How to Write Product Descriptions that SellMay 1, 2018 - Ben Froedge
Great product descriptions are a non-negotiable if you want more people to give you money. Product images grab attention, and you can even make some sales based purely on your images. But if you really want to take your product pages to the next level, you need to have relevant, well-structured, and customer-focused product descriptions that sell.
Why do product descriptions matter?
If buyers can see your product in high-quality images, why do the words even matter? Isn’t a picture worth a thousand words? Yes… but words still matter. Words paint ideas in our mind, and well-crafted words have an effect on us that even images can’t entirely replace.
The two go together like cookies and milk. When I look at your product page, the words tell me a story about what my life will be like with your product, while the images allow me to make in a detailed, living scene.
Let’s be honest. The term “product descriptions” doesn’t do it justice. From the sound, you can almost picture Ben Stein in an eye drop commercial. Droning and boring as he tells you about all the features and specifications. Terrible. This is not the reaction you are looking for.
That’s not what I want for your store. Your product pages deserve more than a bland and dry narrative. I don’t want you to waste time and opportunity by writing descriptions that are drier than a pack of crackers. You want to create product descriptions that sell your product.
What makes a better product description?
This is not a literary magic thing. You don’t have to be Tolkien or Rowling to write top selling product descriptions. Three simple things will take you miles ahead of most stores. Make sure your descriptions are relevant to your ideal buyers, easily readable, complete with any necessary information.
How do you make product descriptions relevant?
First, you need to write in a way that matters to the people who give you the most money. Your customers are their own demographic. They may fit into other demographics as well, but all the people who buy from you have one thing in common: They buy from you.
That means that your customers share a unique set of wants and needs that your brand fills. They have a problem, and you are the solution to it.
Next, find out what problems you solve for your customers, in their own words. Find out how they talk about you and your product, in their own words. Then take those words, and shove them right into your marketing copy and product descriptions.
To use a well-known marketing term – this is your value proposition. It’s turning your customers’ problem into a solution through what you sell.
How to get this information:
- Buyer reviews are an excellent source. If you already have some, there is no better source of information for your descriptions. This is the fountain of youth for your store.
- Social Media is another source. Find the buyers who interact with you, tag you, and recommend you to their friends. Those are your target buyers. Write down the words they use.
- Hobby/interest sites or Facebook Groups related to what you sell will discuss topics that matter to your buyers. If they are popular with your buyers, they probably know the right words and phrases to use.
- Message Boards/Reddit- If there are message boards or a subreddit related to what you sell, you are once again getting the words straight from the source.
- Ask your customers directly. They will tell you exactly what you want to know. Offer them store credit for taking part in an even more advanced survey where you get on the phone and pick their brain.
How do you make product descriptions readable?
Next step in writing product descriptions that sell is to take the mind-blowing information you just gathered and turn it into something you can use.
Again, this is less about being a fantastic writer and more about forethought and preparation. You are not writing yet. You are planning. You are laying the groundwork.
Firstly, think about what you want to say. Include the information that is most important to your shoppers. Make sure you include the value that your product will add to the buyer’s life. Note that higher price points will need more convincing and be nurturing to make the sale.
Then, find your format. Just like you create a template to make your images make sense, you should format your descriptions to make more sense. By breaking information down into natural sections and digestible chunks, you are making it much easier to understand for your buyers. Mixing sentence-based narrative forms with numbered or bulleted lists is super useful.
Woot (below) are very good at not only formatting their descriptions well but adding use cases and benefits into their descriptions.
If you have a lot to say, consider breaking it down into multiple sections or even different types of information. The narrative is just sentences broken into tiny, focused paragraphs that focus on only one thing each.
If I were talking about a backpack, here I might talk about the number of pockets, overall size, and how it makes life easier when you can grab your backpack and go. I might talk about how it overcomes this or that problem that I faced using other backpacks. The goal is for them to picture this backpack making their lives better.
Specifications lists are important but can also go on for a very long time, so make sure you make it easy to digest.
How do you make your product descriptions complete?
Having a ‘complete’ product description is the idea that you are giving your customers all the information they need to make a purchase. They don’t need everything thrown in their face; they need just the right amount of information at their fingertips.
Let’s use the backpack example; After I get them to picture how the backpack could solve their problems getting their stuff from place to place, they may have other questions such as what materials is it made from, how was it made (hand-sewn or glued), what are the dimensions, where was it made, what are the working conditions like? or is it animal tested? (Now I’m picturing a monkey with a backpack, which seems pretty cool and like a unique branding opportunity).
Of course, different customer demographics have different questions however all of these are things you might want to write about.
The world is increasingly full of consumers who are more aware of many factors that inform their purchase decisions.
Material quality, social and environmental issues, and a lot of other things can make an impact. Is your leftover material recycled to reduce waste? Awesome. Do your suppliers enforce healthy and humane working conditions? Great. Letting your customers know that kind of information may help you stand out and become someone’s obvious choice.
Your product descriptions are more than just a few words on a page. Along with your product images, they are one of the best opportunities you get to make a connection as well as a sale. Giving them the time and attention required to make them great will pay for itself.