When you’re selling a product online, writing a good product description can truly make or break the product listing. Aside from a product image, the product description is the first thing a customer sees that can influence their purchase decision.
There are a few elements that every good product description should have. It should inform, persuade, and speak directly to the customer’s needs. A customer should be able to go to the product page, and within seconds, know what it is, how it can help them, and how it stands above the rest. If you follow the suggestions below, you should be able to write valuable, engaging product descriptions that convert to sales.
#1 Know Your Target Audience
It’s important to know who your audience is and to speak directly to them. If you speak too generically, then your writing will not have personality and the intention can fall flat. Just like in a novel or article, without a clearly defined direction and audience, it can be hard to engage the reader.
Knowing your audience can also help guide the language you use, and avoid things getting lost in translation. Younger audiences may know more buzzwords and slang than an older audience. For example, saying “Check out this sweet combination” uses a word that could have a double meaning, and the intent could be lost amongst older crowds. A helpful tip—pretend you are writing to one individual from your target audience, like a letter to a friend, and you may be able to more easily come up with the right language.
#2 Paint a Clear Picture Using Descriptive Words
A customer should be able to visualize exactly what they are getting by your description. You can even do SEO keyword research on your own to find out what words people are searching for in regards to that product or service.
#3 Don’t State the Obvious
You have a small window to engage the reader, so don’t use that time to state the obvious claims. For example, we know a toaster will toast your bread, so don’t say that in your opening product description. Use your product description to piggyback off of what the product does, but how it does it and what makes it special amongst other products like it.
#4 Keep it Short and to the Point
You should be able to describe the product in three sentences. If you cannot, you may be getting too wordy. For products that need a longer explanation, utilize bullet points, infographics, and “more details” tabs on your product listing. But people can generally get pulled in by a three-sentence hook.
#5 Use Persuasive Language
The five most persuasive words in the English language are You, Free, Because, Instantly, and New. Gregory Ciotti wrote about these words and the research that proves their effectiveness on copyblogger. Simply using the word you right away, supports our first tip about knowing your audience and speaking directly to them. People want to feel special and important, and talking to them directly can do that. Free and New are buzz words that immediately attract the eye, and don’t have to do much to persuade someone. Meanwhile, Because and Instantly help hook the customer because they’re now watching to see what this product can do and how it can solve the problem they have.
#6 Make it Quickly Scannable
Bullet points are a great way to make your product description easy to read and remember. Bullet points create a short, quick, witty description of the product that calls out exactly what the customer needs to know. A good number of bullets is 3 to 5, anything over that should just be included in a longer product description. They are meant to be a quick summary of important info.
#7 Show Proof as to Why and How it Works
“1 in 5 people say they have seen better performance while using this product.” Throw in some data that supports your product! People want to know that others have been happy with their purchase, which is why reviews are such a huge part of the online shopping process. You can’t really put your reviews or testimonials in the product description, but you can include a statistic that works just as well.
#8 Clearly Lay Out the Benefits
Be clear and to the point when you’re talking about the benefits of the product. But also don’t just make a boring list out of them. Choose your best benefit and explain it in detail. For example, “This pan fries food, rinses off, and is easy to hold.” states the obvious but doesn’t say why the product is special. Instead, you should say “This easy-to-hold pan can cook your food to perfection on it’s non-stick, easy to clean, surface.” Use descriptive words and buzz words like easy and perfection. You can still say everything you need to say but in a more eye-catching way.
#9 Solve the Customer’s Problem
Your customer is shopping for this item for a reason—they have a problem that needs solving. Whether they need a new pair of shorts for a vacation, or they need a new toaster oven because theirs stopped working, they are shopping because they need something to fill a need.
Speak to those problems! If you are writing a product description for a pair of winter boots, for example, the problem your customer has is that they need to keep their feet warm and not slip on the ice. Speak to those two things so they don’t have to go any further to find the answer. “These fleece-lined boots keep you warm down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the non-slip soles help you stay safe on the slippery sidewalks.” There you go, you’ve already solved two of their problems in one sentence.
#10 State How the Product Stands Above the Rest
The biggest part of eCommerce is making your product stand out against the other competition. People are asking why exactly they should buy your product over the competitors, and it’s your job to put that right in the product description. This can be supported by data and statistics. You can also talk about why your company decided to make this product to be the best. Point to improvements that have been made that make this better than the other products. For example, a TV may have a sleeker design or an easy to hold remote control, which are small adjustments made to something that you think can’t be improved upon. Call those out!
#11 Spark the Audience’s Imagination
To help the customer visualize what their life would be like after purchasing your product, tell a story! If you’re selling a gas grill talk about summer barbeques, and the delicious burgers you’re going to make on your brand new grill—this immediately plants a seed in the customer’s mind about how they’ll use it and how it will legitimately improve their life. Make them the hero of the story.
#12 Use Writing Tools to Check Your Work
To really make an impact and ensure you’ve written the best description you can, plug your writing into a program like Grammarly that will not only check spelling and grammar but suggest the tone of voice and format based on the language you want to get across. Those small tweaks can go a long way in how your description reads to the right audience.
#13 Come Up With a Formula
Test out different formats and templates of your product descriptions, and determine which ones convert better. Then, use that same format for your descriptions across the board. Not only do you know that it works, but it can create cohesion across your brand and website. A good formula will have the following: something that speaks directly to the customer, an engaging description of the benefits, and a call to action that suggests the customer’s next move.
Crafting a good product description requires time, research, and creativity. Continuing to optimize and improve upon them will be an ongoing process and will require ongoing testing, and data gathering to find that perfect one.
People’s opinions and needs change over the years, and it’s important to stay on top of trends and what customers are expecting when they land on a product page. But, if you follow these guidelines on how to write an eye-catching, engaging product description, you should be in good shape.
If you’re looking for solutions that can pair with your eCommerce sites to fully round out your solutions, give Scout a call.