Ecommerce buyers have higher expectations than ever before. Today’s buyers know exactly what they need and when they need it, choosing to partner with brands that provide them with context and insight rather than one-way marketing messages.
This has made the buyers guide an absolutely inseparable aspect of ecommerce sales.
With 56% of buyers abandoning online purchases because of a lack of information about the product, service, or delivery, it’s critical to provide 24/7 information that can be browsed at any stage of a buyer’s journey. The buyers guide fills this role perfectly, detailing pain points, expressing solutions, and otherwise highlighting products that can help your consumers thrive.
Let’s explore the fundamentals of the modern buyers guide, including why it’s so important, how to create one, and some examples provided by other brands.
Why create a buyers guide?
It’s clear that buyers aren’t interested in being sold to—they want to be informed and guided by content that’s relevant to them. And one of the best ways to do this is by creating a buyers guide.
The buyers guide is essential for brands of any size. Not only do guides provide detailed information about products and their universal value propositions, but they are dense, education-heavy pieces that strive to assist buyers throughout their personal journeys.
The buyers guide can be used for several different purposes:
- Lead generation: Shoppers can enter their email addresses or phone numbers to receive a buyers guide for specific items. Once consumers are ready to approach the next steps, they can use an embedded CTA link to navigate to your product page.
- Online SEO: Including the right keywords and search phrases helps buyers find your site before the competition. Adding FAQs and plenty of hyperlinks pulls qualified traffic from all over the web.
- Selling luxury: Expensive items are more likely to be purchased when surrounded by the right context. Designer brands such as REVOIR use buyers guides to sell high-value clothes to female buyers.
Done correctly, buyers guides develop trust, offer value, and equip customers with the tools they need to make purchases confidently.
How to create a buyers guide
Creating a quality buyers guide begins with a solid understanding of your audience, your brand, and how your products can help. There are five key steps to consider, each of which should be completed in order.
Know your audience
Buyers guides should never be a catch-all for site visitors. Instead, these highly directed pieces should have a specific audience in mind, tailor-made especially for their needs.
As you write, consider:
- Search intent. Why is the target audience looking for your buyers guide in the first place?
- Product type. Are there certain standout products the audience is searching for?
- Language use. What is the knowledge level and tone expected of your guide?
If you’re unsure about your target audience’s preferences, start by completing surveys, checking your analytics, and scanning through your social media. This should provide some excellent groundwork for current demographics, among other things.
Highlight your products
It’s important to evaluate products from all angles in your buyers guide—including the unique value that only your company can provide.
As you write, start identifying pain points that can be solved by your products. Lead the narrative of the buyers guide with these pain points, then convey how your offerings can help.
Get inspiration from Wayfair, a home goods company that specializes in furniture. The company provides a buyers guide that addresses how and when to purchase a new mattress, according to common pain points, including age, noise, and sagging.
Focus on formatting
It’s one thing to write an informative buyers guide, but quite another to make it visually appealing. Curating a piece that looks as good as it reads isn’t always easy, but by leaning into some best practices, you can get close on the first try.
Build a buyers guide that is equal parts stylish and educational by:
- Putting the most valuable information at the beginning
- Keeping paragraphs to three sentences or fewer
- Adding bullet points and numbered lists for easy scanning
- Letting images or infographics speak louder than words
As you craft the actual subject matter of your buyers guide, don’t forget to add a table of contents for greater accessibility. For example, this desk-buying guide from Wayfair hyperlinks all relevant categories directly under the fold.
If you’re planning on hosting your buyers guide on a landing page or blog post, you’ll want to boost its ranking as much as possible. Keyword research is critical, as is its implementation:
- The SEO Manager app offered by Shopify is a great place to start from a holistic perspective.
- Tools like AnswerThePublic can show you what people are actually searching for regarding certain products.
- Keywords Everywhere integrates directly with your browser to find long-tail and short-form keywords.
Remember: if you turn your guide into a PDF, keywords may be less important.
Craft good CTAs
Don’t just show consumers why your products are great—tell them to take the next step with a call to action.
- Keep it short and under 10 words (if possible)
- Don’t add too many at once, which may risk overwhelming your readers
- Add CTAs at the end of each section and then again at the end of the document
Make your CTAs easier to find by using different colors, fonts, and formats. If you’re working on a PDF guide, be sure to make linkable text or hyperlinks that navigate to a specific landing page.
Buyers guide examples
There are thousands of buyers guides available online, each with its unique approach to consumer needs. Let’s look at some of the best of these below.
LuxDeco is a decoration store with an emphasis on buyer education. One of their most popular buyers guides addresses luxury lighting, with multiple sections that discuss types of light, lighting effects, and dos and don’ts. Take note of their impressive “Shop the article” function, which uses a CTA to turn the guide into a shoppable list.
Another blog-based buyers guide comes from REI, an outdoor life ecommerce brand with hundreds of product-centric pieces. Its sleeping pad buyers guide provides considerations for picking the right product and includes a scannable list of pros and cons. The well-placed CTA provides an opportunity to learn more without overwhelming readers.
Not all brands take the same approach to formatting. Best Buy’s guides have a unique structure and discuss products according to their pain points rather than just features. For example, the dishwasher buyers guide highlights the annoyance of loud machinery, offering a CTA to shop quiet dishwashers on their product page.
Note again the strategically placed CTA that includes researched keywords. This helps Best Buy’s guides rank higher online, getting an edge over the competition.
Build the first draft of your buyers guide
You now have everything you need to begin the composition process. Create the first draft of a buyers guide using the tips provided, and rope in the rest of your team if needed. Then take the following steps:
- Select a broader pain point and pair it down by selecting products that speak directly to the target demographic.
- Sprinkle keywords throughout the piece to enhance your SEO results or turn the guide into a lead magnet that requires customer input.
- Refine and edit as necessary for the perfect visual appeal.
As you pull everything together, know that your first draft will look very different from the final copy. A guide should never be considered stagnant and must change or evolve with the times to address modern consumers at their point of need.
And this is just the start. Equipped with the right context and a growth mindset, you’ll be well on your way to creating ecommerce buyers guides that both delight and inspire potential customers.
Buyers guide FAQ
What is a buyers guide?
A buyers guide is a piece of content used by online brands to educate prospective customers about their products. It discusses the buyer’s pain points, then presents your item as the solution. Think of your buyers guide as a 24/7 salesperson working to close deals on your behalf.
What are the benefits of a buyers guide?
- Offers necessary considerations and specs
- Helps customers make informed decisions
- Improves merchant conversions and sales
What are examples of product guides?
- Wayfair’s Mattress Buying Guide
- LuxDeco’s Luxury Lighting Buying Guide
- REI’s Insulated Outerwear Buying Guide