Typos, bad writing killing conversion

It’s not unusual for retailers to spend a lot of time and money deliberating over various software solutions that promise to use machine learning to personalise the products displayed on the home page, or to simplify the checkout process, all in the name of increasing online conversion rates. But new research suggests they may be better off using another tool that is widely available, not to mention free. It’s called spell check.

Adobe recently surveyed 1054 Australian adults about their attitudes towards brand content and found that they were most annoyed by content that is “too wordy” or “poorly written”. This was far more annoying, according to the survey, than content that isn’t personalised or relevant to their situation, or content that isn’t optimised for their device, the more frequently cited bugbears of online shopping.

While 58 per cent of respondents said such annoying situations would prevent them from purchasing products, only 9 per cent described their recent experiences with brand websites as poor. Nearly half (47 per cent) described their recent experiences as neutral, and 44 per cent said they were good.

“These findings are not overly surprising,” said Jonno Rodd, marketing manager of Hunting for George. “If something is really poorly written then it’s very obvious, and personally I stop consuming that content as I get frustrated.”

According to Rodd, this reflects the fact that the line between brands and media has become increasingly blurred. Consumers read as much content from their favourite retailers – through social media and blogs – as much as they do from their traditional news sources, if not more. It goes without saying that this content not only needs to fit the brand’s voice, but also be well-written.

For Hunting for George, this hasn’t gone so far as hiring professionals – “we don’t have anyone with a background in journalism” – but rather, the team has put their existing skills to new use.

“With marketing and design being our team’s main backgrounds, we have been on the other side of the fence for years. It’s a natural progression to just own that entire customer experience ourselves,” Rodd told IR.

“We spent years creating content for other people. One day we realised our own audience wanted to read it and engage with us directly, so we just started publishing it to our audience in conjunction with sending it out to other publications,” he said.

The retailer recently relaunched its blog, Community Journal, as a fully-fledged online style magazine, covering news, DIYs and interviews with the makers behind the brands it stocks. 

“I really wanted the blog to become the central hub to all our content creation,” Rodd said.

“I make a point to always re-purpose any content we create across all our channels where our customers engage. So a blog post will be created into an Instagram story; the photo from the blog that we predict will be the best hit on Instagram is shared on the feed, we pin everything from the blog and all our blog posts get some time in the limelight in our newsletter.

“We produce so much content and it’s something we are focusing on even more coming in to 2019,” Rodd said.

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