How to Write a Product Description – Tips and Tricks

Writing Sample Examples

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Through many years of research on product details and those pages, it’s easy to realize that optimizing product descriptions is crucial. In fact, it offers high returns and is a low investment option for an eCommerce website.

The question is why. Ultimately, product descriptions are a huge part of the decision-making process for potential customers. About 87 percent of all consumers rate the product content is very important when they’re deciding on what to buy.

Therefore, if you don’t have an enticing description, you’re ultimately turning away money and missing opportunities for your online store.

With that, the goal is to have more traffic to your website, and a great way to achieve that objective is to write effective product descriptions. A product description focuses on defining your brand and why consumers should care instead of crafting the best sales pitch. Chances are, you’ve already started.

What’s more, you don’t have to do complicated tasks, such as rebuild your site, focus on PPC, or block out time to write each product description. With a little effort and a few steps, you can create or optimize existing product descriptions to become your friends, full-time salesperson.

What Does the eCommerce Product Description Do?

Most people think that a product description is there to describe the product. Yes, the name suggests that, but product descriptions aren’t just there to tell others what they’re buying on the eCommerce site. They can also:

  • Qualify – Visitors can quickly determine if the item is right for them.
  • Persuade – You can create customer-centered, compelling reasons why the visitor should consider that product.
  • Surface – They use search engine optimization. Keywords and related keywords are used naturally, so the page shows up in search results from search engines.

In a sense, product descriptions are retail associates who work 24/7 in your online store. Just as with a live associate, these descriptions could hurt or help conversions for the potential buyers.

If the product description does its job well, it draws visitors to your store. However, if it’s done improperly, visitors get frustrated and move away, hurting sales.

Examples of Good Product Descriptions That Sell

There are two primary extremes for a product description to land on. One is sure to generate sales while the other does not. You need to know about both to know where to go and not go.

Bland or Nondescript

This is where you don’t want to end up. With each product description example below, they are meh or blah. Typically, they make one of the mistakes listed below (or many of them)

  • Don’t exist at all (search engines can’t find them)
  • Copy verbatim or screenshot the manufacturer’s description
  • Give too many technical details
  • Copy/paste from the print catalog
  • Hurt readability (light-colored text, etc.)
  • Use self-centered languages (instead of being customer-focused, they’re brand-focused)
  • Rely heavily on product images to tell the product’s story

Generally, they either focus too much on the product features and don’t take into account the target buyer and what they need.

The Win

The goal for your basic descriptions is to make the person feel like they need it immediately. That’s the job of your product descriptions. A product description example that fits the bill has all the right things:

  • Tells what the product is
  • Who needs the product
  • Persuades you that it’s useful (product feature points)

There isn’t one perfectly great example because different methods and writing styles can all do a great job. Success stories don’t just come from a single template or technique. However, you want to tell the facts within the product description, explain why it’s needed, and focus on the features that the customer wants.

The Product Description Template

The product description template shown below is just a starting point when you write product descriptions. It’s more like a guideline than a blueprint, and you can and should customize it using the steps listed later.

  1. Descriptive Headline – You need a product title that instantly hooks the audience. Try to connect emotionally with them.
  2. Product Benefits – Write a descriptive paragraph to explain the key product details and why the customer might benefit.
  3. Key Benefits List – After your product description paragraph, use a bulleted format to include key features and focus on descriptive words.
  4. More Motivation – Reduce other purchase hurdles (what others think, fit concerns, etc.) with social proof, credibility, product reviews, and a CTA.
  5. Page Titles – Make sure the keyword goes into your ALT tags, meta description, and the page title).

How to Optimize and Write Product Descriptions That Sell

You now have a rough outline for product description writing. Now, you take information about your brand, products, and customers to fill in the rest. Here are a few steps to help you along:

  • Know who you’re talking to and figure out the pain point concerns
  • Refine and define your writing voice
  • Focus more on solutions instead of features
  • Keep it efficient and effective
  • Write like the person is in front of you
  • Run through the final checklist

At the end, you should have a product description that converts potential buyers, though you should test the theory.

Who Are You Talking To?

It’s important to remember that each person reading your product descriptions isn’t your ideal customer. You can’t sell to everyone because then you have no conversions at all.

To avoid that issue, speak to the ideal customer and ignore the rest. That means knowing who your potential customer is, what difficulties they face, and how your product helps them.

If you’ve never defined the ideal prospect, ask these questions:

  1. Who benefits most from the product?
  2. What problems can this product solve?
  3. What objections might people have during the purchase decision?
  4. Why should people buy from you instead of the competition?
  5. What phrases and words does the competition use to discuss the product?

With those in mind, you can create buyer personas, even if they’re rough. Keep those people in mind when you begin writing your engaging product description. If you must, tape the points next to the computer while writing your product descriptions!

Just remember to answer questions honestly. A great example comes from natural deodorant. The potential customer includes men and women who don’t want deodorants with chemicals. They stay stink-free for a while and can feel more responsible and healthier. Ultimately, they may worry that your product doesn’t work or you’ve lied about the ingredients. Compared to the competition, your deodorant does what it claims. With that, they might use words to describe your product like “fresh,” “natural,” “confident,” and more.

You should create a buyer persona for each product description you write!

Define/Refine Your Voice to Speak to Prospects

Once you know who you’re talking to, you need to figure out how to do it. Do you need to be formal, or should you be friendlier? Chances are, natural language (like what you use in everyday conversations) is best for your product descriptions. Online shoppers want to feel like they’re chatting with someone instead of being pressured into buying.

Just as a retail associate might talk to you in a store differently, there are many ways to converse with a visitor. Make sure you keep your brand voice in mind and focus on tone.

Before you can master product description writing, you need to learn about tone and voice. For example, you might have the same voice when you speak, but the tone can change. You may talk quietly sometimes or have a more formal tone when talking with your boss. With that, your emotional state can change the tone.

Remember, when writing product descriptions, the goal is to figure out your ideal prospect and what state they’re in when looking for your product. What language might they use to search for it or talk about it?

Focus on the Solution Instead of Product Specifications

Most companies focus more on the product features and quality of the product. However, they need to think more about the user’s results from using it. In a sense, your target audience isn’t as interested in the product benefits; they want to know what they can do with it. In a sense, they want to feel more awesome by buying and using it, and mundane features just aren’t where it’s at.

You can show them their awesomeness in the product descriptions. An easy way to achieve this is to frame the product benefit and relevant information into must-buy benefits. Yes, product quality is a concern, but don’t go into all the technical details right now.

For example, you should be:

  • Encouraging prospects – applaud their aspirations and goals
  • Helping prospects visualize how they can use your product
  • Helping them imagine that the item is already bought and being used
  • Using sensory language (tap into all five senses)
  • Helping them imagine that their current needs are met with this product
  • Highlighting the problem before talking about the best features (solution)
  • Magnify the problem

To do a good job here, you need to focus less on the technical specs. The product description should include that information, but it can be lower in the text. Focus on selling the idea of your item instead of just listing features.

Should You Throw Features lists Away?

Specs are still important, and many people use them to decide if they should buy something. For example, what if you need a new water filter. You’re camping, and you could save time and money by not having to pay for water or refill them all the time.

However, you are short on space and don’t want to carry something heavy, so you need to know the weight, volume that the filter handles, and the molecule size. In a sense, you required that information to choose the best water filter, and product descriptions should focus on that but in the right location.

Yes, you need the specs, but the question is: “Where are they effectively placed?” The answer is as supporting material.

The best product descriptions start with tangible benefits that solve and illuminate customer problems before getting to the features. Once that happens, you can include the “nerdy facts.”

Structure for Description: Scannable, Efficient, and Effectiveness when Writing Product Descriptions

When you know what benefits you should lead with, you must balance out saying too much with saying too little.

You could deliver way too much information. While it’s useful, it’s overwhelming on those simple product pages. The “text wall” approach paralyzes visitors and makes them click off. However, you may not include enough details when you write product descriptions, and that can be just as bad.

In fact, it’s the most common mistake for product descriptions.

Think about it for a minute: Do you want potential customers to leave your site confused about what they looked at? The product description should explain it well enough that they know what to use it for and why they need it.

You should strive to have one paragraph of useful benefits, but make sure that it’s scannable. In a sense, the product descriptions should be structured for visitors to scan them quickly. Short paragraphs, bullet points, and headings can boost readability so that the product description is easier to digest.

With that, you’re also helping with search rankings. The search engine crawls your product page to know how to rank it. If you’re not writing effective product descriptions, it might think you’re a spam site. It’s important to be on the first results page, so don’t negate readability.

Consider this template for your next product description format:

  • Introduce your product
  • Set up a problem it fixes
  • Describe the solution and be persuasive
  • Create a call to action

Videos

Another great way to make the product description simple without value loss is to use a video. Many consumers dislike reading at all, so when they can watch something and know what it does, they’re more likely to do so.

Graphics and Icons

Graphics and icons are a great way to create a skimmable product description without cutting the important information. Sometimes, you can even use them as the bullets, which draw attention to that feature.

Write Like the Buyer Is Beside You

Most of the top copywriters have a trick when writing product descriptions, and you can use it, as well: write directly to a single person.

For you, this ultimately means writing like you’re describing and selling this product to the prospect you identified in the first step. They’re standing in front of you, so you need to be energetic and persuasive. Try to use the word “you” when addressing the target audience because you’re talking directly to the person.

If you find that it’s hard to be persuasive, here are some more tips to create an item description that converts and persuades:

  • Keep the sentences to the point and short.
  • Make emotional connections with the audience.
  • Highlight what your prospect might feel after using the product.
  • Agree with the pain or problem and emphasize how the product helps.
  • Empathize with your prospect’s challenges.
  • Sell the lifestyle so that they keep coming back to buy more.

For example, if you’re talking about a skincare product, you should highlight how the visitor feels after using it (refreshed and brightened) and the lifestyle they can achieve (beautiful-looking skin).

Read Aloud

Once you’ve written the description (or while you write it), test it by reading it out loud. Make sure it sounds like you’re having a real conversation with the targeted customer persona.

Pay attention to the words, and if you get tripped up on a particular phrase or word, that’s a sign that this copy doesn’t feel natural or sound great. Keep tweaking the description and read it aloud until there are no stumbles along the way.

You should also ask yourself:

  • Have you included the features as benefits?
  • Does it sound energetic and persuasive?
  • Does it flow? Are there any drags with big words, long sentences, or awkward phrases?

If the answer to any of those is “no,” revise what you’ve written and continue to the next step.

Optimization Checklists to Improve the Descriptions

You have no created your first draft of the product description. There may have been a few revisions here and there, but you’ve made progress and deserve a pat on the back. However, you’re not finished yet!

The last step is to run through the checklist below. It’s sure to help you ensure that you’ve got the big-ticket pieces in place, you’re not sloppy, and you’ve got SEO and grammar down pat.

Here are the big-picture checkpoints. Have you:

  • Made the product come alive?
  • Used a compelling and descriptive headline?
  • Highlighted unconventional or surprising benefits of the product?
  • Led with pain-busting solutions and benefits instead of features?
  • Used familiar language that your prospect might use but that’s consistent with the brand? (no confusing acronyms, jargon, or cliches)
  • Made the descriptions skimmable with bullet points, headers, videos, icons, etc.?
  • Included your social proof – Are there any relevant technologies, brands, and influencers you can reference to boost credibility?
  • Used Amazon search terms and SEO keywords naturally in your heading, description paragraph, and subheadings without overdoing it?

If all of those things are great, now you should consider the finer points:

  • Did you use positive words to evoke security and trust?
  • Do the sentences start with action verbs or did you use passive statements?
  • Are you using present and future tense to help customers feel like they already own it?
  • Did you include relevant directions to prevent and anticipate returns?
  • Have you avoided “lazy” words, such as honestly, actually, just, literally, sorry, nice, etc.?
  • Did you check for grammar issues?
  • Did you avoid hyperbolic words (breakthrough, market-leading, stunning, innovative, revolutionary, ultimate)?

Remember, these are all guidelines and not hard rules. For example, some brands might be very informal, so it’s okay and recommended to use those “lazy” words (but do so sparingly). If those are words that the target prospect uses in everyday conversation, it’s okay to sprinkle them into the description if you own a casual brand. It helps your writing feel conversational.

However, it’s best to treat “lazy” words as a bit of sea salt on your chocolate chip dessert. A few flakes are ideal, but if there are too many, it’s inedible.

Before you post it to your store, you must check for duplicate copies (plagiarism). You can find free plagiarism tools out there, but it’s probably best to go with Copyscape. That way, you aren’t stealing from another site. Remember, you should never copy the manufacturer’s product description. Search engines don’t reward cloned content.

Why You Shouldn’t Copy Descriptions from Competitors

While it is true that imitation is considered a form of flattery, you should never copy the description from a competitor or manufacturer’s website. No matter how you look at it, this is considered stealing, and you can get into big trouble by Google.

Even if the process was ethical (it’s not), there isn’t a guarantee that it could help you or be effective. You don’t know if that product description is already converting customers; you could be cheating from the low-end of the spectrum.

It could be the best description for that product, but it’s only ideal for that particular customer and brand. Yours are different, even if your products are similar. It’s well worth the time to understand those differences, both for marketing copy and product descriptions).

What Power Words Should You Use for a Compelling Product Description?

You can quickly search Google to find power words suitable for copywriting, and there are plenty of power adjectives. They aren’t baseless, and most of them use words that make you feel. Since purchasing something is ultimately emotional, words that make others feel powerful are persuasive.

However, adding them doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your persuasive product descriptions convert better. These words are indeed focused on action, but you must sprinkle them in and use them correctly. Otherwise, the visitor isn’t likely to do anything. With that, many of these words are just overused, and everyone’s tired of reading them.

Instead, focus more on bullet points and creating the problem/solution and go from there.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know exactly what product descriptions are, it’s time to go back to what you have and use the tips talked about above. While it takes time, it’s sure to improve sales for your online store and is worth the investment.

Optimizing and writing descriptions effectively isn’t difficult. Most eCommerce sites do it well, and you can, too. If you own an online shop, you must focus on the necessary site functionality features to ensure that people can navigate easily and find your products. However, once they get to the page, they must be compelled to buy.

Focus on creating the best product descriptions, and you’re likely to see conversions and more sales.

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