The secret to writing a great product description
Product descriptions are incredibly important. I can’t quite fathom why they are neglected on such a regular basis. Often they are just the manufacturers’ default description or there is just none at all. This can be detrimental to your business, for more than just one reason. How are you going to convince your customer that they should buy your product if they don’t know anything about it?
Not to mention that they are also important for SEO purposes, so if you just use the standard description that others are using, it could have negative effects on your rankings and without a description you have even less chance of being found.
Think about it. How can you hope to have your listing rank highly in Google, when you use the identical texts to all of your competition?
1. First things first, who are you selling to?
If you have done your research, you should know exactly who your customer is. This is crucial as you don’t want to miss your target audience with your description. It would be a huge waste of time and effort to just speak right past them, and will cost you a lot of money long term.
What would be the best way to write for your customers? What would they like to read about and what sort of humor do they have? Don’t patronise and over do it, but incorporate the language that you think will most appeal, into your description.
This Star Trek Remote Control product description by Firebox nails it. They know exactly who their customers are and they manage to combine humor and detail to make a very compelling product description, that if you already have an initial interest, will finally convince you to make the purchase.
If you’re a wholesale business, or you mostly deal with businesses, a humorous tone would probably not be the way to go. You want to remain professional. Just like Green Planet LED have done on their products.
2. The perfect blend
It is true that many people don’t read the descriptions thoroughly. They might just skim it to gather up all the relevant information to them and they will just skip over your imaginative description that you have spent hours slaving over – sad but true. That is exactly why it is important to appeal to both sides. Start off your description with your creative write up of the product and back it up with a list of important details about the item.
As an example we take a look at the second half of the Firebox product from before. The description continues in a bullet point list…
They give us all the necessary information in bullet point format and are relatively matter of fact about the features. Perfect. They have covered both type of readers and have done so in a tone that will appeal to both.
However don’t go overboard. You might think that every single detail has to be explained and all the work that might have gone into making them has to be explained, but honestly, nobody really cares. In fact, people will most likely get bored by them, if they even read that far. Unless you manage to package all that information creatively, don’t bother.
3. Avoid making your customers roll their eyes
When describing your products, there are certain phrases and words you should avoid. Phrases and words we only add because we can’t think of anything more creative.
These are the kind of words that tend to make you roll your eyes when you’re reading them in descriptions. Things such as “high quality”, “exceptional production standards”… We have heard them a million times and they mean nothing to us anymore, other than that we feel like the opposite is most likely true.
Try and steer clear of these token phrases that seem like a good idea in our heads, but end up doing more harm than good. Broaden your vocabulary and use other ways to describe the item. Be creative!
4. Keep it unique
You want to keep the product descriptions as unique as possible. Just copying the product descriptions from your supplier is not a good idea. Many of the other online shops selling the same product will have exactly the same descriptions, which means for SEO purposes, the descriptions are worthless. You’re just publishing duplicate content, so there is absolutely no point.
The other problem with stock descriptions is that they tend to be tremendously bland and boring. Nobody has the nerve to read all the way through them. However you can use the details that are inside the stock descriptions to write your own. The bullet points can easily be rewritten for your site and it’s easy to personalise them a little bit.
5. Make the description scannable
What does that mean? It means that most people will just want to get the information they need at first glance. Which is why we use the bullet points we mentioned under point two, but a more visual approach is also possible. The idea is putting the information in such a way that people can scan over it and understand exactly what they are looking at and whether it is what they are looking for.
Green Planet LED do this very well.
The box is a summary of the most important aspects of the item and puts them into a clear and easy to read format with little images to make it even clearer.
Innocent smoothies do a great job of combining longer text with scannable descriptions. They also highlight parts that they think are most convincing, in this case the health benefits that you gain from drinking one of their products.
The scannable content needs to be short and to the point, as seen above. All the information in as few points and words as possible. Use meaningful headlines and highlight the keywords in bold or with colour.
6. Use Social aspects to convince
Making your content sharable and having some numbers on the board, showing that people have liked and shared your product, is a further great way to not only market your product, but to increase people’s confidence in what you are selling. It sends clear signals that somebody else has tried and liked the product.
Customer reviews also play an important role in a good product description and you could include quotes from people in the actual description, or just display customer reviews under each of your products.
7. Write drafts before publishing
Write a rough outline of what you want your product description to include.
Rank your features from most important to least important, that way you can make sure that if people do stop reading after a while, they will have seen the most important aspects of your product.
Turn negatives into positives. If you are selling an expensive product, you need to convince buyers that it is absolutely worth it and they are getting value for money.
The better your mood whilst writing, the better your description will be. Make sure you are in a positive frame of mind whilst writing. I am at my most positive after doing exercise. Find something that puts you into that frame of mind and start writing. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar, you have plenty of time to fix that when you are editing.
8. Edit, edit and edit some more
You will need to start editing it over and over again until you feel like you have hit the tone you wanted to, you’re targeting the right people, you have both a solid description text and a bullet pointed/or scannable list of features and you have avoided using words that make your customers shake their heads.
Have you included everything that you want/need to include? Have you edited out any of the generic phrases you might have used? Do you feel like it will convince your customer to buy your product?
Once you are sure you have a solid piece of work, you can move on to the final step!
9. Optimise for the search engines
You will have probably done this automatically whilst writing specifically for the customer you want to sell to, but it’s still important to check nonetheless. You will have used the phrases/words sentences that your customer will be using when searching for a product, in your product description.
Use your most important and most searched for key phrase in your heading, the subheadings and within the text itself and give your image file name and videos a key phrase image name, description and alt tag.
Don’t over-stuff the descriptions with keywords however; it will read terribly and when you write them carefully, then you can still make sure you have enough of them in the context.