Honoring Black History Month: How Jackie Robinson Inspired My High-Conversion Product Descriptions

Jen Saunders

America is racist as hell. I’m not sure if bigotry towards people of color, in recent years, has always been this rampant and I simply never noticed, or if our change in national leadership brought the small-minded prejudiced populations out of the woodwork. I really don’t know. 

My friends of color have shared their deep and personal stories with me. Some were pulled over by law enforcement and searched for no reason, while others continuously experience awkward glances from shoppers at an upscale mall. One friend, a former US Air Force officer, was even called “the N Word” and repeatedly verbally bashed by the people he was leading. No corrective action was administered.

I hear these stories, I sympathize, and I feel deep disgust towards their aggressors. But at the end of the day I really  don’t  know  what it feels like to be targeted for my skin color. Here is what I do know: It is a deeply personal experience, for most people, that often shapes their attitude towards a society that continues to let them down. 

We are two weeks into Black History Month. I have decided to reflect on a game-changer who inspires me to excel in both my career, and in my personal life. Jackie Robinson took everything in life head on, he defied the norm, he stood up for what he believed in, and since I was a child his story inspired me to…well…simply try to be a better person and not be afraid to take risks in all that I do.

This may be a rather unorthodox approach to writing an article aimed at helping digital marketers improve their product description copy, but sometimes stepping outside the norm is refreshing for gaining a new perspective. And hey, it’s Black History Month, so why the hell not?

inbound marketing

Be Bold and Fearless, Even if the Other Guys Don’t Like It

Have you ever created a marketing strategy you believe in, and others thought you were bat shit crazy? Were you told to tone it down, or be a little more traditional in your approach?

A few years ago I was tasked to create an SEO and conversion optimization strategy for a large eCommerce business. It called for product descriptions with 200 words that told “micro stories”, and everyone thought I was insane…up until roughly 7 months after the strategy was executed and the brand was ranking all over page one of Google with paying customers from organic search up by more than 60 percent.

I will share part of my strategy with you in a moment, but first let me explain why Jackie Robinson is one of my favorite civil rights heroes AND all-time favorite baseball player. In terms of his contribution to civil rights we all know him for breaking the color barrier by being the first black man to play MLB, but the courageous and graceful ways in which he faced and handled abuse was a major springboard for other black people, sympathizers and even haters to question the doctrine of “separate but equal”, and it helped open the bigger door to the Civil Rights Movement.

Why is he my favorite all-time player? First, he played for the greatest team in the National League, the Dodgers. He was also a participant in six World Series and six All Star Games, MLB Rookie of the Year winner, National League MVP winner, and MLB Hall of Fame Inductee in 1962,. Robinson not only broke the color barrier in baseball but he played the game better than most (and he did it his way). His most memorable play was when he stole home in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series against the Yankees with Yogi Berra catching for New York. Not only is stealing home a gutsy move with a high fail rate, but Robinson did it in the biggest game of the year. By the way, Robinson stole home plate 19 times with a completion rate of over 60 percent). And he did this with threats to his family looming over his head.

Marketing is like a game. The end goal is to help the client meet his growth goals. It’s as simple as that. But how you play the game determines whether or not you become an All Star, and whether or not your client ends the season with his goals met. Sometimes, you need to be ballsy and steal home with a tactic that stands outside normalcy, so long as there is logic.

eCommerce marketing

Product Description Copy that Might Help You Steal Home

Just ask any of the best digital agencies in Los Angeles to those all the way in Miami, and they will all say the same thing: eCommerce is a bitch. If you don’t know what you are doing you can get a number of penalties from Google, including doorway penalties, duplicate content penalties, and you run the risk of keyword cannibalization.

Now let’s consider what Google likes: semantic content that is informative, educational, unique, and that has likeness mentionings to illustrate similarity but not sameness. More importantly, we need to ask ourselves what kind of content resonates with buyers. It must be read as the ultimate solution to their pain points while making an emotional connection. That said, try writing product descriptions that have the following:

  • The product name / product number
  • 150-200 words
  • Size, color, and other specifications
  • A likeness mentioning to another similar product with clickable link
  • State who it is for
  • What problems does it solve?
  • What do buyers love about it?
  • Why is this one the best?
  • Give a short scenario / paint a picture illustrating its use
  • Use bullets for easy scanning
  • Add a CTA

Here is an example of a product description using this formula:

This red JBL SmartBase 500 noise cancelling headset is ultra lightweight offering hours of comfort and studio-quality sound at a fraction of the cost. This headset is ideal for people who work in loud offices or who travel a lot for business.

Now you can tune out the noise around you and immerse yourself into your own world with a headset so light in weight that you will never get “head fatigue” again. While some of our customers go smaller and opt for the JBL SmartBass 500X padded earbuds for their small size with big sound, our headset is still our top seller known for delivering thumping bass balanced with crisp notes that beat out sound quality tests by other popular headsets costing twice as much. Features include:

  • Top-rated comfort
  • Noise cancellation technology
  • 24 hour battery life
  • Cordless
  • Rated #1 for Sound Quality by Newsweek

Can you imagine yourself in the office trying to get those marketing reports completed with the loud clicking of keyboards and ringing phones driving you crazy? Our JBL SmartBass 500 in stylish red will turn your noisy work space into a tranquil setting. Order yours today and take the distracting noises out of your space!

This looks like an overkill, I get it. However, when comparing analytics on 20 pages optimized like this one (Product Description A) to 20 pages with traditional product descriptions (Product Description B), the difference was smack in your face. Here is some of the data from Product Description A:

  • All product keywords went up in ranking by more than 10 positions
  • Bounce rate improved by an average of 3 percent
  • Session durations went up on average by 24 percent
  • Product orders went up by an average of 64 percent

marketing agency

Big Plays Make a Profitable Impact in Product Descriptions

Most eCommerce businesses don’t lay out product descriptions like this one. But more than a year of data proved that this copy resonated highly with buyers and Google bots. On the flip side, this formula may not work within every industry, and with every type of buyer.

If you are already playing by the standard marketing rule book, and your results are out in left field, get bold; try something daring and see if a new strategy will steal home.

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Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.