Book Review: Flicks and Clicks by Mel Henson

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There doesn’t seem to be many books out there that focus directly on eCommerce content strategy, but Flicks & Clicks is one of them (most books only focus on general content strategy).

Flicks and Clicks is a very detailed book. If you read and implement the content strategies it suggests you should be able to drive more visitors to your site, keep them around for longer, and make more sales.

[message]Mel Henson – Mel Henson’s career in eCommerce (and catalogues) began way back in her primary school days where she began writing labels to help sell school uniforms. She later worked her way up until she began working for Ogilvy & Mather Direct, the largest direct marketing agency in the UK. Here, she learned various techniques to increase sales in direct mail, which she applied to eCommerce sites (and catalogues) to achieve great success. [/message]

Here is what you can learn in each chapter as far as your eCommerce content strategy goes (there are other chapters in the book too, but these focus on content strategies for offline catalogues as opposed to eCommerce):

Chapter 1 – Anatomy of a Website>/strong>

This chapter will help you set up your homepage in a way that keeps visitors on your site for as long as possible (which increases their chances of buying from you).

From this chapter you can learn:

  • How to structure your home page so it follows natural eye patterns.
  • Content strategies for various aspects of your home page that work synergistically together.
  • How to use your home page to attract attention, build trust, generate interest and encourage action.

Chapter one also goes briefly into landing pages (how to set them out effectively), product pages (what to include in the descriptions), and social media (how to use it effectively).

Chapter 2 – How to Plan Your Web Pages

This is a very quick (yet very effective) chapter which discusses the four key steps in planning your eCommerce site:

  1. Listing your products
  2. Grouping the products into categories
  3. Naming your product categories
  4. Allocation of this information into a sitemap.

This chapter is especially helpful if you’re just beginning your eCommerce site, since grouping and naming your categories can be a daunting task without guidance

This chapter doesn’t only discuss naming and creating categories per se, it also helps you to set up your categories in a way that will best help you get found on Google.

Chapter 5 – Branding

Banding (essential when it comes to planning your content) can confuse many people (myself included), but this chapter should make things clearer for you. Overall the chapter aims to answer the following question:

What is a brand?

This chapter should teach you how to establish your own brand (a STRONG brand) for your eCommerce business (and it’s NOT just the logo) and use this brand to increase sales.

But you must remember that branding is a deep subject – you would need to read a whole book on branding to gain the deep understanding that you need. Still, this chapter does an excellent job.

Chapter 6 – Principles of Copywriting

I suggest you read this chapter before you begin to write your product or category descriptions.

If you’re completely lost as to what type of content to include, this chapter will provide you with a solid framework to work on and help you find your way.

This chapter goes into great detail on the following:

  • Learning about your customers and products (which allows you to write more powerful and convincing descriptions)
  • Understanding features and benefits (good descriptions emphasize benefits not features, but it can be hard to distinguish between the two)
  • Implementing SEO into your descriptions to get traffic from Google (you’ll learn how to get a list of effective keywords together, and how to write in a way that strikes the balance between being reader friendly and keyword rich for SEO).

This chapter then goes into the well known principle of AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) – you’d most definitely know about AIDA, but this chapter explains it clearer than I’ve ever seen it. (I’ve always had trouble telling the difference between Interest and Desire.)

Chapter 7 – Web Copy and Other Online Media

This is just as important as the previous chapter, but it discusses other aspects of your content strategy and not just product descriptions. Just like with the previous chapter I strongly suggest you read it before you write your web content – it will put you in the right direction and prevent you from making errors.

When reading this chapter you will gain an understanding of the best content practices for the following aspects of your online store: Home Page, URL’s, Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Internal Links, Landing Pages, Calls to Action, FAQ’s, Buyers Guides, Checkout Page, Legal Notices, Contact Us, Environmental Policy, Delivery and Returns, Checkout Pages, Legal Notices, Privacy Policy, Location Page, and more.

Chapter 9 – Testing & Research

This chapter describes to you all about testing, and how to set up and run your tests through Google Analytics. It suggests and describes a number of different elements you can try testing on your site such as…well…I think it best you read the book to find out!

You never know if something will work for your site or not. This is no matter how good the technique is or how how well it has worked for other sites.

This is why you need to test everything.

Testing not only helps you to find out what works for your particular site, it also helps you find out what does not work, which is equally important to prevent you wasting your time and cash on needless efforts.

The Bottom Line

After reading this book you’ll most definitely gain a greater understanding of how to make more cash from your eCommerce business through content strategy. You will gain many ideas on changes you can make to your site to increase your sales – just make sure you have a pen handy!

If you’re just starting out, Flicks & Clicks can provide you with an amazing framework in setting your site up to be a success. If you’re already established you’ll still gain many ideas from Flicks & Clicks to help you enhance your business.

Now all you have to do is IMPLEMENT what you learn!

Check out Flicks & Clicks now on Amazon

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