Buyer’s guides are the fastest way to influence buying decisions and make online sales. With more than 52% of buyers shifting their spending online since the pandemic, you need an asset that can answer shoppers’ questions around the clock.
These landing pages expose people’s struggles, show how your product helps, and acts as a 24/7 sales team that creates new business opportunities for you.
Major retailers like REI and Best Buy have been using buyer’s 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 buyer’s guide, with examples and tips from top-notch retailers online.
Create a buyer’s guide for your store 💰
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What is the purpose of a buyer’s guide?
A buyer’s guide is an online article that helps customers make a purchasing decision. It provides considerations for a specific product, including functionality, size, maintenance, price, and different features betweens models or brands. Buyer’s guides are helpful for selling high-ticket items such as outdoor gear, furniture, or appliances.
Wayfair is known for creating buyer’s guides for its products, such as its mattress buying guide.
Say you went to buy a mattress online for the first time. Wayfair’s buyer’s 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
Buyer’s 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 buyer’s 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 buyer’s 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.
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How to write a buyer’s guide
Now that you know why buyer’s guides exist, let’s look at how to create one for your brand.
1. Define your audience
Buyer’s 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.
- 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 “coffeemaker” on TikTok and you’ll learn that buyers want coffee makers that are easy to clean. Consumers also like to make their own iced coffee with their machines.
- 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.
Use more than one source of information. Don’t just rely only on interviews or only on surveys or only on digital intelligence. Using multiple sources helps verify ideas, behaviors, and motivations with stronger clarity.
Your audience’s buying habits can change as new trends appear. You may also discover new customer groups altogether as you research your buyer’s 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 buyer’s guide based on pain points and lead with the solution.
[A helpful buyer’s 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.
Want to answer the questions in your customer’s head? Use the following template to create your buyer’s 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 buyer’s 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 in 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 home owner buying a microwave for the first time may need details about features, use cases, or styling tips, while a family upgrading their 4K ULTRA HD TV 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 buyer’s 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 buyer’s 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.
- Jargon. Specialist language is used. Common and tired expressions are not (e.g., “leverage,” “utilize,” “skyrocket,” “cultivate,” etc.)
- 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 buyer’s guide, too.
4. 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 Best Buy’s microwave guide, 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 buyer’s guide pops up under the main listing. This drives more traffic to your buyer’s 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 buyer’s guide and prevents customers from bouncing and trying to find answers elsewhere.
A few tips for optimizing your buyer’s 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 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.
Learn more: SEO Is About Humans First, Search Engines Second
5. Add a CTA
The point of your buyer’s 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.
Buyer’s guide examples
Women’s magazine Good Housekeeping is known for its in-depth buyer’s guides. It’s research department, The Good Housekeeping Institute, tests every product in a given category and assesses the top models to create a truly expert review. A recent one that stands out is it’s guide to the best food processors.
The buyer’s guide walks you through everything you need to know about food processors, including:
- If a food processor is worth buying
- The difference between food processors and blenders
- What to look for when buying a food processor
- How much to spend
Good Housekeeping makes the information 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, why it loves the model, and a Shop Now button.
“The numbered content lets you jump to the sections you’re interested in,” says Jade Rowlett, Creative Copywriter at ecommerce marketing agency, Contrast, “while the landscape comparison guide shows the pros and cons of each one much easier than a portrait comparison guide, including useful headings like ‘best for X’ and ‘best for Y.’”
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 buyer’s guides. Similar to Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports describes the testing used to determine what it thinks the best models of products are.
Its Air Purifier Buying Guide opens with a story relatable to readers. It covers recent events such as wildfires and COVID-19, and how those events drive people to use air purification systems. These days, who doesn’t want a pollutant-free and healthy indoor environment?
What stands out about Consumer Reports is the honesty and transparency. It discusses different types of air purifiers and buying considerations. Yet it also covers what air purifiers cannot do and what’s still unknown about the product, combating any misinformation out there on the web.
Consumer Reports also provides readers with photos of key features to look for in an air purifier. Whether you buy online or in-store, you know exactly what you need from the air purifier and can identify it easily.
The guide also offers tips and recommendations for:
- Features to avoid
- Getting the most out of your air purifier
- Cleaning tips
- More ways to improve indoor air quality
American retail and outdoor recreation brand REI offers a great example of buyer’s guides written by an ecommerce company. REI puts its buyer’s 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 buyer’s guides are concise and straightforward. If you click into 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 buyer’s 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. Reader’s 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.
JB Hi-Fi is Australia’s largest home-entertainment retailer, selling computers, mobile phones, headphones, televisions, and more. It uses buyer’s guides to educate potential buyers about different products and help them make a purchase.
It’s 2021 TV Buying Guide is built for today’s consumer. Many of the key points are in bulleted lists, which make it easy for people to read on mobile or desktop.
The guide also covers topics we don’t always think about when shopping for a TV, such as:
- The viewing angle and how it relates to the TV you buy
- The differences between 4K ULTRA HD and 8K resolution
- What smart TVs are
- Different brands to choose from
It even provides a list of reasons to upgrade your TV if you’re unsure. The copy is fun and relatable, yet professional. Paired with relevant images of TVs in use, the guide helps readers envision using a TV in their own home before buying it.
Create your product buying guide today
Whether you’re selling used cars, clothes, or condominiums, buyer’s 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 buyer’s guide.
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Buyer’s guide FAQ
What is a buyer’s guide?
What are the benefits of a buyer’s guide?
- Helps buyers make informed decisions
- Provides necessary specs and considerations
- Higher conversion rates and sales
What are examples of product guides?
- Good Housekeeping’s Food Processor Buying Guide
- Consumer Reports’ Air Purifier Buying Guide
- REI’s Insulated Outerwear Buying Guide
- Best Buy’s Coffeemaker Buyer’s Guide