So you’ve got a great product, and you’ve built the online space to sell and promote it, but attention span in the internet age is a precious commodity.
How do you hold the interest of your customers, clients, and readers, and still reach the top of the search algorithms? Smart product marketing plays a big part in this—one of the final thresholds to converting a visitor to customer is an optimized product description.
What is a product description?
Product descriptions are used in a variety of ways to trigger a sale. In an e-commerce business, a product description could be as simple as a few lines describing the product (specs, physical attributes, function, etc.). If you’re describing a product for an affiliate program, you may choose to go into more detail.
Though most e-commerce business owners understand that a product description is important for sales, many still don’t give it the time and attention it deserves. Product descriptions may seem like a summary of specs, but well-written product details can do several things:
Instruct customers on how they can purchase your products
Accurately reflect the tone and voice of your product, service, and company
Help with website visibility (optimize for SEO)
Display factual information in a positive light
Remove any doubts related to a purchase (warrantee, guaranteed results, and more)
Product description example
The following is an example of a product description for a pair of gloves:
“For those cozy winter nights, our sheepskin-lined gloves are more than a practical way to keep your hands warm without compromising dexterity. They’re also stylish, sturdy, made of high-quality leather, and lined with our ultra-soft sheepskin. Don’t take our word for it. Try them yourself with our no-risk 30-day full-refund guarantee.”
Think about the end goal
The goal of a product description is simple: get the right set of eyes locked on to your product, and convince viewers to make a purchase. When you’re looking to craft the perfect product description, don’t just focus on your own goals. Knowing your customers has a huge impact on your business. Think about the intended buyer and ask yourself the who, what, where, when, and why:
Who is looking at the product?
Men, women, ages 18-35. Older? Younger? Choose your tone and words based on your demographic targets (but try not to be too cutesy or on-trend). Product descriptions should be easy to read, without unnecessary jargon, and above all, they should sound natural.
In certain niches, you can literally describe the type of person that would buy this product. Your ideal customer can recognize themselves in the description and it’s a nice way to make it more about them than about you. Though it might alienate other visitors, it can function as a filter to make sure the right person buys the right product.
What is the product?
For a physical product, think about dimensions and specifications. For services, this is where your customers need details about what is being offered.
Where and when is the product used?
Is it seasonal, like winter sporting gear? Is it only for outside use, like a high-powered leaf blower? If it’s a seasonal item, the product description can evoke a sense of urgency. An item you have up for sale that can be used all year round can have a description that speaks about the product’s overall value and usefulness.
Why should customers buy from you?
Think about what sets your product apart from competitors—features that you can highlight that are unique. You don’t need to mention competitors by name, you just have to be able to identify the similarities and differences between your product and theirs. For example, you and your competitor sell affordable cameras at the same price point. The difference is that their camera falls short in one area: it compromises on storage. If your camera offers plenty of storage, be sure to highlight that feature.
Choose your format
Product descriptions on Amazon are obviously going to look a lot different than the ones on your own website. Keep things short and to the point. Utilize bullet points and typographic emphasis (bold or italicized font) to give visual appeal to the screen media. Product description is the art of getting important information come across quickly, so make it skimmable. Add multiple photos so your intended audience can see the product from a variety of angles.
Using jargon is one thing, but don’t talk down to your audience. If they’re experts in their field, they want the best and most accurate info you can give them. Dry product descriptions full of specs should be left to technical or specialized equipment.
For more personal products, such as those related to fashion and home style, it’s a better idea to approach the product description conversationally. Though you should still speak on specifications like material used, longevity (including warranties or guarantees), or size. For services, it depends on what you’re offering and to whom. Use your buyer personas to determine how much and what kind of information your target is going to need most.
Don’t forget keywords
You want to be succinct and stay away from excessive adjectives in your writing. The language should be actionable, with more verbs than adjectives. Short sentences and short, mobile-friendly paragraphs work best. Once your copy is written, it’s a good idea to have a good editor or copywriter on your team to ensure you’re not repeating yourself or using unnecessary language.
The words you definitely don’t want to cut are the keywords for your product descriptions. This is how anyone searching for your product will land on your product page. There are plenty of services and tools on the market to help you identify the best keywords for your products (with your competition taken into account).
Practice content keyword mapping and use the Google keyword planner and other SEO tools to help you track the most popular keywords for your product and adjust them for maximum exposure. Metadata and meta text are also good ways to add in some buyer-intention search terms.
While keywords are important in attracting the search traffic you want, avoid stuffing your product description with these terms. Focus on just adding a couple where it’s naturally relevant and won’t disrupt the flow of reading.
Live up to your own hype
The goal of the product description page is to help a customer understand why they want to buy your product. For most people, and most products, this is simple. Do they need it? Why should they buy yours? Assuming you want to foster customer loyalty as well as complete this sale, you may want to go a bit deeper too.
A product description is not a place for overblown, adjective-heavy ad copy. But it is a good opportunity to talk about what’s great about your product. The idea is to evoke a fantasy of what your ideal customer’s life will be like if they buy your product by focusing on the right product details. Try to stay away from standard templates—these could bore your readers even if they’re just doing a quick skim of your copy.
Conduct research within your target audience using user reviews, analytics programs, surveys, social media, and blog comments. Learn what your customers really need. Highlight the features that meet their demands to draw attention to what makes your product unique.
When in doubt, talk to an expert
Writing a product description is a delicate business, so why not leave it to the professionals? Hiring a quality copywriter to your team can save you time and money when it comes to crafting the perfect product descriptions. If you’re a small business, go for freelance copywriters. There are plenty of other ways a copywriter can help boost your company copy, but only if you hire the right person and give them the right instructions. Read on for advice on how to find the best copywriter for your product description.Let them know what you need
Whether you’re posting on freelance job boards or approaching a copywriter directly, always be upfront about your expectations for the project. Let your copywriters know the length, the type of information that should be included, as well as the tone and style you want. Have a selection of examples ready for your writer to refer to.
Check out writing samples
Some job boards require writers to post writer portfolio pieces. You can ask for sample pieces from your potential employees so you’ll know what to expect in terms of quality of output or service. Check out the top freelance job boards so you know you're choosing from an experienced pool.
Communication is everything
Even if this is your first time working with a specific writer, you should still be investing time into the relationship. Keep an open line of communication. Before you hire a copy editor, ask about their workflow, turnaround times, and other factors that could affect your working relationship. The more you communicate, the smoother the collaboration will go.
Trust them to do their job
Hiring an outside writer to tackle your project can feel risky. When your business is small, you usually want to tackle every aspect of the creative development yourself. Provide clear product description templates, but allow for flexibility. If you’re hiring a copywriter, it’s likely because you have more pressing matters to tend to than write sparkling product descriptions. Be flexible, and let your copywriter do their job.
Product descriptions matter
They lead your customers and would-be customers through to securing a purchase. They offer important, useful and helpful information, while also giving you a chance to talk up your company. A good product description lets your customers get to know your product and the ways it can improve lives. Getting all that right takes some work, but with a bit of effort, and some expert advice, you can ensure your product descriptions give your customers the information they need to not only find you but feel good about their purchase as well.