I'm terrible at writing

By Ilana Davis

I hear it all the time from Shopify store owners. They are terrible at writing blogs and terrible at sending emails to their customers.

It often reminds me of Winnie the Pooh. Pooh, when trying to come up with an idea will sit, one arm supporting the other as he taps his head saying “Think! Think! Think!”

Believe me, I get it. I write once a week and sometimes, it’s not only difficult to think, but also think of something worth writing about.

There’s a not-so-secret tip to writing.

Answer Questions

When I write, I answer questions from people who contact me, questions I’ve found on Facebook, and questions from Google search queries.

This tip is for any industry and especially e-commerce products.

When thinking about what you should write, look to your customers.

Look back through emails, customer support tickets, and social media to find common questions.

  • Should I get a small if I’m in-between sizes?
  • What’s the best way to care for {product}?
  • How often should I use {product}?
  • I got the wrong size, can I exchange for the right one?
  • How do I pick the right {product} for me?

Even if this information is on your product pages, writing about it helps to remind your customers and provide links to specific products.

Length can be up to you and whatever is appropriate. That could be a single paragraph with 100 words or a larger piece at 1000.

Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

The beauty of writing is that you can use the content across different platforms.

If you write an email, turn that into an article for your website.
Now that you have an article for your website, use it for social media.
Once you have a social media post, refresh, and republish.

Remember that the questions you are answering don’t go away because you answered it once.

Research has shown that people need to see something at least seven times before they buy.

It’s no bother

If I’m bothering someone with too many emails, they will let me know.

Every company has to find its frequency sweet spot. Be that daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. Please do more than once a year!

You have a larger chance of bothering someone by sending only product-focused emails with little to no content.

It doesn’t have to be fancy

Plain text emails work as well, if not sometimes better than a designed email using HTML.

Plain text emails have a high open-rate because email deliverability is usually more reliable. Adding too many photos/videos can also cause the email to be too large to send.

Another issue with HTML emails is that when you add photos, most Shopify stores forget to add alt-text. That means if the photo doesn’t display properly, the viewer has no idea what you were conveying with the image.

From an accessibility standpoint, plain text emails will always win. The screen reader, for example, will have no problems reading plain text.

You don’t have to know HTML to use HTML. Email providers use standard settings for things like headings, bold, images, and more.

I usually opt for a mixture of the two. Though I use HTML with my email service provider, I rarely add images to keep the size down.

Not spending hours each week designing the email helps too.

There’s no time like the present to start emailing your customers and increase visibility.


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