Everyone is well aware of the importance of titles and headlines when writing the text of a product page for an online store. But this is not the final step. After you have a great headline, you need to focus on your product description.
In this post, I’ll be sharing some tips with you on how to write great product descriptions that are professional and effective.
Why Product Descriptions are Important
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Well let me say that we may be underestimating words. Images are a very important factor in online purchases, there is no doubt about it. However, there is research published in the Journal of Electronic Commerce Research suggesting that text product descriptions result in higher satisfaction than pictures if you have to choose between the two. I am not trying to say that product descriptions are more important than images, because that claim would require more case studies and deeper research. But, what I can confirm is that you can’t just write whatever comes to mind as many people do, regarding product descriptions, because you are losing selling opportunities.
Images and text are complementary. Customers need text to read about the characteristics of products, even if they are obvious!
From academic research, we know that product descriptions are highly related to perceived value. Actually this is a very important factor in achieving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Online commerce is about trust and confidence between sellers and buyers. You don’t trust in someone just because of their looks. You are able to trust someone once you have spoken with them for a while. Product descriptions are the way your products talk with your customers to become familiar to them. This, when done well, ends in a trusting relationship.
So, let’s get to the point.
1. Educate yourself about product descriptions
Writing to sell is not the same as writing a letter or a university essay. It has a different goal and also different rules. There are several sources of information about this.
I always recommend a couple of books:
- The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy by Bob Bly
- How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab
Both of them are focused on writing for a wide public audience, and you will find real examples that will help you to have a reference from which point to get started.
After this, it’s time to practice. Try different kinds of texts and check the conversion rates you get. You will become an expert in writing about your own products soon, because in the end you are the one who knows your products best.
2. Write for your customers, not for you
One typical mistake businesses make when writing about their products is that they write product descriptions as a kind of ode to their work. The bad news is customers are not interested in your work. They are interested in their needs.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t explain the value of the product as a consequence of the work it requires. It means that instead of saying “we worked for 100 hours to produce this ABCD-product” you should say “you will get a fantastic ABCD-product as a result of 100 hours of our hard work”.
What’s the difference? In the second example, your customer is involved. You are explaining to the customer what it is that he or she will gain with their purchase.
So put yourself in your clients’ shoes and write about what you would like to read if you were the one buying the product.
3. Focus in your product’s strengths
Maybe your products’ strengths are obvious to you, but your customers have other things on their minds. They do not know the product as well as you. So, you need to be sure that they know your product has many great characteristics.
Notice that saying something is beautiful is not very informative. Anyone can see or decide if a product is beautiful. Focus on facts that make the difference between your product and others. It’s also helpful to explain the uses of the product. Many products have more than one use, show them!
4. Do not be afraid of writing too much
Many copywriting tips say shorter is better. I agree, but you have to say everything that needs to be said. So keep it brief, but do not leave out something important for the sole purpose of keeping things short.
A helpful tip is to use a short description and also include a “Read more” option that displays additional information for those who feel they need it.
5. But keep it simple
Your product descriptions are not platforms for poetic exhibition. Keep your product descriptions simple Humor for product descriptions is tricky. If you are going to use it, be careful with the jokes and puns you choose to use, etc. You never know with whom your customers idenfity. The last thing you want to do is offend someone.
6. Write about deals
People love to feel intelligent, so if they find a great opportunity they are very happy. Don’t you have a friend who is always showing off because of the great deals he finds for vacation travel? Have you ever experienced the nice feeling of being able to say, “Man this time I found something cheaper and better.” It’s better than winning the lottery! It’s like you have defeated a mortal enemy! So help your customers to achieve this feeling and they will love you.
The word “free” is your ally. Notice that it is better to use deals like “buy one get one free than “50 % off”.
Explain your deals carefully, and state clearly who can be benefited from them. The main danger of deals is to cause disappointment after a great excitement.
7. Do not lie
Think about your first sale as an investment not as a profit. What you want is for your customers to repeat buying inform you through your e-commerce site.
So, only promise what you can deliver. Actually, it is better if your product slightly exceeds the customer’s expectations.
Each area of writing has its tricks. Writing product descriptions is not an exception.
These tips won’t be perfect for every scenario, but they provide a good overview on how to write these important pieces of text. Adapt each tip for your own specific situation. And remember, tracking your results is the best way to improve. Observe to see what works and what doesn’t with the goal of always improving.