It’s difficult to overstate the importance of product descriptions.
Few other page elements have as direct and significant an impact on a website’s conversions.
Almost 90% of customers, for example, say that product descriptions are a major factor in their purchasing decisions.
And Overstock.com nearly doubled its traffic by improving its product descriptions.
But the vast majority of online retailers get product descriptions wrong. From poorly researched buyer personas to overly-technical and sleep-inducing copy, the list of mistakes is a long one.
But we’ve got you covered. If you’ve ever wondered how to write product descriptions that sell, you’re in exactly the right place.
Following these nine tips will ensure that your copy is well-written, engaging, and, most importantly, pushes your visitors straight to that “Add to Cart” button.
What Are Product Descriptions?
How to Write Great Product Descriptions: 9 Essential Tips
1. Do Your Research by Building a Customer Avatar
2. Focus On Emotional Needs and Practical Benefits
3. Make Your Descriptions SEO-Friendly
4. Use Power Words but Avoid Cliches and “Empty” Phrases
5. Use Descriptive Language That Paints a Picture of the Product
6. Leverage the Power of Proof-Building Stories
7. Mention Celebrity Endorsements, Testimonials and Awards
8. Make Sure Text Complements Images
9. Make Descriptions Short and Scannable
Example: How to Write Product Descriptions for Food
Example: How to Write Product Descriptions for Clothing
Example: How to Write Product Descriptions for Jewelry
Example: How to Write Product Descriptions for Etsy
Let’s dive in!
A product description is a block of text displayed on a product page that explains what your product is and why visitors ought to buy it.
Product descriptions have two purposes: to explain features and to prompt potential customers to buy.
The second area is where most copywriters go astray. While the technical aspects of an item are important, it’s equally crucial to use product descriptions as an opportunity to persuade visitors.
Product descriptions present an excellent opportunity to use tactics like urgency-building, social proof, calls-to-action, and more. When crafted properly, they also drive traffic through search engines.Product descriptions present an excellent opportunity to use tactics like urgency-building, social proof, calls-to-action, and more. When crafted properly, they also drive traffic through search engines. Click To Tweet
Ok, onto the tips themselves.
You can use the information below as a step-by-step checklist for crafting new product descriptions or when improving current ones.
Before you write a single word, you need to know your readers.
A customer avatar doesn’t represent any single group within your target market. Rather, it combines all the characteristics of your ideal buyers (note the plural there).
So an avatar might be both male and female, young and old, high-income and low income. An avatar hones in on the shared and most prominent characteristics of your target market.
When creating an avatar, ask the following questions about your customer-base:
When undertaking research, pay specific attention to the kind of language that your customer-base uses. Using the same words as them will make it easier to connect and build engagement.
A clear understanding of your potential buyers acts as a guide when implementing all the other points on this list, providing you with the exact information you need. Such an understanding allows you to empathize with customers and talk as though you were speaking to them directly.
There’s an old saying: “People don’t buy products, they buy feelings.”
And when it comes to product descriptions, that statement holds a lot of truth.
Ask the fundamental question: “What emotional pain-point does this product solve or what pleasure does it provide?”
Then point out the problem directly. Many copywriters describe the features without expressly describing the pain-points that they remedy, whether practical or emotional.
By reminding visitors of the specific issues they’re facing, you create urgency and a desire to buy.
If the lumbar support feature of a chair eases back pain, then say so clearly.
If the seal on a water bottle eliminates frustrating leaks or the padding in a pair of shoes prevents annoying and painful blisters, make sure visitors know about it.
Ideally, you should include both the practical benefits of a product, like in the example above where the iPad Mini allows you to “capture your biggest ideas whenever they come to you”, and the deeper emotional outcomes, like empowerment.
Unsure about how to write SEO-friendly product descriptions? You’re not alone.
SEO can seem complex and finicky. With meta-tags, keyword density, rich snippets, and a host of other things to think about, it can all get confusing pretty quickly.
But there’s no need to despair. Making products descriptions SEO-friendly is a relatively easy task.
Just follow the simple rules below:
Don’t underestimate the power of SEO. Paying a little attention to keywords, meta descriptions, titles, and “markup data” can dramatically boost your search engine CTR, leading to more traffic and higher revenue.
Certain phrases and “power words” are used because they work.
But it’s easy to fall into the trap of using generic, overused language that customers just ignore. These words are common for no other reason than the fact they’re common – they’re not power-words or proven phrases.
Cliches are statements like “the best product on the market” or “excellent quality” or “loved by all”.
The alternative? Be specific.
Instead of saying a pair of shoes is “great”, pick a specific feature, like the soles or design, and then explain why they’re so good. What benefits, USPs, and testimonials make them so wonderful?
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should eschew power words altogether. In fact, certain words have been shown to elicit a strong emotional response and increase sales.
Just remember to differentiate between genuine power words and cliches and always substantiate your claims with specific points. If a commonly-used phrase can’t be backed up by concrete evidence, then it’s likely a cliche that can be discarded.
Also, remember that testimonials are very beneficial for backing up big claims, especially if those testimonials come from a reputable source.
“Appeal to the five senses” sounds like “fluffy” advice without any practical implications.
When it comes to product descriptions, however, it’s anything but.
In fact, marketers even have a name for it: sensory marketing. And there are tonnes of research to back it up.
Now, “sensory marketing” actually refers to the literal stimulation of the senses. Marketers use scents and physical objects in-person with a potential customer. Obviously, that’s not what we’re doing.
We’re attempting to recreate experiences in words.
So how do you do it?
By using specific adjectives and relatable comparisons. Let’s unpack both of those terms.
“Sensory” adjectives are words that evoke a specific sensation related to sight, smell, hearing, taste or touch.
In the example below, Ben and Jerry’s talk about the “creamy-richness” of their ice cream.
Comparisons are another useful tool. You’ve probably come across them when you’re buying a bottle of wine. Wines might be described as “smelling like apples and berries,” or having a taste “reminiscent of pears, hazelnut, and honey”.
You create comparisons by referring to something that everybody knows and recognizes, like the taste of fruit or the smell of herbs.
There’s one caveat to all of this advice, however. Don’t overdo it. Overuse of adjectives can make text “clunky” and difficult to read. Most of the time, one or two-well placed adjectives or comparisons will do.
Product descriptions are a good place to tell short stories.
Direct description will make up the bulk of your product text, but brief stories – sometimes spanning no more than a sentence or two – will build interest and engagement with visitors.
Product descriptions are an excellent place for describing the following points:
Use your buyer avatar to determine which stories to include in your descriptions. Ethically-minded customers, for example, will be interested in the values that underlie products.
Alternatively, customers interested in high-ticket luxury items might be more interested in quality-assurance processes or the backstory of the materials or manufacturing process.
Product descriptions are ideal for building social proof and trust.Product descriptions are ideal for building social proof and trust. Click To Tweet
Many visitors won’t bother to scroll down to check out reviews, so including testimonials earlier will ensure you build trust with the majority of people that land on your pages.
Don’t try to cram everything in. Rather, select the best of the best and make sure that visitors see them.
The following are good examples for product descriptions:
Phrases like “As Featured In…” and “Voted Best Product By…” are excellent ways of seamlessly integrating social proof into your descriptions.
Everything on your product pages should fit together seamlessly. The customer journey should flow from one element to the next, prompting visitors to click on your CTA (Call To Action).
If you mention specific benefits or features, ensure there are corresponding images for visitors to check. Product descriptions are usually placed directly next to or underneath images, so there should be a lot of overlap and interaction between them.
In particular, it’s important that the most desirable and original features of products, like the soles of shoes, main designs on clothes, technical aspects of sports equipment, and so on, are clearly displayed in images. If you have described these features, visitors will often want to cross-check with images.
You can even encourage visitors to look at pictures by citing them directly in your description. If you point out a feature, include “See Pictures” or “As Shown Above” in brackets.
Product copy needs to be scannable or it won’t be read.
Short, easy-to-consume content performs better than content that requires a lot of attention.
Here’s some advice for ensuring your copy doesn’t require the brainpower and focus of a rocket scientist:
To ensure ease-of-reading, ask: “Would a ten-year-old understand I’ve just written?”
Writing food descriptions can be tricky. Different products – from ready-made microwave meals to rare thousand-dollar bottles of wine – require unique description elements.
Generally speaking, it’s appropriate to include the following information-points in product descriptions:
Clothing is one of the biggest, most successful ecommerce sectors. But there are difficulties too. Many of the aspects of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store can’t be replicated exactly online, so descriptions have to provide as much specific information as possible.
Include the following information in your product descriptions for clothes:
Pieces of jewelry are high-ticket items. Because of this, it’s common for customers to be hesitant and doubtful. A good description will allay these concerns.
Along with technical specs about size, color, and shape, include the following points in product descriptions for jewelry:
Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade and vintage items, is one of the biggest ecommerce stores on the web.
When writing descriptions for Etsy, it’s important to remember that buyers are looking for original, unique pieces.
With that in mind, make sure to include the following details:
Product descriptions are easy to write once you have the right formula.
And great copy comes from great processes.
If you can build these tips into a specific, repeatable process, you’ll produce consistently good product descriptions.
What’s more, as you test and refine description elements, you’ll develop your own winning mix that works uniquely well for your store and product ranges.
So, time to implement and start tracking the results.
Don’t forget that improving product descriptions is only one part of the conversion optimization process.
At Growcode, we’ve put together a guide that covers all aspects of optimization, from home pages to checkout forms. Click here to download it now.