Write Hot Product Descriptions That Sell
You’ve got them on your product page but they’re not buying. Why?
Because your words haven’t sold them on you or your product.
Too many businesses skimp on their product descriptions and then wonder why nobody buys. Or even worse they use stock standard manufacturers’ descriptions.
Well, if you’re saying the exact same thing as everybody else, then there’s nothing to distinguish you from the pack and no real reason for the potential customer to choose you over any other.
Your product descriptions matter.
You’ve spent time and money on marketing campaigns just getting them to the page, now is not the time blow it all by using shoddy product descriptions.
The customer still needs to be sold that this is really the product they desire and you are the perfect person to sell it to them.
That actually takes a bit of work; after all you are asking them to part with their money.
Quality product descriptions can sky rocket your results by increases of 30-100% even more.
The best product descriptions create an immediate impression. They communicate value, get people excited, and turn them from a browser to a paying customer.
How to Beat Your Competition
Many business owners do without product descriptions, relying solely on images to do the selling. Even worse some copy and paste manufacturers’ stock standard descriptions into their marketing material and websites.
These are huge mistakes.
Firstly those descriptions are already being used by everybody else, both offline and online.
This will hurt your SEO efforts as well as your conversion rates.
Secondly, they then use inadequate copy elsewhere and fail to achieve a consistent tone and branding message to persuade their audience.
This creates a compelling opportunity for savvy retailers — by writing quality product copy you will create a unique competitive advantage.
You will distinguish yourself from your competition and become more memorable to your customers.
Potential customers cannot see or touch the product since it’s not physically in front of them. So it’s important that your copy anticipates the needs of your visitors while convincing them that your company can be trusted to provide excellent products.
Stock copy or no copy won’t do that.
Your product copy must give buyers enough information, so that they trust you and convince themselves this is the right product for them.
Persuasion and creating trust are difficult things to do with words, and certainly beyond the talents of ordinary writers.
Your words must establish the right tone, a mix between being informative and engaging, while showcasing your product’s usability, practicality and benefits.
If your copy on does so, then your customers will believe that your products and services will meet their needs.
An added benefit of unique copy is search traffic increases dramatically. (See Search Engine Optimised Copywriting for more on this...)
Create Product Descriptions That Get Results
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How Long Should Your Product Descriptions Be?
Much longer than you think.
The myth of online writing is that people have short attention spans and scan and skim, therefore copy should be short.
But this is only true while they are browsing. Once they shift into interested and buying mode, then they will definitely want more information.
When they are ready to buy, they will often want as much information as possible.
Apple uses around 35 pages of copy for every product, even its least expensive products.
To maximise sales you should offer both, a short version and a long version. The short version should highlight the key features and benefits: who’s the product for, what will it do and why is that good.
The longer version should give them so much information that the user will have no questions left. If they read the whole thing and still have questions or doubts, then you have a problem.
If you’re retailer you are likely selling a lot of items you don’t make, don’t just repeat the manufacturer’s canned descriptions for the sake of ease. Doing so will cost you sales.
Add your company’s personal touch and recommendations – tell the customer why you personally recommend this product and how it will help them. Or even better use customer testimonials.
Tips for Writing Hot Product Descriptions
While product descriptions aren’t the sole factor in increasing leads and sales, they are one of the most powerful.
You should always hire an experienced copywriter to write your product descriptions, after all your sales results depend on it. If you can’t afford professional services then here are a few practical tips to help you boost your results.
Know Your Customer - Speak to Your Target Audience
You simply need to understand the person who will be reading your product description.
Understanding the main considerations of your ideal customer is the most crucial part of making them relate to your descriptions and buy your products.
Once you know who your target audience is, you then know which voice or personality to use to talk to them.
Consider writing a description of your typical customers before you write your product descriptions. When you do write product descriptions, keep these typical customers in mind.
Realize that your potential customers cannot touch or feel the product. So, the responsibility of identifying and addressing the needs and expectations of your target audience relies on your copy to a great extent.
Figure out the concerns of your prospects and address them in your copy to make them confident about the purchase.
Make sure you include all the information that they might require to buy the product. Use your words to give them the necessary information in an engaging fashion that impels them to click that “Add to Cart” button right away.
Steal the Language of Your Ideal Customer
A great way for getting inside the mind of your customers is to read their testimonials, reviews and feedback. Then develop your headlines, descriptions and language from them.
Seasoned direct marketers swear by this technique and you can easily use it to write high-converting product descriptions. It’s all about mirroring the conversation in the minds of your prospects.
Tell Them a Story
Above all, tell them a story. Let them imagine how their life will be if they buy your product. People make buying decisions emotionally and justify them afterwards with logic. Weaving a good story is the best way to convert them into customers.
You use a story to:
- Create a point of difference
- Get attention
- Create emotional tugs
- Make the product/service easier to explain/retain
Know Your Product
Next to knowing your customer, knowing your product is equally as essential for good copywriting. Before you can write anything unique and persuasive, you need to know something about the product that you’re selling.
This may sound obvious, but how often have you come across a salesperson who knows less than you do about a product? Do you buy from them? Usually not.
When marketers don’t think about or understand the product themselves, the descriptions become meaningless.
Know the Difference Between Features and Benefits
A feature is a fact about your product or offer. The benefit answers how a feature is of value to your customer.
These days many customers are already aware of the product’s features, unless the product is really complicated. Just adding specifications in bullet points doesn’t cut it anymore.
If you want to really persuade your visitors to buy, you will need to spell out the benefits of these features. Tell them exactly “how” a particular feature is useful for them, and “why” they should make this purchase, and why from you.
Write Compelling Product Summaries
Each product should contain a unique product summary, overview or description. This information covers what the product is, does and will do for the buyer. It’s the “meat” of the product page and is what will (or won’t) convince the shopper that this is the product they want or need. Use it to address their emotional needs as well as the “what’s in it for me” question.
Include Detailed Product Information
In addition to your product information, must include detailed information on the product’s features, specifications and benefits. If some of these features require more information, provide links to pages that have more details on each feature. Include as much information here as possible. Do not force a visitor to leave the page unless absolutely necessary.
Your detailed product copy needs to strike the right balance in tone between informative and engaging. Good sales copy explains the details about the product and why each detail matters to the customer.
Keep product descriptions straightforward and informative. This doesn’t mean your copy should be boring; but it must be positive and inspiring enough to draw readers in.
Be careful about how enthusiastic your copy sounds. You want to pique visitors’ interest without overwhelming them. Sprinkle informative facts about your products and company throughout.
Doing so will keep visitors on your site and convince them to buy your product.
Essential Copywriting Basics
A key part of writing persuasive and engaging copy is getting the basics right.
People scan and skim before they buy, so use a combination of sub-headings, bullets and paragraphs, so make it easy for them to do so.
Use bullets to quickly communicate key product details and benefits.
Place main benefits/concerns first, followed by other lesser important points.
Use paragraphs to add a story to your products, to get a deeper emotional response.
Use Larger Fonts and Well-Contrasted Font Colours.
It’s annoying to read grey text on a white background, especially if you’re using a smaller font size.
Make sure that your font colour easily stands out on the page and that your font size is easily readable for people of all generations.
Don’t make your visitors squint to read your text. They will happily read more, if your words make sense to them.
Otherwise, they will just leave and move on to another website.
Avoid Long Sentences
Long sentences are difficult to read and understand quickly and rarely persuade your market.
Shorten sentences by avoiding pointless modifiers. Break up independent clauses into separate sentences. Avoid wordy phrases and refrain from peppering your copy with too many adjectives and adverbs.
Yes you can break the grammar rules in your sales copy; it’s about what is easier to read.
If reading is hard for your customers, they will ignore your descriptions, which will eventually drop your conversions. Feel free to begin your sentences with words, like “And,” “Because,” “But,” and others.
Avoid Jargon and Clichés
Always aim for clarity not hyperbole.
Clichés are cheesy, unoriginal and only distract your readers. Avoid using jargon altogether. Visitors don’t know what most jargon means and get confused and then they leave. If someone doesn’t understand something about your product, they won’t take the risk to buy it.
Distinguish Between Jargon and Industry Language When Talking to Sophisticated Buyers
As stated previously, you want to always use the language of your customers, so there will be times when you want to include the industry “jargon” because you may think that it makes you come across as an expert.
That’s only partly right. You should always try to keep your language as simple as possible. Some people speaking the jargon don’t actually know what it means, and besides if everyone’s using the same language you end up sounding the same as everybody else.
Again, this is where you need the skills of a good copywriter who can distinguish what is jargon and what is essential industry language.
And remember, the technical people who want the product may not be the people who sign the cheques. Consider using different information under different sections to cater for and appeal to different target audiences.
KISS Keep your writing as simple and readable as possible.
Your writing must be easily understood. There’s no reason to use complex words in product descriptions.
You are going for simplicity, not trying to impress your readers with your vocabulary. Using large words will either sound like you’re trying too hard or lead to confusion.
Use an Active Voice
This means the items in your writing should be doing things, taking action. Lead with the noun that is doing the action. An active voice is clearer and makes it easier to persuade your visitors to buy your products.
Use More Verbs and Less Adjectives
Verbs are compelling; they are doing something, taking action they create impact like nothing else. Adjectives are describing something from the sidelines.
Always Have Something to Say
The most common mistake is to have no copy on your product pages. Without copy, you lose a vital mode of expressing your product and building trust.
Have a Style Guide – Avoid Inconsistent Tone
It’s common online for many people to write copy. With different writers and no defined tone of voice, this leads to inconsistency.
And when that happens, potential customers get uneasy.
All of your business materials should be written with the same tone. Apart from increasing sales, it reinforces your brand and brand messages.
Larger organisations will have a style guide and public relations or marketing staff to keep this on track.
But even if you’re a small business your marketing plan and any corporate design work will usually have explored what your business is about, stands for and how you want it to be perceived. So start there and use it as a guide.
This is the way your brand sounds. What you know about your audience will inform this brand voice.
To find your own company’s brad voice, imagine how you would speak to your customer if you were face to face.
Should your voice be serious and formal, or casual and funky? Should you emphasize your descriptions on the technical aspects of the product, or should you concentrate more on its looks?
Don’t exaggerate in order to make your product more desirable; this will cost you authenticity and trust.
Always use logical arguments when explaining the benefits and applications of your product. It’s OK to exaggerate the emotional response to a product, but not the product itself.
Don’t Ignore Convention
With wording on buttons and links, it can be tempting for designers and writers get creative with different words but this is always a bad idea.
Consumers have inbuilt notions of how to shop from their collective experience across thousands of websites. Stick with “contact us”, “add to basket” and other button and link conventions that people are familiar with on the majority of other sites.
Everyone has heard examples of translations gone wrong. Without cultural sensitivity, copy fails. (So outsourcing your writing to India or the Philippines will inevitably cost you more business in the long run.)
Australia, Britain and America are three countries separated by a common language. American, British and Australian consumers have different expectations yet are often presented with the same copy.
British people view American advertising as too aggressive. Australian’s just don’t like American hype and advertising period.
Some retailers believe American copy should be redone for a British audience. In Australia western Australians have different customs than eastern states Aussies.
Again know who you are writing for. If you are unable to write different copy for different cultures speaking the same language, write copy that is compatible for everyone.
Many retailers fail to even consider localisation when writing their copy.
One of the most important things your website needs to do is establish trust. Customers are still wary about online spending, especially from businesses they don’t know.
All of the things mentioned in this article will help you create that trust. Not doing them will detract from it.
Have Flawless Copy
The first way to establish trust is the most obvious; that is, to have flawless copy. Grammar and spelling mistakes make you look careless and incompetent. If you can’t put the time into flawless copy, visitors won’t invest time and money into your products.
State the Obvious
Many businesses make the critical mistake of thinking all customers understand their business and how it operates; they don’t.
Always explain everything, what your product is, how it works, payment, shipping and return processes. If a customer is uncertain about any of these details they won’t buy your product. It’s that simple.
I’ve seen countless great products on great looking websites fail because the company didn’t explain the basics.
You may be in love with your product and think it’s the greatest thing in the universe but your potential customer doesn’t, at least not yet.
They are busy people and do not want to waste time wondering about it.
Explain everything in straight and clear words.
In a perfect world, every product description on your site will have a well-written product description that encourages customers to buy, but you still need to be pragmatic.
If your ecommerce business’s previous product description plan consisted of copying and pasting manufacturer descriptions or plagiarizing the competition, you may be facing hundreds or even thousands of descriptions in need of a rewrite.
Don’t panic, just focus on your most important, best selling, highest margin, largest inventory, products first, adding a few new product descriptions each day until you’ve tackled them all.
You should also consider the product itself. Some products just don’t need long descriptions.
Volumes have been written about what it takes to be a professional writer.
Copywriters spend years learning the craft, so while it is unlikely that you will learn the art of professional writing from a few online articles.
Professional writers are conscious of structure. This may mean grammar and when to break the rules.
It may mean creating an outline that includes the points you need to cover, or it may simply mean always starting a product description with a particular kind of sentence or idea.
If you have the budget, let them take care of the writing and you can take care of the results.
Product Description Conclusion
Writing unique and effective product descriptions will help an ecommerce business attract more shoppers, convert more of those shoppers into paying customers, and build more brand loyalty so that those customers come back.