Is it true that nobody reads business copywriting? We don’t think so, which is why we’re exploring the power of words and their impact on eCommerce and retail. Special guest Aimée Lopez is a retail copywriter and strategist with 26 years of retail experience. The owner of Copy Unleashed uses persuasive tactics based on consumer behavioral psychology to turn passersby into customers by using powerful words. Discover the surprising impact of poor or unclear product descriptions and learn how to make them clear, concise, and correct. Get tips on optimizing your descriptions, website copy, and beyond based on the psychology of customers. Learn how to make your content and marketing more accessible through tools like ALT tags, captions, and website plugins. Explore Aimée’s viewpoint on the advantages of AI writing assistance as a gateway for small business owners and marginalized entrepreneurs. Gain an understanding of how to craft recording scripts or outlines and video descriptions optimized for SEO and Google’s E-A-T. Hear how Aimée works to create copy that can be translated into different languages, even when countries have different rules about word usage.
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Clear, Concise, And Correct Copy With Aimée Lopez
In this episode, we’re joined by a special guest, Aimée Lopez, who is a retail copywriter and strategist with 26 years of retail experience. As the owner of Copy Unleashed, she uses persuasive tactics based on consumer behavioral psychology to turn your passerbys into customers and consumers by using the power of words. Aimée, we’re so excited to speak with you and get into the benefits of copywriting and why that’s so important for eCommerce and retail.
On this show, we speak to a few different types of people. Those could be small businesses, various brands, and companies of different sizes. We have content creators or influencers, professional livestream hosts, and retailers. There are a lot of different people in this space, and I want to clarify that copywriting touches all of this.
I’m very passionate about copywriting. I’m always interested in learning and improving. Both Nicolas and I are looking forward to this conversation. Before we get deep into this and learn more about Aimée, Nicolas, I would love to hear an update on eStreamly and what’s been going on behind the scenes.
Aimée, we’re so excited to have you, as Whitney has mentioned. What we will discover through that conversation is the power of the world is so important, especially when we think about it in the live stream environment and talking with people. Before we get into that, I’m super excited for the audience. You may remember that we had a special guest, Patti Reilly, on the show. Patti and eStreamly, we are going to do like a fun thing for the holiday. We are going to offer fivebrands the opportunity to do a live stream at a very accessible pricing as a way to get into the fun together.
If you are interested in that, please reach out to us. This is going to be a very limited package. We only going to offer five, and it’s going to be a full end-to-end conversation with the production, professional host, and livestream shopping. It’s an opportunity for someone that wants to try and has been always thinking about, “How do I do this?” it’s an opportunity to try. We’re very excited about this.
I love hearing all the behind-the-scenes and how you’re so dedicated to supporting people with their work, Nicolas, and having success. That leads to the discussion we’re having. I would love to begin hearing as a succinct way of explaining, Aimée, what brought you to copywriting. Why is that such a big focus for your work? What has the ripple effect been through doing this work and the benefits that you’ve seen for other people? I’m sure it extends beyond eCommerce, but I would love to start with what you’re seeing in the industry and how you’ve seen companies and individuals evolve and find more success because of copywriting.
I got into copywriting. I was working here in London. I’m currently based in London, but I’m originally from New York City. I’m in the vintage clothing industry. Originally, I have an undergraduate degree in Film Production and a Master’s degree here in London in Film Theory. When I started working in the vintage clothing industry here in London, I used to have also, at the same time, a very successful magazine, which I cofounded and I was the creative director.
One day, one of the sellers I was working with was a big Depop influencer. I know they do some live streaming themselves. She asked me one day, “You have this magazine. It’s doing pretty well. Would you help me out and write some product descriptions while it’s quiet?” Of course, it started from there. With the pandemic happening, I had to reexamine my life.
In the vintage clothing industry, as you can imagine, the bottom fell out of it. I had to make some quick decisions, and then I was like, “I’ve been doing this for almost two years for this person.” The customers are writing, particularly in the reviews, how they’re being so positive and they’re talking about the copy. They’re reading it. Most people are like, “Generation Z and Millennials, they don’t read copy,” but it’s not true.
The second question you asked me is about the impact. The impact of copy is that people, unfortunately, all different types of businesses, don’t understand the power of copy. I’ve gotten from even creative directors and big companies and they say, “The image rule sells the product.” That’s verbatim. Somebody has told me that.
That’s great, but the thing is that we have to think of a sales funnel and we also have a call to action and people have to know if it fits them. They need to understand how the delivery is going to be happening. That’s going to be with a copy. It has to be a marriage. I’m not saying that one has to be isolated from the other, but the thing is that there has to be a marriage between the two. There has to be a bond. It’s incredibly important.
For example, I worked with a client whose website was gorgeous and she’s a graphic designer. She had motion graphics on it. The photos were professional and clean, but the conversions weren’t happening because people didn’t understand what she was selling through copy. I helped her with that. Helping her explain the brand a bit more, and then also, the things that are happening in the media as you see. Greenwashing is logistical and also operational-based. That’s this root source. It’s based on copy.
That’s why people are getting sued left and right now because of the word. Copy for retailers, eCommerce, and live stream, as I said, the image and the product are paramount, and I’m not downplaying that, but the copy is going to push people. They’re going to feel secure. The audience wants to feel like your values align with them. Copy’s going to do that for you. It’s something to value and respect.The copy will push people and make them feel secure. They want to feel your values align with them. The copy will do that for you. It's something to value and respect. Click To Tweet
It’s good timing because we had an episode with somebody who focuses on sustainability. Your point about this greenwashing side of things and how companies might misrepresent what they’re all about and what their products are, they might use that as a manipulation tactic. It shows the power of the word and how that can impact the customer and also the world for better or for good. I also love how you touched upon Gen Z, Millennials, and the younger people who might not seem as interested in copywriting.
However, it’s great timing because platforms like TikTok are now prioritizing SEO, Search Engine Optimization. It is going to become more important that people know how to write and know how to use keywords in order to get their content seen. While somebody might not think it’s important, if visibility is important, if influence is important, then knowing how to write, what to write, and understanding an SEO is going to become very crucial. I’m curious how you feel about that.
I want to go into the fact that people say that there’s a common thing now. Even in big large brands, they’re like, “Nobody reads the copy.” If the copy is not clear, concise and correct, you better believe, I don’t care what age you are, I don’t care what background you are, you are going to return that product. Returning that product is horrible for the environment. It’s bad for customer service and your reputation, brand identity, and all these things.
Also, what retailer, eCommerce, or livestream person wants to have a high return rate? I don’t know anybody there. Everybody’s talking about, “How do I lower my return rate?” It starts with having clear, concise, and factual to a certain extent, as much as you can, as factual as possible. It’s because people will clock you, as we say in New York.
I love this whole conversation. For the audience that’s also receiving a newsletter, we were talking about this exact point you were talking about, Whitney, where Gen Z and Millennials are using in mass closed caption. We are seeing a massive amount of people going back to using closed caption. Who hasn’t opened up their TikTok platform and, instead of putting the song down, just read the caption?
Copywriting is important. It also reminded me of a conversation I had. I think I was at a trade show in Vegas. I remember sitting on the bars next to a person I have no clue about, and then the guy started writing something on the table. I’m asking, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m a writer by profession.” We started exchanging.
That person was writing, like you do, Aimée, for big brands. There were eight people dedicated to writing product descriptions all day long for that brand. I was blown away. I was thinking that with all those AI copywriting, you can find out where you put a word, and then it makes like these ten pages of copy, and then you say, “I have this long thing.”
I say, “Why do you need that?” The person started to explain and say, “There’s a real science behind writing. How do you pair the right word? What do you say? How do you say things?” He was telling me that he was doing a lot of A/B testing every day to find what he was writing versus what he was not writing, how people were behaving toward that big massive brand. It’s real science, honestly, the writing product description.
The other thing that I want to speak from my experience is that we have a client on a streaming platform with a product description. For the people that don’t know the platform, what we do is we take on your product description and we fit it in our system. We optimize the SEO on the video itself. It’s unbelievable. Regardless of all the content we do, our top 20 research on eStreamly are product-related to that specific client.
Why? It’s because their product descriptions are phenomenal. They’re very expressive. We get more traffic on our site from those product descriptions than we get from all the content that we do. As our audiences know, we’re trying to put a lot of content on livestream shopping, eCommerce, and everything.
It is powerful. I think that’s why personally, if I’m on an eCommerce and any eCommerce brand should think through why using Script AI that’s going to cost me $10 or using someone like Aimée, that’s more expensive service, but then you get that granular kind of define. I’d love to see if you think the same on that, and I’d love to hear from you what you think about those AI copywriters.
I come from a working-class, person of color background and a single-parent household. I’m not going to be one of those copywriters who are going to go right in and bash an AI program. The thing is that there are a lot of entrepreneurs and solopreneurs that are coming up and trying to get their feet on the ground.
Obviously, with America currently, because I’m American and you are both based in the States, these are valuable resources for people to at least get out there. I can’t say anything bad about that to give them an entry into it. Especially also, percentage-wise, in the United States, mostly Black women are the biggest percentage of new entrepreneurs.
To give some clarity about AI assistance and AI copywriting, it’s taking the history of what I’m writing and there’s this history of amazing copywriters like Robert Bly and all these people. They’re grinding it down and repurposing it. It’s a good entry point for certain people if they can’t afford it and they need to have a minimal viable product. If you want to get into people’s heads, you’re not making those conversions. If you need some optimization, you need to go to a professional eventually in your entrepreneurial journey like myself.
I got to be honest with you, Nicolas, because I’m a New Yorker, I’m getting a little tired of people coming to me and are like, “Can you write some nice sentences? Why does it cost that much? You can’t do it in a day?” As I mentioned in my bio, and Whitney was kind enough to recite that, I do an extensive amount of consumer behavioral research on interviews and voice of customer research.
Also, not only that, but personally for me, I can’t speak for my peers, but I have 26 years, longer than most people have been alive, of retail floor experience. I know how people shop. I write differently for men than I write for women. Also, people need to start thinking about non-binary people and gender neutrality. I write about that on my website. There’s been a seismic shift since the pandemic in how people shop and our consumers nowadays. Hopefully, that answered your question.
I love the idea of thinking through the lens of, “Who is my customer that is going to consume the product? I need to adapt my tone to the way I described this product.” The other thing that we were talking with someone, a person that supports product descriptions on social media. One of the very interesting insights he was talking about was more than the sales itself on social media.
People were spending a lot of time not so much browsing the picture, which I thought was that, but browsing the text. I was very surprised by that. People were looking at the picture. If the picture was the hook, that will make them stop, then they will spend the time reading that.
In this day and age where we don’t spend time reading, where we won’t think fast, when we come to the product, and in some way, that’s what the video is for. We want to come across a message, but there’s still a big percentage of the population that is spending this time reading your comments. That’s the reason why we wanted to bring up that topic because it’s so important. When you think about your eCommerce and your overall strategy, everything works together. I think this idea of writing has a lot of power and the word of power.
To go to what you’re saying based on and rooted in consumer behavioral psychology, and also based on branding like Donald Miller’s story brand framework, people psychologically retain information better when it’s told in a story form. That also goes along with video scripts for live streaming. It’s something that needs to be considered when you are writing your pieces.
I’m going to use Shein as an example. They’re making a lot of money, but when you look at the product descriptions, it just says, “Blue. Skew. Medium.” That’s for a certain demographic, but if you’re going to a certain price point, of course, if you’re going to buy a Ferrari, you’re going to want to know what’s under that hood.
We’re going into the psychology of things. I’m not just sitting there going, “It’s a red Ferrari.” No, I’m looking at the horsepower. I’m looking at what you could do with the leather. I want to know how the leather’s feeling. I want to know how fast you can get into this thing. What are the sounds? I can go on for hours about that, but that’s some information.
I also want to return to what you were saying about people of color, marginalized communities in general, entrepreneurs who may not get as much focus or have the disadvantage of some people turning their noses up at inexpensive or free tools. The accessibility of things may not be ideal, but knowing where people are coming from, it sounds like this is part of it too. There’s no one size fits all and you have to understand where you’re at as a business and what resources you have. Also, tapping into your customers and understanding them as well because I think disconnect can happen.
Sometimes people, as business owners, assume that their customers are the same as them. We see this also with accessibility ableism, whether it’s accessibility in terms of, “How does somebody find what you’re selling? Do they have the resources to get to your website or a store where your product is sold? Are they able to read it? Are they able to understand how you’re communicating?”
A lot of that doesn’t get discussed. Since you seem to be so knowledgeable about accessibility as well as understanding people of color, and other marginalized entrepreneurs and small business owners out there, I’d love to hear more about that because we haven’t explored that on this show nearly enough.
It’s an important topic. There’s also neurodiversity as well and the way they view things on screen is very important. That’s another thing about copywriting and why somebody would potentially look into investing with a copywriter because we’re also looking at how things are being formatted. We’re looking at the color choices. Usually, I’m not going to say all copywriters, but when you get to a certain bracket of copywriters, they will do wireframing. We’re sitting there thinking about all that. We’re thinking about UX. We’re thinking about web design.
This is all also going into the thought process. As you mentioned, accessibility tags, which are very important, which is going to affect you. You’ve touched upon SEO that is going to majorly affect your SEO and that’s something to consider. When you’re doing a LinkedIn post, it does say alt tag. Instagram as well will tell you an alt tag. You don’t have to go crazy. It doesn’t have to be a soliloquy. It doesn’t have to be Hamlet. Just write the basic information like, “Woman wearing cat eyeglasses, dark hair behind a beige wall.”
The other thing that you eat upon is copywriting is not just about writing the story of your product on that product page. Copywriting can be touched upon so many different aspects of your eCommerce journey. It’s when you communicate with your customer, maybe your automation email that you have. It can be some script or some idea of script for any customer service you have.Copywriting is not just about writing the story. It touches on so many different aspects of your e-commerce journey. Click To Tweet
More interestingly, when you think in the context of live shopping and live streaming altogether, it’s something that we talked about before in previous episodes. It’s this idea of creating the frame of your show. What are the different topics you want to talk about? How do you want to narrate that? What word do you want to choose?
We all know that in a live stream event, you can’t control everything and there’s no way to learn by art and then repeat all the things you know by art because that’s never going to come through genuine, and it has to be a conversation. Still, highlighting some words, and keywords that you like and want the host to highlight, are important. You’re coming from this background of video production. What do you think is the missing piece people do not see when they think about creating a video and describing it? What’s the element there?
I do write video scripts for brands as well currently. That’s one of the services that I provide. This is the golden nugget here. This is it. It’s timing. That’s the main thing that people are not thinking about. It’s the timing. In consumer and behavioral psychology, human beings can intake two words per second. That is something that you need to consider. We’re talking about accessibility. We’re talking about the flow of it. I think that’s the main thing people don’t unfortunately consider or they’re not told. That’s the thing, I’m going to tell people. They’re not told that.
When I write a script, my timings are very succinct and I also give the editor timings, but livestream folks don’t have to get that detailed. The only thing is to understand the pacing when they do their outlines. As you mentioned, they don’t need to have a full script because it’s going to sound robotic and it’s not going to sound natural. You want to connect with your consumer on a certain motive level. I would say do an outline and think about two words per second of your particular piece. I think that will be an immense help to a lot of people.
What I do is I do two words per second, but then just to give some leeway for breath. People pronounce things differently. Sometimes I write video scripts for the Chinese market in English, so when they do the localization, certain words are going to be longer. What I do is I do two words per second personally, and then I cut off ten words to give that breath.
That touches upon something else in terms of accessibility, which is language barriers. When you’re writing for somebody who doesn’t speak English natively, how do you figure out the best way for them to communicate since you’re primary language is English? I’m not sure if that’s the truth. You do speak some French like Nicolas and I as well.
I’d love to hear more about thinking through language differences when you’re writing. There’s so much that can get lost in translation. We have a lot of tools that can automatically transcribe things, but so much can get misunderstood and misconstrued through AI translation. If somebody is trying to figure it out by glancing at your screen, what are some of the keys to making the language easier to translate and communicate when it comes to marketing a product or a service?
I’ll answer your question, but I have to say, it’s incredibly difficult because, as you can understand, there are so many different products, nuances, and information you’re trying to get across because you’re a representative of the brand, your client. When I write for other languages, I have pieces that get translated into Russian and into Chinese, which is fantastic.
However, you have to use the clearest terminology of words. Also too, don’t get fancy. People get fancy and it drives me nuts. Even brands do this. Even in English, they try to get fancy and they use industry jargon like colorwheels. When I see that in a professional copy, it drives me nuts because that is industry jargon that the normal mom-and-pop doesn’t know what that means. You can just say “Color. The colors that are available.” That’s it.
You need to take away those things. You need to take away idioms that are from your particular language and spell it out. Also, the translators we work with are incredibly professional, top-notch. Of course, as a professional, you try to make it as easy and seamless. It’s my job to get the message across concisely and as clear as possible. I need to respect that, even though the translators are amazing. They do an amazing job. Even sometimes they come to me, they’ll alert me like, “In Russia, they didn’t understand this one terminology, it didn’t translate right.”
Interestingly, this has almost nothing to do with what we’re saying, but in China, there are particular words you cannot use. In the People’s Republic of China, there are certain words that are banned in ad copy and copy, which is fascinating to me. Stuff that we would think is like, “That’s pretty normal,” but you have to work with that and you have to educate yourself. I do a lot of studying on this. I do a lot of interviews with different folks in different territories so to make sure that I understand that customer.You have to educate yourself to understand the customer. Click To Tweet
It’s interesting because this is what we’re starting to appeal to here, what is the benefit of working with a professional copywriter versus working with a machine that’s going to provide you with a piece of text that’s going to fulfill a need? There are all those nuances from making your message clear, making it that it can be concise enough that people will read it, that it resonates with me as a man, or resonates with Whitney if it’s something that is for her, or it resonates with you, Aimée if it’s something that is for you. All those nuances, that’s not something that the AI will be able to calibrate for. Those are the reason why they are a company that I’m investing heavily in copywriting.
Nicolas, do you know of anybody? Every time I talk to a company about copy, they’re trying to go as bare bones as possible, let’s be honest.
I think it’s everything. I think you will always have, in my view, a company that’s trying to expand on that horizon, given that there are businesses built on that. I wanted to say that something interesting is going on right now. I think everyone has probably seen or heard the new search engine optimization release where Google is saying that they want to promote genuinely human content. I don’t know if that’s the exact word or if they’re doing it a certain way.
We’re using the abbreviation E-A-T, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
It’s interesting because I think Google wants to deprioritize on the content what they feel is text-for-text for SEO, versus this is a human that writes it, has a sense and a meaning, and provides value to people. They are trying to build an algorithm to de-promote like a blog that just talks about putting the keywords out there to make sure that they are popping up. Versus something where people read it and say, “That’s interesting. It provides me with value.” When you think about that, even the big companies are thinking and saying, “How do we make the internet this place? How do we promote that content that is more genuine and more human-related?”
It’s a big shift going on right now, I think, of the internet when you think of that lens. I have talked to some SEO folks. If someone is the SEO tuning into the show and wants to talk about this specific, we would love to have you on the show. It’s fascinating to see that, even the way people are building the builder of the SEO algorithm are recognizing that maybe we went too far with that. We should bring back the human element in copywriting. I think it’s an interesting thought.
Everybody’s trying to find hacks. That was always the case. The point is this was happening before this update. I got to be honest with you. People were going to websites and they were going to blogs that gave them value. The thing is, they were getting the traffic and Google is like, “Awesome. Cool.” However, people started trying to create hacks and trying to create hacks against the system, and Google’s like, “This is not going to work.” That’s what happened.
This has been so enlightening. I didn’t even know about E-A-T. I just looked it up. This is news to me. It goes to show, as you said earlier, Nicolas, the benefits of working with a professional. I’m so in awe of Aimée because you are so dedicated to this. Your understanding of psychology. You are up to date on the changes that are happening. You’re committed to giving the optimal experience. I love the message of making your copywriting clear, concise, and correct.
I can tell you, after many years of dabbling in copywriting and editing, it can feel overwhelming and all-consuming. If you don’t prioritize it enough, which I have to say, a lot of businesses that I’ve been involved with haven’t understood it. That’s probably because they have somebody who’s doing it as part of their job, or maybe they’re not paying them well. Maybe they’re using their AI tools.
Don’t forget the intern. They love an intern writing copy.
Maybe people think of going back to one of your points earlier, too, of working with the younger generation. Nothing wrong with that. We’re not saying there’s the best or ideal way to do things. However, through this conversation, I’ve seen the massive benefit of working with someone like you who deeply understands it and has so many years of experience, as you said earlier, very few people can attest to this.
You also have a passion for this. It doesn’t seem like to me a side hustle or something you’re doing to make some money on the side. You seem so into this. I think that that adds to an immensely valuable experience. I feel you’ve done a fantastic job stressing and outlining the importance of all this. I feel grateful.
I also loved, Nicolas, how you mentioned the impact that good copywriting has on eStreamly. It’s surprising to your point, and it makes me wonder what other things we can do within the company to maximize it. Are there any other final words from either of you before we wrap up to you? Anything that we didn’t get to that you want to sneak in here before we wrap up?
From my end, all I ask is that eCommerce entrepreneurs, livestream entrepreneurs, and retailers, that they look at who their target audience is. Not their ideal customer, that’s a motive, but target customer, because that’s based on research and data. It’s data-driven. Just listen to that and look around it. Unfortunately, I think we talked about it in this conversation, but it’s not yourself. That’s a valid starting point, but it grows from there.
It’s interesting. I’m a Millennial, so I tend to communicate and do copywriting with emojis, but everyone has a different way. I think it was a fantastic conversation. I hope the audience, if you haven’t paid much attention to the copywriting, I hope will give you a sense of why you should be paying attention to that specifics. There’s an immense amount of benefit to unleash there.
It’s not for everyone. If you are starting and you may go by with what you have so far. If you want to expand on your product and if you want to reach new horizons with the quality of your product, you’re already spending so much money on making the best product. Take some of that. That will also describe it in the best way. I think it could have a huge impact. It was a fantastic conversation. Thank you, Aimée, for all the insights. Thank you, Whitney, for this conversation.
You’re welcome. For the audience who might be eager to connect with Aimée after this and curious about her services, you can find that at CopyUnleashed.com. If you want to share anything that you’ve learned, that is at eStreamly.com. There, we have other episodes that we’ve done. If you would listen to our backlog, we’re closing in on 50 episodes of the show. We have them every week.
We would love to have you in the future as part of our conversation, so you can subscribe over at The Live eCommerce Show on your favorite platform. We look forward to exploring more angles of live streaming, eCommerce, and how to optimize your business. Thanks again to you both for being here in this conversation. Thanks to the audience for being part of this important world of live-streaming eCommerce.