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When shopping online, customers have the choice between this product and that one…and this one and that one. With so many ecommerce stores and so many items available, how can shoppers figure out which is best? The answer is research. But you don’t want your customers to go off and do research on their own. That’s both burdensome and annoying for them, and can mean that you lose a customer. The best way to help customers through the pre-purchase research phase is to provide them with an ecommerce buyers guide.

Whether you sell kitchen supplies, furniture, electronic devices, or clothing, an ecommerce buyers guide can help your customers make the right choice when shopping online. It can also mean that a person is more likely to buy from your online store than some other brand’s.

Here’s what you need to know to create an ecommerce buyers guide.

How to Create an Ecommerce Buyers Guide

Define Your Customer

The first step to take when creating an ecommerce buyers guide is to define your customer. You can’t create a generic guide to meet the needs of every single interested shopper.

When you define your customer, you know just what they need and want. You know what challenges they might face in the buying process. And you know what they are hoping to get out of a purchase.

Creating a buyer persona is usually the best way to define your customer. A buyer persona is simply a fictional representation of the person you expect make a purchase. Essentially, it’s your audience for your ecommerce buyers guide.

Buyer personas can be as detailed (or not) as you want them to be. But, it’s usually better to err on the side of too many details rather than not enough. You want to know how old your customer is. Know what they do for a living, what challenges they face, and how they like to spend their evenings. The list goes on.

Where you do get the details to create your buyer personas? You don’t want to just make them up. Instead, take a look through the data you already have on existing customers, and use that to produce personas for your ecommerce buyers guides.

You can also hold focus groups and distribute surveys to really dive deep and learn everything there is to know about your customers. To help you out, Hubspot has a list of 20 questions to ask when putting together buyer personas.

Choose a Content Type

Once you’ve figured out who the audience or customer for a buyers guide is, the next thing to do is choose the type of guide you’ll create. When it comes down to it, there are actually a few different content choices you’ll need to make.

Choice one is the type of guide. Is your ecommerce buyers guide going to be text-based, or is it going to be in the form of a video? You can also do a mix of the two, creating a buyers guide with written information and videos that break down and further explain certain concepts.

Choice two is the format or structure of the guide. Are you creating an ecommerce buyers guide that compares multiple products in the same niche, or are you making a guide to help a first-timer make the best choice? How specific is the guide? Are you showing someone how to choose one particular item, or are you introducing them to an entire family of products and explaining how those products work together?

If you’re not sure how to structure or format your buying guide, here are a few examples to use for inspiration:

Hire Writers and Content Creators

Now that you’ve got an idea for your ecommerce buyers guide and you know who your audience is, the next step is to find someone to put it together. You can go in house at this stage, but if you don’t already have a dedicated team of content creators, it’s often easier to outsource the creation of the guide.

Writers and video makers can use your instructions and feedback to create a guide that lives up to your brand’s expectations, and that speaks to your intended audience.

Where do you find content creators? A good place to look is a content marketing marketplace, which connects you to creators who specialize in writing or producing buyers guides.

Focus on the Guide’s Quality

Whether you hire freelance content creators or go in house to produce and create the ecommerce buyers guide, it’s important to pay close attention to the overall quality of the guide.

Quality includes things like making sure words are spelled correctly and watching for grammatical errors. But there is much more than that. Quality considerations also include:

Whether the guide is easy to read or consume.

Are there headings and bulleted lists? Can people easily skip around and find the information they need?

Whether the guide is optimized for search engines.

It’s important that people find the guide after a quick search, so you want to make sure it’s as SEO-friendly as possible.

Whether the guide contains actionable, usable information.

What does the reader/viewer of the guide take away from it? Are they able to make decisions or use the guide as they navigate the buying experience? Is the information in the guide detailed, or is it something a buyer could have found anywhere else?

Whether the guide is too “salesy.”

Although you do want people to purchase from you at the end of the day, the goal of a buyers guide isn’t to push people into a purchase. Instead, focus on giving information over making a sale.

Whether there are images and links.

While you don’t want to be super salesy, you do want to make it as easy as possible for people to make a purchase if they choose to do so. Include links to relevant products in the guide, as well as photos showing those products in action.

Edit and Adjust the Guide as Needed

A buyers guide can be a type of evergreen content, but it’s very likely you’ll need to update your guides from time to time, as new products become available, and as your brand’s stock and inventory changes.

The last thing you want is for someone to read or watch a guide and click through a link to make a purchase, only to end up on an error page. Every month or quarter, have someone comb through your buyers guides, making changes and updating links as needed.

Ecommerce buyers guides help your customers make informed, confident decisions. Buyers guides also help to establish a connection and a feeling of trust between you and your audience. If you’re looking to entice new customers or reconnect with old ones, give ecommerce buyers guides a try.