And you don’t have to be a wordplay-wizard to make it work for you
Writing exciting product descriptions is a key piece of the puzzle in getting customers down the funnel and clicking the ‘pay’ button at checkout. They are the magic words which describe what your product images cannot capture; they are promoting a story, a feeling; they detail technical information, item care and is an extra touch point where you can speak directly to your ideal buyer.
There’s more to the art of writing product copy than just drily narrating what it is you’re selling and what it can be used for.
Follow this simple formula to help you write captivating product descriptions that bag those sales.
1. Focus On Your Target Audience
First, you need to know who it is you’re writing these descriptions for. Investigate what kind of people would be interested in your product, how would you (or your brand) address them if you were speaking face to face? Put together a buyer persona to refer to as you’re writing as it will help keep you focused on who you’re talking to. This customer analysis will then feed into the tone of voice your business is projecting. For example, will your customers respond to humour? Or are they more into succinct facts and figures than jokes?
Knock out a hypothetical list of questions someone might have about what you’re selling as answering those points will form the structure of your product description.
2. Use Words That Spark Imagination
Scientific research has shown that when someone holds a product in their hands, the desire to own it increases. When you’re selling online, shoppers can’t touch what they are browsing. Sure, you have crisp pictures and videos to illustrate the goods, but letting your buyers visualise what it’s like own that item is all down to product descriptions that inspire a need to purchase. Some people live every day in a world of vivid imagination – it could take just one sentence and they’ve mentally pictured a colourful existence off the back of your product. Others might take a little more coaxing.
Deliciously sweet example of a sensory product description.
It’s a proven fact that words with sensory meaning behind them create a written warmth that can be applied to even the most serious of products. Turning a phrase that is peppered with exciting words that stimulate an emotion is a form of persuasion that can place customers in the experience of your copy while reading. There is a balance to strike though, unnecessary superlatives (i.e. best, amazing, excellent), yeahyeahyeah drivel (when you don’t explicitly explain why your product is ‘high-quality’) and woolly jargon will mean squat to a customer skimming over your words.
Go back to the list of speculative questions that your typical customer would ask about what it is you’re selling. What hesitations could they have which would stop them buying from you? These objections need to be met with the benefits your product offers. Even if you round off a dazzling list of X, Y, Z advantages which buying your goods could provide, without answering objections customers won’t be convinced enough to buy. A trick is to blend a query with a product benefit. For example, if you were selling shoes and one of its assets was it being waterproof, you’d write ‘waterproof leather for longer-lasting durability’. The ‘waterproof leather’ part is the feature and the ‘longer-lasting durability’ section answers the customer’s question ‘are these shoes going to be worth the investment and last me?’
4. Tell a story
An effective product writing technique is to summerise a product in story form, particularly if it comes with a unique background. Companies that sell wine often draw on the histories or background of vineyards to paint compelling stories which makes the reader forget they are being sold to. It’s no secret that brands who have a solid story tend to do better. People have an emotional reaction to stories that move them in some way or another, which in turn moves product.
‘Created exclusively for Cult Beauty (because it’s one of our favourite things ever!) this very special edition makes a wonderful thing even better. You can now get all the reviving, purifying and toning goodness of Omorovicza’s iconic mist in this gorgeously luminous, star-patterned packaging. The ‘original’ perfume, this mist was formulated in Europe at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. Legend has it was so successful that it led the king (aged just 25 years) to propose marriage when she was nearing the end of her life… (sounds good to us)!‘
People skim-read when looking for what they want online, you’ve probably skimmed over most of this post (it’s Ok, we forgive you). Keeping your sentences short, to the point and devoid of fluffy-word fillers will tame even the shortest of attention spans. A standard layout that most brands use is a 2-3 sentence paragraph and then bullet point the rest of the details to make the product page easily scannable for scrolling customers. This formula leaves little room for waffle.
It goes without saying that spelling and grammar are the linchpins holding your credible product descriptions together. If it’s not a strong point of yours, sign up for a copy checking site like Grammarly (the basic plan is free). Then, proofreading your descriptions comes in at a close second. This can be uncomfortable, as you’ve got to be harshly objective on something you’ve probably worked really, really, really hard on.
Either bribe a friend to play ruthless editor or pretend your product descriptions are the work of someone else. If you’re editing, give yourself minimum 3 days before coming back to your words (distance gives you perspective), and print out the pages if you can. It’s sometimes easier to be merciless cleaning up copy when armed with a red pen and physical bits of paper.
More examples of product-copy perfection
Still looking for that perfect party dress? Our summer showstopper Tessa, covered in small glimmering sequins, will always ensure all eyes are on you. Column shape with a nipped in waist, Tessa has two side slits in the skirt meaning that she’ll glide across the dance floor with ease! The black silk shoulder straps tie at the top, adding a soft, bohemian touch. No matter the occasion, Tessa will guarantee you’ll be the best dressed!
This is a killer product description as it’s presenting a solution to a problem their ideal customer might have right off the bat. It covers what the photograph doesn’t show (that the dress has two side splits, and the straps are tied), it puts the customer in the dress imagining throwing some shapes at their summer work party / friend’s barn wedding / sister’s 30th birthday and speaks to their fashion-conscious buyer persona who wants to be the best dressed in any room she enters.
Bloom & Wild
Sweet and cheerful, our Rosie conjures up images of summer afternoons in the garden sipping rose with our favourite friends. Made up of our most delicate wild blooms like limonium, sweet williams and yellow roses, it’s a marvellous pick-me-up any day of the week.
Note the snack-sized short paragraph and bullet-point format working a treat to support – not detract from – the beautiful imagery. Using sensory words and setting the scene to make customers long for the feel of summer sunshine, this description pulls out our best memories and attaches them to their product as a reminder of rosier times. Bloom & Wild also cleverly title the majority of their products female names to hit the personal note, with ‘our Rosie’ type-phrasing creating an intimacy between brand and consumer – it’s like their flowers are old friends you’d be delighted to have round to stay.
This kit came about because we were tired of seeing shaving kits on the market with no love for the beardsman. The ultimate bearded kit contains no razors, just products for grooming your beard.
We’ve worked hard to find a woodsman based in America who could keep up with demand and we’ve found a great one. The box is made with fine attention to details and even includes tiny magnets to keep the lid shut. Along with the box, you get a large comb, pocket comb, mustache comb, boar’s hair brush, trimming scissors, Tree Ranger mustache wax, and Tree Ranger beard oil.
Tree Ranger is a potent blend of eucalyptus that will have you smelling like you just hiked through a Pacific Northwest forest. In fact, people may be wondering why your face was hugging a tree. You shouldn’t leave for your next camping trip, or anywhere for that matter, without this blend in your bag.
As with all our products, we focus on quality and attention to detail. This kit will live up to the Beardbrand reputation and we are excited to offer it as the full urban beardsman package.
Solution to a problem? Check. Personal story / human element? Check. Descriptive and motivating language? Check. Yes, it’s longer than most product descriptions but this brand knows their targetted customer inside out and backwards. The kind of clientele they attract will be after lots of beard-specific detail and most probably subscribe to a lifestyle and look that the copy touches upon, therefore they’d be interested in continuing to read about it.
Vellum white 350gsm card embossed with holographic foil.
Comes with an embossed pastel pink envelope.
Handmade in London.
Free UK postage on all orders of £20 or more. Use the code ‘freeshipping’ at checkout.
Cool, memorable, on brand and reflecting the internal eye-roll that their customer is probably feeling. Mean Mail you get 10/10.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
These babies most certainly are NOT products. But, the personality descriptions Battersea write to ‘sell’ their furry residents to potential adopters are full of story, emotion and pictorial language. They hit a nerve of sentimentality with a positive spin and add heaps of the animal’s characteristics that can’t be seen in a picture or video over the internet. These powerful descriptions drive people through the charity’s doors to meet the four-legged tenants for real and hopefully offer someone a happy forever home.
What’s the best product descriptions you’ve come across?
If you need more help with growing your business, take a look at our post on ‘4 Ways To Write Product Titles That Sell’