Updated July 2018
Writing product descriptions seems pretty easy – just name a few features and you’re done, right? Wrong.
A list of features isn’t enough to sell a product. Truly effective product descriptions need to entice shoppers, help them understand what your product will do for them and explain why yours is better than the rest.
An irresistible product description can make the difference between mediocre sales and hitting your next milestone. And a bad product description can actually cost you money.Writing unique and compelling product descriptions isn’t easy - but the time and resources required to produce outstanding product content is well worth the investment. Click To Tweet
Does Having Unique Product Descriptions Matter?
Copying product descriptions from the manufacturer is one of the worst things you can do for your store’s search rankings. With so many other competing businesses doing the same thing, this will only decrease the chances of your products getting found in search engines.
Unique Product Descriptions Support SEO
Search engines give priority to sites that have unique content. When you have redundant content your site is indistinguishable from hundreds of other sites that sell the same products – so why should search engines give you a high ranking? You need content and product descriptions that stand out and add value if you want to get in Google’s good books.
Unique Product Descriptions Help to Build Your Brand
Another reason to use unique product descriptions is it helps you build a strong brand that “sticks” in the mind of visitors. Every business needs a “voice” and a “personality” that reflects their company’s philosophy and business approach, and it should shine through in every piece of content you put online – including product descriptions. When you use generic product descriptions, you won’t stand out from other sites that sell the same products. Instead, you’ll be another “me too” site with no brand or identity.
Needless to say, that’s not good for sales.
You can include some manufacturer information, but you need to add unique content to make it original.
Well-Written Product Descriptions Do Two Things…
There are two main goals of a well-written product description. The first is to provide the necessary facts about the product. The product’s color, manufacturer, price, measurements, weight, and other important information must be part of the description.
The second goal of a product description is to showcase the product’s benefits in a compelling and trustworthy way. This type of copy is creative, descriptive, and often emotional.
Having effective and articulate product descriptions that meet both of these goals is one of your best defenses against cart abandonment because shoppers know exactly what they’re getting and how it will benefit them.
One of the biggest challenges of writing great product descriptions is meeting these two goals while also making sure it’s optimized for SEO.
3 Product Description Strategies
While there isn’t a single template or formula for writing the perfect product description, there are some key elements that every product description should include.
Here are 3 strategies you can try out on your own product descriptions.
1. ‘Romance’ the Customer
The creative and descriptive aspect of product copy should ‘romance’ the customer. Add details to the description that evoke a certain mood or feel. For example, instead of using the word “lighting” to describe a lamp, try “illuminate” or “warm glow.” A thesaurus really comes in handy when elevating your product descriptions.
Emotional copy creates a personal feeling or connection between the customer and the product. A couch isn’t merely a frame with 3 cushions and 2 armrests, it’s a comfortable place to spend time with friends and family.
Burrow, a modular luxury sofa in a box, does a great job of romancing shoppers as they navigate through the benefits of buying a couch.
2. Entice the Senses
Use the five senses to add emphasis to the creative product copy. Include at least three different sensory details in each product description. You can describe how the product looks, how it sounds, how it feels, how it smells, and, in some instances, how it tastes. Use positive adjectives like “plush,” “velvety,” “scented,” “cozy,” and “comforting.” Avoid words that have a negative or neutral connotation like “cold,” “hard,” “rough,” and “harsh.”
Sensory details can help you conjure images of comfort, relaxation, friendship, romance, success, and satisfaction. After reading your product description, the customer should feel good about the product. It’s about creating a personal connection.
Mattress company, Casper, does a good job of teasing the shopper’s sense. Their mattresses aren’t just comfortable – they’re like sleeping on a dreamy cloud.
3. Add Some Humor
As the number of brands selling online has increased, so has the amount of bland, monotonous product descriptions. Stand out from the noise and make a bigger impact on your shoppers by adding some humor to your product copy.
Take this example courtesy of Palace Skateboards. They certainly aren’t the only ones selling Adidas Originals products, but the way they add humor to the product description makes it unique, engaging, and memorable.
9 Tips for Writing Strong Product Descriptions
Unfortunately, knowing what makes a truly great product description isn’t the same as writing one. It takes a talented wordsmith to write copy that communicates a product’s benefits in an engaging, believable and convincing way.
So what does it take to write an irresistible product description?
1. Know What Makes Your Target Customer Tick
You can’t write a great product description unless you know exactly who would want to buy your product. This requires a buyer persona – a detailed definition of your ideal customer that goes beyond basic demographic data. Things like what they’re interested in and what problems they need to solve.
Once you have a complete buyer persona, you can write a description that resonates with your ideal buyer.
2. Focus on Benefits
Don’t write generic, feature-centric descriptions. Instead, tell shoppers about the unique benefits your product provides and how it will benefit them.
Check out how Amazon describes some of the benefits of the Kindle Fire:
Enjoy millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle e-books, apps and games (positive benefit)
Power when you need it (positive benefit)
No more worrying about storage space (problem that can be avoided)
3. Don’t State the Obvious
When you run out of ideas or can’t find the right word to use in a product description, you might find yourself leaning on phrases like “excellent quality.” The only problem with this is that everyone says it. Obviously, no business will describe their product quality as “mediocre” or “just okay.”
So, to avoid this common pitfall, try to be specific and include as much detail as possible. Lands’ End did a good job of this in their description of children’s snow boots. Instead of just saying that the boots were good quality, they explained why they were good quality:
Easy to get on and off, with 200 grams of insulation to keep them on their toes in the snow. We add insulation under foot (where heat escapes) to ensure their toes stay toasty. Featuring our unique OpenWIDE® construction designed to extend twice as wide so feet can easily slip inside. Plus, reflective tape for added safety and an interior name label so their boots won’t walk off on their own
4. Make Product Descriptions Easy to Skim
Most consumers aren’t inclined to wade through long blocks of texts, especially when they’re in shopping mode. Make use of subheadings and bullet points to break up your product copy and be sure that the beginning of your description is as engaging as possible. That’s how you’ll get your reader hooked and keep them reading.
5. Prove Your Value
Explaining product or services to your customers often isn’t enough. You need to prove that the item you’re selling is as good as you say. Display a few customer reviews in the product description to alleviate any anxiety potential buyers might have.
Some sites even provide video tutorials that visually demonstrate benefits. One popular and entertaining example from a few years ago is the “Will it Blend?” series by blender maker Blendtec where they blend basically anything that will fit in their blender.
6. Don’t Show Too Many Options
Don’t crowd your product page with too much clutter. If your shoppers get distracted or are presented with too much choice, they may be derailed before they buy. You can still have related items on the page, but don’t let them distract from the main offering.
7. Make it Easy to Buy
Once your description convinces shoppers to buy, you need to make it easy for them to take the next step. A “buy” button should prominently stand out with a short, actionable phrase like “Order Now,” “Buy Now” or “Download Here.” All of these call-to-actions (CTAs) tell your buyer what to do to obtain your product.
8. Use Long-tail Product Keywords
To build more powerful long-tail phrases, carry out keyword research before you create each product description. If you sell different versions of a product – for example, various colors – you could list each product separately to make each page more unique. If you rely on organic traffic from Google, it’s crucial to use long-tail phrases to reduce competition in search engine results pages (SERPs). By using Google’s Keyword Planner, you can assess the competition for each phrase, find out the search volume, and get more ideas for content.
9. Optimize Meta Descriptions
It’s also important to pay attention to meta descriptions. Although they don’t affect rankings directly, they do appear in SERPs underneath the page titles, so optimizing this content for search engine users is crucial for attracting visitors to your site. Make sure each meta description is informative and enticing to improve click-through rates.
Common Reasons Why Your Product Descriptions Aren’t Converting
Over Optimized for SEO
While you might be focused on SEO and including the right keywords in your product descriptions, are those descriptions written clearly and organically for humans? You want your keywords to ramp up your page ranking, but you also have to understand that this text is meant for humans too.
People need clear descriptions of products.
If the content is written poorly, potential customers can easily be turned off. Poor product descriptions suggest that your company may not be as professional as others companies with more informative descriptions.
Text is Too Dense
We’ve all encountered the infamous “wall of text” before and know that it’s not pleasant to read.
While you certainly want to include all relevant information so buyers can make an informed decision, you don’t have to include excessive information that needlessly takes up space.
A streamlined website that contains well-organized product categories and navigation plays a big role in your conversion rate. Aim to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to find your products with simple keyword searches or clear heading tabs that lead them to product pages.
Instead of being too creative, be informative first and foremost. Make sure your site is easy to follow for first-time visitors.
Lack of Imagery
Product images can have a big impact on your conversion rates. If you can provide great images of your products, you are more likely to make a sale than with text alone. Be sure to post professional photos of items as customers will be turned off by poor images that look “home-made.”
Be sure to provide some evidence that many others have purchased your products. As an online venue, you have to show that there are many customers attracted to your site.
Unlike a brick and mortar store where customers can see other shoppers and checkout lines, online stores have to demonstrate social proof another way. For this reason, you need to tell them in some way that you are successful and that your products are in demand. This evidence may convince them that they should make a purchase from you too.
Optimizing Product Descriptions for SEO
While you always want to write product descriptions with your ideal buyer in mind, they can also be a useful tool to further your SEO efforts.
Think of the keywords your ideal buyer would use to search for your product and include those terms in your headline, subheading and body. Be careful not to overdo keywords though because that can actually backfire and hurt your search rankings.
Some things to keep in mind while writing product descriptions for SEO include:
- Use keywords and phrases throughout
- Optimize the headings
- Optimize the meta description
- Optimize the images
- Add product category content
Give Shoppers What They Need
When people shop online, they don’t get a chance to examine, touch or try on a product. Consumers have to base their buying decisions on the photos and product descriptions you provide. Make sure your product content gives shoppers the information and motivation they need to click “add to cart.”
Do you need unique, quality content to support your SEO goals? Constant Content connects you with thousands of professional writers able to create articles, ebooks, product descriptions and other assets that engage readers while increasing search rank.