that sell. It is a unique art-form to write in a manner that sells products. Don't assume that just because you have a warehouse full of monkeys banging away on keyboards that they have the ability to write truly amazing web copy that sells.

If you're doing or want to be doing decent business, hire someone. If you want to outsource, there are many writers looking to make some money while they are waiting for their Great American Novel to get published. Look for someone with a background in catalog (remember mail-order) copywriting who also is a powersports enthusiast, and hire him on a contract basis.

If you are on a turnkey platform, you may not have the ability to rewrite the product descriptions for products that come out of their "catalogs." Obviously this puts you at a potentially huge competitive disadvantage against the dealerships and other retailers that don't rely on these canned solutions.

It's time to make a decision. If your Web site does not allow you to have the level of control that you need to be successful, then it seems like it might be a good idea to start developing a plan to get onto your own platform — and take control of your future.