I often read comments by other freelance copywriters who have just entered the online market and are panicking at the fees they see on freelance bidding websites and Craigslist. Such rates give the impression that the internet is just one huge literary junk pile, with more rubbish being dumped continuously from a conveyer belt manned by impoverished writers, chained and drugged up on Pro Plus (pep pills) just to get through enough articles so they can pay the rent.
I have always believed/hoped that the perception that writing is cheap would be just a phase, and that rates would rise and stabilise once businesses realised the value of well written copy.
In recent posts, I discussed how in order to turn browsers into buyers you have to solve their problems and answer the questions which might be an obstacle to making a purchase. Recent studies would suggest that online shoppers agree, and are demanding more information if they’re going to spend their money.
E-Consultancy, with their ever watchful eye, alerted me to research by Harris Interactive on online shopping habits.
From their survey of nearly 3000 people they discovered the following:
- Nearly half have increased shopping on the web.
- 44% have abandoned a purchase altogether due to the lack of information available.
- Access to information during checkout was deemed as helpful by 56%.
- 45% wanted to be able to find the answer to their questions themselves, rather than wait for an email.
- Most consumers (57%) now research products and services online.
- Manufacturers need to follow the approach of retailers to customer self-service: 69% of consumers will now go to the manufacturerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s website if they have a problem, even if the product was purchased from an independent store.
- Ã¢â‚¬Å“An effective way for retailers to differentiate themselves from the competition is through customer experiences.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not suggesting everybody adds Ã¢â‚¬ËœFAQ section writerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ to their list of services; however, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth noting that websites now face increasing and unique demands from online shoppers, and need writers to meet them.
Freelance copywriters can help improve a shoppersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ online experience and boost sales with the provision of concise copy that emphasises how a product solves a consumersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ problem, without having to resort to the hard sell.
A separate study, by eGain, has shown how UK businesses still have a long way to go to provide such an experience. Their research found that only 17% of 125 businesses offered acceptable customer service solutions on their website. This was assessed in terms of the quality of the information available, the ease of finding answers and the response times to queries.
To convert browsers into buyers, businesses need to differentiate themselves through the provision of content of value that answers their shoppersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ questions.
Freelance copywriters, in turn, can differentiate themselves by being able to show how their writing talent can help provide a better shopping experience, and boost profits as a result.
Hopefully, then copywriters will start being employed based on their value, rather than just on price.
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