Writing a good product description that both sells and ranks in search doesn’t require a master’s in creative writing. But you do need to know your audience, have a creative direction, and define your style. This guide shows you how to pull all of that together in six easy steps:
- Step 1: Define your target audience
- Step 2: Define your tone
- Step 3: Turn item features into benefits
- Step 4: Decide on your format & length
- Step 5: Writing and editing your product description
- Step 6: Editing and optimizing your description
Before we dive in, remember that a product description is just part of the puzzle. Images and product videos are powerful online selling tools that work in harmony with your product description, and they’re not hard to create. See how to use your cell phone to take professional-quality product photos here and videos here.
Are you ready to turn your so-so product descriptions into buyer-focused, search-friendly selling machines? Let’s get started:
Step 1: Define your target audience and talk to them directly in your product description
The first thing you need to do is define your buyer. Do you sell to busy stay-at-home moms or to business executives? Are trend-seeking 20-somethings your target crowd? Or perhaps you cater to a gamer fandom? Whoever your potential customer is, that’s the person you need to talk to in your product description.
To do this, first create an image of your target buyer in your mind. Picture who they are, what they do, where they hang out. Need some help with this step? Learn how to identify your target customer and create a customer profile here. It’s helpful to jot down some details about your buyer so you can picture them you write, use our free customer profile templates to do this.
Having a solid image of your ideal customer makes it much easier to create a connection and converse with them through your writing. This step is key to a good product description because it turns product-centered copy into a vibrant customer-centered conversation. And that’s what sells.
For example, here is a literal (and boring) description of a horse-themed mug:
But by rewriting the product description with our buyer (horse lovers) in mind, we create a connection that draws the reader in:
Now that you’ve seen the difference in a ho-hum product description versus one that targets buyers, let’s look at the different ways you can converse with your audience through your writing.
Step 2: Define the tone for your product description
This step goes hand-in-hand with your customer profile. Tone is a writer’s tool that you can easily define by asking this question:
How, and where, would you talk to your target buyer in-person?
Would you meet them in a professional setting, like an office or business conference? Maybe a kickin’ coffee joint or craft beer bar? Or during your kid’s playdate?
Knowing where in-person conversations would take place helps you define your tone: business, technical, casual, cheeky, sassy, instructive, etc. Heck, this is a helpful tool for writing your blog posts, marketing emails, and other site content, too.
For example, this service description clearly targets a commercial customer using a professional tone along with industry-specific phrases and terms:
In contrast, this product description uses a tone that appeals to style-seeking, on-the-go women:
Step 3: Turn item features into must-buy benefits in a product description
Many entrepreneurs focus on features, specs, and key details in a product description, and that’s all important information. But the true goal of an effective product description is conveying the idea that your product will make the buyer’s life better. Sure, you want to make your product’s high points shine, but your real focus is creating the perfect excuse for the buyer to snap it up.
To do this, you’ll want to list the important facts about your product: its construction, intended use, special features, material, specs, and so on. Then turn these product facts into user benefits, like this shining example from Amazon:
In their Kindle description above, Amazon does a terrific job of turning product facts into benefits that describe how each feature enhances the buyer’s experience.
For example, a fact-turned-benefit can be:
|An improvement >>||Next-generation reading experience|
|A solution to a problem >>||No glare in bright sunlight|
|Something that’s better for you >>||Won’t tire your eyes in the dark|
|Leading the competition >>||Highest resolution e-reader display|
Now you have your buyer in mind, have set the tone of your conversation, and know how to turn product facts into user benefits. Next you’re ready to write your product description. Here’s how to tackle this.
Continue to read other steps on fitsmallbusiness.com.