How to Write Better Product Descriptions

 In Ecommerce, Spotlight

Think about every time you’ve ever purchased something online.

What was it that made you take the plunge?

You couldn’t feel the item. You couldn’t try it on. You couldn’t take it for a trial run. Instead, it was the product description that helped you make your decision. Detailed, comprehensive, maybe even a bit funny – product descriptions are an essential part of the ecommerce world.

Unfortunately, lots of companies are writing sub-par product descriptions, and they’re not sure how to improve them.

Luckily, there’s a fix for that. By understanding how essential product descriptions are, you can come up with a plan to improve yours and start writing descriptions that sell. Here’s what you need to know.

The Power of the Product Description

Say you’re shopping for an outfit.

You’ve got a summer wedding coming up, and you want to look good. You head to the internet and start bouncing around.

You find a few options you like:

Now, assuming you like both options about the same, and the slight price difference does not sway you, you’re going to turn to the product description to help you make your decision. Which one will feel better? Which is more you?

At that point, you have a choice between “lace elegant ¾ sleeve party dress,” and “the ultimate option for that special occasion on the horizon…” The second is obviously much more compelling, and you’re probably leaning toward that option by now.

As you can see, product descriptions have a massive impact on how customers perceive your brand and products, and improving yours can go a long way toward boosting your sales.

10 Tips to Write Product Descriptions Like a Boss

Whether you’re a new brand or an established company looking for ways to increase your sales, these 10 product description boosting tips can go a long way.

1. Start With a Buyer Persona

If you don’t already have a buyer persona, now is the time to create one. Buyer personas are fictional characters that embody the traits of your most desirable customers, and they are essential in targeting your messaging and ensuring you’re reaching the right audiences.

This critical personality is much more than a figment of your imagination, though!

In the words of Kissmetrics, “A buyer persona is an imaginary customer. It is the person for whom you’ve developed your product and to whom you’d love to sell it (of course!). He or she represents your target audience, but is much more real than a vague description of some demographics.”

If you’ve already developed a buyer persona, use this time to revisit it and make sure it’s still accurate. If it suits your product base, you may also consider creating more buyer personas to mimic additional audience segments. If you’ve never built a buyer persona, follow this guide.

2. Lay out the Features and Benefits

When you think about the purpose of a product description, it’s clear these things are designed to drive people to buy. If you’re going to do that, though, it’s important to understand what sets your products apart. The best way to do this is to start with an exhaustive list of features and benefits.

Sure, you might think, “but I know why my product is special!”

You might, but your customers likely do not.

With this in mind, start writing a comprehensive list of the best things about your products.

Here’s an example from Ascent Protein, which creates high-quality protein powders.

Ascent is great at underlining exactly what sets it apart from the hundreds of other protein powders on the market.

Follow their lead by creating a features and benefits list for each of your products, and then bringing those things into your description.

3. Settle on a Tone

Consider your company as a whole: are you funny and irreverent, or serious and buttoned-up? While both are valid approaches, they’re not both suitable for all brands. Today, your tone of voice is one of the first things that sets you apart from your competitors and helps customers get an idea of your brand’s personality.

With this in mind, settle on the tone of voice you’ll use in your product descriptions before you start writing them. Remember that your tone should match that on your website and other marketing materials. Need an example of two similar products with two very different tones of voice?

Here’s a product description for shave butter from Dollar Shave Club and Van Der Hagen.

4. Make it Easy to Scan

The top-notch product descriptions we’ve looked at so far all have one thing in common: they’re easy to scan at a glance. This is because people don’t read huge blocks of text any longer, and things that are easy to scan and digest will perform better with customers.

With this in mind, break down those key features and benefits you came up with earlier in a series of bullet points. These bullet points should be positioned below a larger subheading, which focuses on the benefits of the product.

Feel free to offer a more detailed explanation of the product in your description – be conscious of paring the fat, deleting unneeded words, and keeping it simple enough for people to read at a glance.

5. Write it in Drafts

The cardinal sin of product descriptions is to write and publish them in one fell swoop. Not only does this put you at risk of forgetting important information or missing your intended tone of voice, but it also makes your descriptions feel sloppy and hasty.

Instead of taking this approach, write your product description in drafts. Start with a first draft, which offers your list of features and benefits, and lays them out in a logical and easy-to-digest way. From there, flesh the description out with additional details.

Finally, edit the draft for voice, tone, and approach. Make it as passionate and enthusiastic as possible, while staying close to your intended tone.

6. Make it Customer-Centric

Whatever you do, do not make your product descriptions all about your brand. Remember: customers want to hear how your product can help them, not why you’re so great. As such, you’ll want to focus on making your product descriptions entirely customer-centric.

This means speaking in a language your customers can understand (no industry jargon need apply), focusing on how your products can make life easier for your customers, and writing from the perspective your target audience wants to read.

7. Optimize the Description for Search Engines

The final step in your product description journey should be to optimize your product description for search engines. While you’ll automatically do a bit of this by using the terms your customers would use while searching for your products, here are a few additional SEO tips for your product descriptions:

  • Avoid jargon
  • Use primary keywords in headings, subheadings, and body text
  • Optimize product images with your key phrases in alt text, image descriptions, and file names

When you optimize your product descriptions for search engines, you give yourself a leg-up on the competition and make it easier for customers to find your items.

8. Use Emotional Language

At its core, purchasing a product is an emotional experience. According to Douglas Van Praet, the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing:

“The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”

When you understand how deeply emotional the purchasing process is, you can make conscious decisions to play up those emotions and use them to your advantage. One of the best ways to do this is by using emotional language in your marketing materials.

Instead of providing a boring list of your product’s features, appeal to your customers’ sense of smell, excitement, passion, and comfort. Tell them how a product feels, bring them into the experience, and help them understand how the item will make their lives better.

9. Use Power Words

Power words can revolutionize your product descriptions. Ideal for driving home any point you’re seeking to make in your product descriptions, power words can make your descriptions feel indulgent, exciting, urgent, or humorous.

While you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with power words, sprinkling a few in is a great way to improve your descriptions and make them more compelling for customers.

10. Use “You”

When you’re writing a product description, it’s essential to talk directly to the customer. The reason for this is simple: your customers are the ones considering the product, and they need to know why they should drop in on this product rather than another product.

With this in mind, write your product descriptions to your customers. Statements like “Set your auto-brew timer for your wake-up hour,” or “the ideal outfit for your next big event” can help your customers see themselves using your products. This, in turn, creates an emotional connection between your customers and your products and makes purchases more likely.

Better Product Descriptions Start Here

Whether you want to drive more sales or push a new product, your product descriptions are where it all begins. By following these ten tips, you can make your products more compelling, forge emotional connections with your customers, and make your business more upwardly mobile.

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