Good product descriptions are more complex than they seem. These snippets of copy are your digital salespeople, quickly and succinctly explaining why potential buyers need the product you’re selling.
From the style and tone of your language, to directly explaining how your product is the solution to a problem, there are a number of things to consider when crafting the perfect product copy.
Establish a buyer persona and hone your tone of voice
Who is your product for? Don’t just think about who you’d like to buy it – think about who needs it and who it’s likely to appeal to. What kind of websites does this person visit? What other products do they buy? Scope out competitors and other sites your target demographic might be browsing to get a better idea of a style and tone that works. Figuring out exactly who you’re selling to, and pitching your product in language they’ll connect with, makes the shopping experience a little more personal and a lot more persuasive.
Think about how you would speak to your audience if you met them in real life, and let that be your style guide. Popular teen and young adult brand PrettyLittleThing makes use of slang words and conversational copy in their descriptions. Their word-of-the-minute choices like ‘slay’ and ‘bae’ are as likely to be found on site as they are in the latest chart release or viral meme.
Be clear on the features and benefits of your product
Before you write your product description make a list of all of the features and specifications of the item you’re selling. Now re-write the list, but as benefits. Rephrasing a simple fact about your product and turning it into a problem-solver tells readers exactly what they stand to gain from shopping with you. In a succinct manner, explain how the positive attributes of your item solves an everyday problem your buyer may have.
If you can pitch your products in a way that makes buyers’ lives easier, the likelihood of them choosing to buy will skyrocket. Take this example from Amazon – why is the built-in adjustable light a selling point? Because you can read day and night. They don’t just say there’s no screen glare, they specify that this quality makes their product better than a tablet, and so on.
Lead with a hook, and keep the language emotive
Research has shown that our emotional response to an advert has a much greater influence on purchasing than the content of the ad itself. Content that goes viral does so because of the emotional response it elicits, so the bigger and better the emotional response, the more shareable and appealing a piece of content is.
Upgrade your language from functional to emotional – why would you say a dress ‘looks good’ when you can say it will make the buyer ‘feel like a million dollars’, or describe a chair as ‘comfortable’ when you could say it ‘delivers instant comfort and support’?
Again, consider your buyer persona and tone of voice to help find words that apply the right level of emotion. Use language to eliminate buyer guilt – pitch your product as an essential; a bargain; a long-lasting and multi-functional purchase they deserve. Don’t sell the thing, sell the feeling the buyer will get from owning it.
Popular clothing brand ModCloth are experts in selling positive emotions, with descriptions like the one below persuading shoppers that not only will they feel no guilt about spending money, but that wearing their new purchases will make them feel on top of the world.
Include all the key information
This seems like an obvious one, but product descriptions need to be short and snappy. This can often lead to important information being skipped or forgotten in the writing process. If you find your list of details getting lengthy, cut the information a product photo will explain anyway – colour, shape and so on. Specific measurements, materials and attributes, like WiFi compatibility or a detachable lining, aren’t obvious from pictures and could be the detail your potential buyer is looking for.
Here are a few things to consider when checking over your product descriptions.
– Answering the ‘first objection’
The first objection is a more succinct name for ‘the first thing other than price that potential customers might wonder or worry about’. It’s the number one question someone might ask or does ask about your product. Is it machine washable? Is it shatterproof? Does it come with a warranty? Make sure that whatever the question, your product description answers it.
– Mention any awards or well-publicised praise where possible
Don’t miss the opportunity, no matter how niche or minor an award or commendation may seem, because it could be the stamp of approval a buyer needs to feel that your product is trustworthy and high quality. If you’ve got great reviews from existing customers let other potential buyers know – people are more likely to buy something with a five-star review than to buy a similar product without one, so share the praise you’ve worked so hard to earn.
– Be specific
Telling someone they’re buying a size large black jumper isn’t as helpful or as conversion-friendly as telling them they’re buying a 40 inch chest, midnight-black Egyptian cotton jumper with elasticated cuffs. An outdoor speaker could be one of millions, but a waterproof outdoor speaker with Bluetooth compatibility and changeable covers sounds just that little bit more special.
Choose words wisely; a description that is too lengthy won’t get read, but don’t skim on the specifics. Many websites get around the confines by having the ‘description’ and ‘details’ in separate tabs on the same product page. In the example below, we can see how ModCloth have kept emotive descriptions in an overview paragraph, followed by a list of bullet-pointed item specifics on another tab.