Buyers guides are the fastest way to influence buying decisions and make online sales.
These landing pages expose people’s struggles, show how your product helps, and act as a 24/7 sales team that creates new business opportunities for you.
Major retailers like REI and Best Buy have been using buyers guides for years. While smaller brands tend to ignore them, this piece of content can work wonders for lead-generation efforts.
Want in on the action? This guide will walk you through how to create a buyers guide, with examples and tips from top-notch online retailers.
What is a buying guide?
A buying guide is an online article that helps customers make a purchasing decision. It provides considerations for a specific product, including functionality, accessibility, size, maintenance, price, and different features betweens models or brands.
Understanding buying guides
Buyers guides are helpful for selling high-ticket items such as outdoor gear, furniture, or appliances.
Wayfair is known for creating buyers guides for its products, such as its mattress buying guide.
Say you went to buy a mattress online for the first time. Wayfair’s buyers guide would help by teaching you:
- When to buy a new mattress
- How to choose a mattress based on size and sleeper type
- The different types of mattresses
- How to choose a foundation
Buyers guides convey general recommendations and tips outside the standard product description. This helps coach buyers through the decision-making process so they can determine the best setup for themselves.
The most helpful thing [for creating a buyers guide] is honesty. Customers want to feel like they can trust you and have confidence in your expertise.
The end goal is to make a sale from your buyers guide. That’s why many brands have strategic calls to action throughout their guides. Once a shopper feels confident in their decision to buy, a CTA can bring them straight to the product page.
How to make a buyers guide
- Define your audience
- Offer product-led solutions
- Format for fast and easy reading
- Focus on search engine optimization
- Add a CTA
1. Define your audience
Buyers guides aren’t generic documents. You want to address the challenges a shopper faces in the buying process. By knowing who you’re talking to, you can tailor content to a shopper’s values and needs.
For example, if you know customers value good deals and saving money, you can highlight price differences between different brands and styles.
You can learn this information a few ways:
- Surveys. Encourage customers and non-customers to take a survey. Ask questions about their demographics (age, family, occupation) and about their interests, values, and pain points. The goal is to find out a shopper’s challenge and what motivates them to buy.
- Digital analytics. Look at your online audience to gain more information about their interest. Scan Google Analytics to discover user interest and behaviors on your website and understand what topics they find interesting. You can also tap into market research from Nielsen and Pew Research Center to uncover trends in your product category.
- Social media. Scan social media networks and see what conversations are happening around your product. A quick search on TikTok or Instagram can reveal tons of data about many consumer products. For example, search “vacuums” on TikTok and you’ll learn that buyers want vacuums that are light and effective.
Your audience’s buying habits can change as new trends appear. You may also discover new customer groups altogether as you research your buyers guide. Stay flexible and adapt to the data you uncover. It’ll help you create more effective content that drives sales.
Check out our article Finding Your Ideal Customer: How to Define and Reach Your Target Audience to understand your buyers even more.
2. Offer product-led solutions
You’ve done the legwork to define your audience and their challenges. Now you want to put that information to use. Build the outline of your buyers guide based on pain points and lead with the solution.
[A helpful buyers guide] gives shoppers takeaways and points to consider before jumping into an impulsive buying situation. I remember brands when they answer the questions I was asking in my head.
Ben Clarke, Digital Marketing Analyst at James and James Fulfillment
Want to answer the questions in your customer’s head? Use the following template to create your buyers guide:
- What is it? Open your guide with a brief overview of the product. Include a high-level definition and two or three top benefits of owning your product.
- Types. Whether it’s outdoor adventure gear or televisions, there are often many models available to a shopper. Your buyers guide should review the different product types, individual benefits, and features, and how consumers use them.
- FAQ. What common questions do shoppers have about your product? Be sure to create a section that addresses the most important ones. This helps shoppers overcome any hesitations and can lead to a sale.
- Considerations. What should shoppers look for when purchasing your product?
- Social proof. Customer testimonials and reviews are a great way to build trust with shoppers online. Shoppers tend to rely on the opinions or actions of others to inform their own. Add one or two testimonials to your guide to help shoppers check out your products and validate a purchasing decision.
Include any other sections relevant to your product. For example, a new homeowner buying a microwave for the first time may need details about features, use cases, or styling tips, while a family upgrading their fitness trackers may need to know when the best time to upgrade is.
It all comes back to defining your audience and their struggles, and matching your buyers guide to those struggles to help alleviate their pains.
3. Format for fast and easy reading
People mostly scan when reading online. Large, dense paragraphs won’t communicate your product's value to readers. The way you format your buyers guide influences whether someone buys or bounces from your page.
Create a checklist to make sure your content has:
- The 80/20 rule. Most relevant information for readers is at the beginning of an article.
- Jump links. Make it easy for readers to find the information they want.
- Bulleted lists. Help readers scan text quickly.
- Plain English. Sentences are short, between 15 and 20 words maximum.
- Images. All images help describe arguments or points.
Wayfair, for example, understands that mattress types are a dense topic for its customers. Rather than write a wall of text describing them, it visualizes the information using an infographic.
Readers can easily see the differences between the different types of mattresses and their best features in the following graphic.
Use images and videos to break down long sections of text. Visuals deliver information quickly, with humans processing visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Bonus tip: You can repurpose this content for social media to promote your buyers guide, too.
4. Focus on search engine optimization
Sixty-three percent of all shopping begins online. People use search engines like Google to look for information about new products. If you can optimize guides to show up for those search terms, you can guide more traffic to your site.
Take, for example. The page ranks for multiple high-intent keywords such as “microwave sizes” and “microwave buying guide.”
Google can also add the buying guide to your product pages. Notice how when searching for microwave ovens, Best Buy’s buyers guide pops up under the main listing. This drives more traffic to your buyers guide and can improve conversion rates in your store.
Use SEO-friendly keywords in your headings and subheadings. Answer questions people are actually searching for, not what you think they’re searching for. This dictates the direction of your buyers guide and prevents customers from bouncing and trying to find answers elsewhere.
A few tips for optimizing your buyers guide for search engines include:
- Find a target keyword in an SEO tool like Ahrefs. Make sure it’s related to your product, such as “microwave buying guide” or “television buying guide.”
- Include the keyword in your page title and URL.
- Send your guide through an optimization tool like Clearscope. This will tell you if the guide matches the intent of online shoppers.
5. Add a CTA
The point of your buyers guide is to encourage a purchase. Placing CTAs throughout your page can help improve conversions and sales. You can use CTAs in two ways:
- At the end of your guide. Once people finish reading, you can guide them to your page of choice. Best Buy, for example, invites people to shop coffee makers or find a nearby store.
- Next to select products. If you’re mentioning multiple products throughout the guide, place relevant CTAs near the product. REI takes this approach by hyperlinking to a product page in a product’s title. You could also place a button near the product.
Buyers guide examples
Women’s magazine Good Housekeeping is known for its in-depth buyers guides. Its research department, The Good Housekeeping Institute, tests every product in a given category and assesses the top models to create a truly expert review.
Good Housekeeping covers everything from blenders to noise-canceling earbuds to robot vacuums to office chairs and more.
A recent one that stands out is its guide to the best smartwatches.
The buyers guide walks you through how Good Housekeeping tests each smartwatch. Plus, the information is easy to understand and scannable. This helps readers get the information they want, fast.
For example, Good Housekeeping breaks down its top picks into a table with best-use cases and where to buy. So if you felt the Apple Watch Series 8 was the best fit for you, you could easily go buy it on Amazon from the guide.
Consumer Reports is a nonprofit consumer publication dedicated to independent product testing and consumer-oriented research. It’s no surprise to see it produces practical buyers guides. Similar to Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports describes the testing used to determine what it thinks the best models of products are.
Its Wireless and Bluetooth Speaker Buying Guide opens with a story relatable to readers. It covers what wireless speakers are and popular ways to use them. It also states how the guide will cover speakers for every budget.
What stands out about Consumer Reports is the honesty and transparency. It discusses different types of speakers, WiFi tech terms, and buying considerations.
Consumer Reports also provides readers with photos of key features to look for in a speaker. Whether you buy online or in-store, you know exactly what you need from it and can identify it easily.
American retail and outdoor recreation brand REI offers a great example of buyers guides written by an ecommerce company. REI puts its buyers guides under “Expert advice” on its website, which builds trust with visitors looking for credible advice. The page is also filled with gift guides to help people do research before big sale events and holidays.
REI’s buyers guides are concise and straightforward. If you click on How to Choose Insulated Outerwear, you’ll notice there is no lengthy description or story. REI leads with problems solved by a product solution.
The first line leans into a common pain point for buyers, stating, “If you need a jacket to wear when conditions are so cold that a midlayer alone won’t cut it, you need insulated outerwear.” This helps orient the reader and tells them they are in the right place and that they’ll get the information they’re seeking.
REI uses multiple calls to action throughout its buyers guide. For example, if a water-resistant down sounds like the best insulated outerwear, you’re only one click away from purchase.
Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy creates buyers guides for many of its electronics products, including activity trackers, major appliances, cameras, and more.
What makes these guides unique is the format. Best Buy’s guides, like its Coffee Maker Buying Guide, don’t read like standard articles. Instead, they’re formatted for fast and easy reading.
Light paragraphs with headers and section breaks make the guide easy to scan and hold a reader’s attention. Readers can also jump to read about specific coffee makers they want information about right away, making it easier for readers to learn, decide, and head from the page to make a purchase.
MacRumors has an entire section of its website dedicated to buyers guides for Apple products. Whether you’re looking for the latest iPhone or MacBook, you can find unbiased information for the best Apple products on the site.
In its iPad buying guide, for example, the information is laid out so you can quickly compare all the available models and features in minutes.
If you scroll down, you can see more detailed information about each iPad model. You’ll also learn how to choose the best iPad based on your needs.
Create your buying guide today
Whether you’re selling used cars, chargers, or Chromebooks, buyers guides are essential to selling online. They help potential customers make informed decisions, improve conversion rates, and increase revenue.
With the above tips in hand, you’re well on your way to building a powerful content marketing asset for your small business. Create your first one today. You’ll soon see the benefits of more leads and sales thanks to your buyers guide.