product descriptions

Writing product descriptions that sell isn’t always easy. The rise of online shopping means there’s more choice than ever before – so people need to know exactly why they should purchase your product over the next. You need to take into account your audience, brand, and even SEO.

Here, we’ve rounded up some tips to writing product descriptions that will make people click that all-important ‘add to cart’ button.

1.Know The Target Audience

As a Bristol based SEO marketer, one of the most important things to keep in mind when writing a product description is your target audience. There’s no point in creating a carefully crafted, perfectly worded masterpiece, only for it to be written for the wrong audience. This is where a ‘buyer persona’ comes in. A buyer persona is essentially an imaginary customer, and having one can make all the difference. It takes your basic customer demographics and then fleshes them out to create an (imaginary) customer.

You need to think about what makes this person tick – what they value, where they shop, what makes them laugh, what interests them and what makes them click ‘add to basket’. Really try to get into the head of your buyer persona – because then you can start to create copy that will appeal to them.

What if your product appeals to a wide audience? That’s fine – just have a few buyer personas. Create content that will resonate with each of them – unanimously or separately. The one thing that these customers have in common is your product, so try and create content that captures this.

audience product description

2. Sell The Benefits

An online description needs to highlight your product’s features and unique selling points (USPs) – but it also needs to explain how these features will make your customers life easier. This is where you need to turn your features into benefits. Take shoes for example. It’s all very well telling the customer that a pair of shoes is made from premium leather, but how will this enrich their life?

  • Hardwearing
  • Soft and supple
  • Moulds to the foot

Each of these points can be expanded to really hone in on why exactly they should buy your product. When writing your description, make a list of the features, then turn each one to a benefit. This is an easy way to show your customer why they really need your product in their life.

3. Include Size Charts

If you’ve purchased an item of clothing or a pair of shoes online, the last thing you’ll want to do is have to send to it back because the product description didn’t indicate the sizing properly. Sizing can vary greatly from shop to shop and a size chart can help your customer make an informed decision.

If you don’t want to feature the chart on each product description page, include a link to it instead. Asos have gone one step further with their ‘fit assistant’ feature which lets you enter your height and weight in order to see your personalised size recommendation for different items.

ASOS product descriptions

4. Keep a Consistent Tone of Voice

A strong, consistent tone of voice strengthens your brand and differentiates it from its competitors. As a copywriter, you’ll often be asked to create ‘quirky copy’ but this only works if it reflects your brand. There’s nothing wrong with simple, straightforward copy if this fits with your ethos.

Take an established brand like M&S – the tone of voice used is in keeping with the brand, and if they suddenly started using chirpy, sarcastic copy chances are it wouldn’t go down well with customers. Alternatively, a brand like Innocent Smoothies is famous for its playful copy – and this is something that their customer base has grown to associate with them.

5. Make Your Description Scannable

The invention of the internet and rise of social media means that patience has decreased over time. People are no longer used to reading large paragraphs of wordy text, preferring bitesize, 140-character chunks.

Because of this, you need to make sure your product descriptions are written in an easily scannable format… like this handy list:

  • Bullet pointed lists
  • Different coloured fonts
  • USPs in bold
  • Subheadings to break up text
  • Videos & photos
  • Layout

People lead busy lives, and they don’t always have time to spend reading long product descriptions. Make sure you highlight any essential information so that the reader’s eye is able to easily find it if they’re in a rush.

6. Use Social Proof

Social media is a great tool for selling. It’s a way to show your customers how people are using or styling your product and shows shoppers that they in good company if they purchase your product.

Badges, prizes and certificates are also a type of social proof – they let the customer know that the product in question has been given the seal of approval by others, and in turn fills them with a sense of trust. Make sure you highlight any prizes or sell-out statistics in the description.

Social Proof Product Descriptions

7. Evoke Emotion

It’s important to remember that people buy on emotion – not just logic, although to what degree depends on the product you’re selling. Probably the best example of this is Coca Cola. Coke is not good for you – it’s packed with sugar and if you were acting purely on logic, you’d stay clear.

However, Coca-Cola has such strong emotional ties with people that they associate it with happiness. Just think about some of their previous slogans – from ‘You Can’t Beat the Feeling’ to ‘Open Happiness’. Then there’s the Christmas marketing campaigns – even those who refrain from drinking Coke all year round will buy a bottle to keep in the fridge over the holidays, you know, ‘just in case’.

In short, emotion is an important part of advertising and paid advertising, and in turn, an important part of creating a product description.

If you’re having difficulty appealing to your customer’s emotional side, use the ‘so what?’ technique. Write a sentence detailing your product benefits and then ask, ‘so what?’ This will prompt you to elaborate on why this will benefit your customer. Here’s an example.

Feature: Powerful suction pads to grip the high chair tray or table

So what?

Baby won’t be able to throw their bowl on the floor when they are finished

So what?

This means less time tidying up messy spills

So what?

You can spend more time with your little bundle of joy.

It really is as simple as that!

8. Create a Sense of Urgency

Have you ever noticed that some websites have little pop-ups when you’re looking at products, telling you that stock is low or letting you know how many other people are currently looking at that item?

What they are doing is trying to create a sense of urgency, in the hope that you’ll purchase the product faster. And it totally works. An example of this is on the Booking.com website:

Note that they have not one, not two, not three but FOUR examples of urgency messaging – from ‘7 people are looking at this moment’ to ‘In high demand – only 2 rooms left on our site!’

9. Tell Stories

Storytelling is a great way to create product descriptions with a little more chutzpah. But it has to be done right or it will seem clunky and out of place. Keep the following points in mind:

  • Think about what the customer wants
  • Set the scene
  • Anticipate any questions
  • Show, don’t tell

An example of great storytelling is Sawdays. This luxury accommodation website specialises in special places to stay, and the copy really makes the reader feel as though they are right there. If someone is on the fence, a well-crafted story can tip them over the edge and convince them to book.

Sawdays product description

10. Explain Why It’s Better Than Competitors

Obviously, you don’t want to name names when comparing your product to your competitors – that would be bad form and probably against all kinds of advertising laws – but it’s worth highlighting any standout features that your competitors don’t have.

You can do this by using sentences like ‘The only camera phone on the market with NEW underwater camera technology’ or ‘The only coat on the market made from 100% recycled tin cans’ … or similar. Make sure you show off any features that your competitors don’t have.

11. Be Specific

Instead of using vague promises, keep your product descriptions honest and specific. As customers, we are more likely to respond to, and trust, specific sentences compared to vague superlatives. Take a look at these sentences, and see which you find more believable:

  • ‘Best Coffee in London’ vs. ‘2018 European Coffee Award Winners’
  • ‘Cheap Conveyancing’ vs. ‘Conveyancing from £249’
  • ‘Fast Food Delivery’ vs. ‘We deliver your food in under 20 minutes’

Be specific about any awards you’ve won, any promotions you’re running or any price point messaging you have. People don’t like to feel as though they are being lied to, and straightforward, honest text can make someone click on to your website over a vague competitor.

12. Write For SEO

Because e-commerce websites often have hundreds of product descriptions, optimising these product pages is more difficult than optimising company pages or blog posts. However, there are a few rules are considered best practice.

Create unique product descriptions – If you are a third party selling site, don’t simply copy the product descriptions from the manufacturer’s original website. These descriptions will be distributed to many different websites and Google will prioritise unique content over duplicated content which it views as spammy.

Show off Customer Reviews – If a product page has lots of product reviews, it not only appeals to the customer more but is more likely to be picked up by the SERPs. It’s also unique content and keeps the page updated – which can help bring the search engines back again and again.

Make your Keywords as Specific as Possible – As tempting as it can be to make your keywords as broad as possible in order to appeal to a wider audience, they are more likely to rank and convert if they are more specific. Use brand names in your URL and H1, include image alt tags and perhaps most importantly – don’t keyword stuff!

13. Answer Questions

It’s all very well to have a section for reviews on your website, but if you want to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service, consider having a question and answer section. This way, your customers can ask any questions that you may have missed in your original product description.

One of the most well-known examples of this is Amazon – who encourage customers to ask questions and also lets other customers answer questions.

answer questions product descriptions

14. Don’t Ignore Meta

It’s widely regarded that meta descriptions don’t contribute to a pages ranking position, but this doesn’t mean they are not important. Half of the battle is getting people to your site, and having a smart, relevant meta title and description can help do this.

Try and make your product page meta description a concise summary of your product, highlighting any features. Free shipping? Include it! Meta titles and descriptions can be the first step in pre-click selling, so it’s important that intrigue or inform the customer enough to click through.

If you have hundreds of product descriptions on your site, don’t feel like you have to go back and write a meta description for each one – just take the top 20 pages that get the most search engine traffic and optimise these first to see if your click-through improves further.

These are just a few pointers to create product descriptions that sell. Ultimately you need to write engaging, on-brand copy that will appeal to your target audience. Do you have any more tips for writing product copy? Let us know in the comments!

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