Write Killer Product Descriptions
I’ll let you in on a secret. The term “product description” is pretty misleading! In fact, if you simply describe your product and leave it at that, you’re also leaving money on the table. After all the work you’ve put into making a high-quality products and setting up your online storefront, it’s absolutely worth going the extra mile and putting just as much thought into your product descriptions.
The world of ecommerce keeps growing everyday. There are more choices than ever and buyers are super-savvy about finding the best or most unique items from all over the world. Plus, online shoppers can’t see your creations in person before loading up their virtual shopping carts. They’re depending on you to make them truly understand exactly what they’ll be getting, and why what you sell is just what they’ve been looking for.
So when it’s time to write your product descriptions, don’t be afraid to set your yourself apart: spice it up, add some extras, and tell your story.
Today, I’m showing you how to do just that.
1. Write for your audience
Start with the basics.
You’ve probably heard the idea that if your target market is “everyone” your customers are likely to be—well, no one. Because nobody will come across your online shop and feel like you’re speaking directly to them!
So it’s time to narrow things down and decide exactly who you’d like to reach out to. Are your creations for men or women? College kids or retirees? New moms or brides-to-be? Simply put: who did you have in mind when you were creating your product?
Create a customer persona based on who your target audience.
This part can be fun! Close your eyes and picture a real person, someone who goes beyond demographics.
As you think about your ideal buyer, create a persona in your mind and imagine:
- What her name might be. (Go ahead and name her – we’re really diving deep!)
- Where she might live.
- What she does for fun.
- What makes her laugh.
- What worries her.
- What she reads (websites, books, you name it).
- What she watches on tv.
- Why she’ll jump at the chance to buy what you’re selling, and how will it make her life a little better.
- And anything else you can think of.
Get to know her…basically, imagine she’s your new best friend.
Now, when it comes to your word choices, choose a tone and style that will appeal to this buyer persona.
This is key. Your tone of voice can also differentiate you from your competitors and gives readers an instant understanding of your personality, and of the culture you’ve created with your business.
For example, online retailer ModCloth seems to be targeting a social young woman who wants to turn heads at any event while keeping her style both classic and trendy.
The product description for the Lady Love Song Sheath Dress below reads:
“Who wouldn’t want to croon a ballad when they see you in this sultry frock, found exclusively at ModCloth? Charmingly crimson, with a flexible material that caresses your curves, this dress with a crossover sweetheart neckline and gentle pleats at the bust is made to impress. Add seamed stockings, sturdy T-straps, and a pearl necklace before stepping into your favorite jazz club for a martini and dulcet serenade!”
Now, who knows how many women who bought this dress actually ended up going to a jazz club for a martini and dulcet serenade? Who knows? But this product description appeals deeply to someone who wants to imagine that she might!
2. Grab their attention.
Start your product description with a few sentences to grab your reader’s attention. Think back to that persona you created—what might make her stop and take notice?
Think about what goes viral in all of our newsfeeds: stories and people who offer something a little different, or touch us in some way. We can’t help but feel connected to these stories, right?
Now what about you—do you have a story for your product? Hand-makers, how did you make your product? Are you doing something differently? Maybe it’s sustainable materials or better quality than your competitors.
If you know these things mean a lot to your ideal customer, put them front and center! Here are some ideas.
You might tell a brief story about the product.
For instance, there’s plenty of wine in the world, right? But Laithwaites sets its Domaine Servin Les Pargues 2015 apart by briefly sharing its story:
“The Servin family have been making wines ‘Chablis fanatics will die for’ (Wine Spectator) since 1654. Today their lovingly restored Les Pargues vineyard is producing Premier Cru quality (just as it was pre World War I) and offers incomparable value.”
Honestly? I’m not too sure what a lot of this product description means, exactly—but the company’s success proves that their ideal customers definitely do! 😉
Inspire your readers.
TOMS has perfected synching the sale of high-quality apparel with making the world a better place. Their product descriptions have few words, but TOMS makes sure to add in what they know will most tug at their ideal buyer’s heartstrings:
“With every pair of eyewear you purchase, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need. One for One®.”
Why wouldn’t want to be part of this movement? Their product descriptions let their customers know: they’ll get to look great and feel great with one click of the “buy” button.
Help your customers imagine what it would feel like to have the product or exactly how they might use it.
Method Home describes their travel-sized liquid hand soaps as:
“Scentsational stocking stuffers. the seasonal scents of this holiday collection are sure to sleigh you. one evokes snow-dusted evergreens, the other the delicious warmth of a cozy cup of chai. the fresh fragrance of our frosted fir is complemented by a fun and festive forest design, while the bright baubles and sparkling stars on our vanilla chai bottle will add a merry touch to any home this holiday season.”
Tell the “why” behind the product.
Even some fast-food restaurants are now very straightforward about the larger reasons you should choose them over their many competitors.
Take American fast-food powerhouse Chipotle. If you were their ideal customer (perhaps an eco-conscious diner) scanning their website and saw this description of “Responsibly Raised Meat or Organic Tofu” you’d likely pause and feel an instant connection with their restaurant—even if you’d never tasted the food. Perfect!
Or, start with how the product can help your ideal buyer.
Check out this perfectly-named handmade product, Stinky Dog Dry Shampoo. Thanks to the unforgettable name, you might already have an idea of whether this particular product can help you. But as you peruse the description, you’ll find a no-frills snapshot of how it can make a dog-owner’s life a little easier (and in this case, their dog’s life, too).
This is fantastic for all those times you don’t have the time to bathe your dog.
Sprinkle on, let sit for 5 min (to soak up dirt and grime) then brush off.
Lavender essential oil, to calm any itch and keep your dog calm.
3. Cover all the details
As much as you’ll want to get creative, don’t forget to include all the important information your buyer will need! We’re talking attributes like product features, dimensions, color, weight, materials, shipping, technical specifications, how to use it, etc..
When it comes to this information, it’s often best to keep it easy-to-read with bullet points.
Pottery Barn does a beautiful job of this. They’ve clearly accounted for the fact that their readers have likely looked through quite a few candle descriptions on the day they’re shopping, so they’ve made the product description for this candle both elegant and simple.
For my own 2017 Craftsposure Business Planner, I wanted to give you the important details, but also make it clear how these features translate into a more organized business experience for you. Check it out:
4. Add on some enticing extras.
It’s time to connect those finals dots, and make sure the purchase feel like a true no-brainer for your ideal buyer.
Here’s a great example. The husband and wife creators of Brooklinen, a New York City-based luxury sheet retailer, were selling sheets out of their apartment in Brooklyn until recently. Now, they’re doing millions of dollars in sales.
There’s a lot to admire about this brand, and one of many ways Brooklinen is blowing its competitors out of the water can be found in their product descriptions: clear, to-the-point (many of their customers are no-nonsense male customers who just want the facts), plus some enticing goodies in case you’re on the fence about buying.
For the Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, you can peruse the 7401 positive reviews, enjoy a no-strings-attached 60-night free trial, and they also jump in to remind you: “The Hardcore Bundle saves you 25% vs. Buying Separately.” And did I mention they offer free shipping, too? Well done!
5. Perfect your call to action.
Let your readers know what they should do next! It’s tempting to assume that if someone is reading a product description, they’ll understand what they’re expected to do if they’re interested in the product—purchase it! But don’t miss the opportunity to make it crystal-clear what the next step is so they don’t click away.
You can certainly stick to “buy now” or something similar, but you’re also free to get creative if you think it will appeal to your ideal buyer.
Simple Green Smoothies, for instance, sells a guide to a “Thrive 7-Day Reset” detox plan. When their website visitors scroll through the product description, they’re told to “Click here to thrive.” Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? To their ideal buyers, it most definitely does! Take a look:
6. Be strategic about formatting.
With all this talk of making your product description stand out, don’t forget to make it readable! Let’s be real—many of us skim through blocks of text we encounter online. So make sure your product descriptions are scannable, with bullet points, headings and subheadings (if it’s a longer description), easy-to-read fonts and graphics, and plenty of white space.
Artisan Bath and Body sells their handmade soaps with the “scanners” in mind; it captures attention beautifully.
A longer description is available when you scroll down further.
This is your chance—make sure everyone knows how amazing your products are!
I know the hard work that goes into coming this far: hours upon hours spent brainstorming, creating and making, setting up your storefront, and so much more. Don’t let your ideal buyers pass you by. Use your product descriptions to create an experience just for them. Because they’re out there, looking for you and all you have to offer. Let them know they’ve come to the right place.
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