For e-commerce companies, standing out against the competition is always a challenge. Especially when you consider Amazon and other large online retailers in the mix. While you may not always be able to compete with the lowest price, the content you have on your site can be the differentiator that helps you to win more customers. And your product descriptions are a great place to start.
Unfortunately, too many sellers don’t take the time to carefully craft those descriptions, or worse, don’t bother proofreading, leaving their site visitors feeling less than impressed.
A reported 20 percent of purchase failures are potentially a result of missing or unclear product information.
A little effort can go a long way, making your brand look more professional while also winning over new business.
Use the following tips to write killer product descriptions
Consider what your ideal shopper cares about
Depending on what kind of products you sell, your audience may care about ingredients, measurements, color, scent, material, etc. But go beyond the specifications. How is your product used? If there are unexpected ways, share those in the product description.
Talk about its benefits, as well. How will your customer live a better life with this product? How does it solve a problem they have?
Answer common questions
Take a note from Amazon, which includes frequently asked questions from consumers on each product page, and include questions (with answers) in your product descriptions. It’s likely that you’ve been asked the same questions over and over regarding your product, so make things easy for someone considering a purchase from you by providing those answers conveniently.
Also, keep in mind that if you’re getting asked the same question repeatedly, you may need to clarify your product description even further. Is anything about your current description or the way in which you instruct the use of your product confusing or misleading?
Tell a story
Storytelling is of utmost importance for entrepreneurs, and that goes for your product descriptions, as well.
Use your product description as an opportunity to share your product story.
What’s the backstory to your ingenious product? Did you run into the same problem time and time again, unable to find the right vegan hair conditioner until you invented your own?
Take this opportunity to share your story with your customers, weaving your product story into your overall brand story.
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed by how many errors I spot in product descriptions. Read what you’ve written out loud, but also get a second set of eyes to review it. It’s mind-boggling how we can sometimes be blind to our own errors.
Write for humans, not search engines
Another mistake I often see is when brands write for search engines, stuffing their descriptions with keywords and ultimately turning off their human audiences, with what reads as very non-conversational language. Treat your audience like a new friend and use a tone of voice that reflects that level of personal friendliness.
Avoid overly long or complicated sentences, and keep it short. Speak to your audience in your brand’s “everyday” tone of voice to create a sense of familiarity.
But, don’t overlook SEO
I’m not saying you don’t need keywords; I’m just saying to make humans your first audience.
Still, keywords are how humans find things they want to buy online, so make sure your product descriptions include them.
You can use a keyword tool like Ubersuggest to get a few variations of a keyword that your audience is most likely searching for. Then, be sure to include at least one or two of them.
Test out copy length
Some experts say your product description should be about 300 to 400 words, but only you will know what the sweet spot is for your audience. Write a few descriptions of that length, then check your website analytics and conversions to see how they fared against longer or shorter descriptions.
Hire a pro (if you can)
At this stage, you may not be able to afford to hire a professional writer. However, if you really struggle to write your own content and insist on doing so anyways, you may be doing your business more harm than good. The investment in a professional who knows how to write to your audience and actually sell could end up making you more of a profit than you initially spent on the cost of his or her services.
Interview several writers or agencies and ask to see samples of their product descriptions to see which company or freelancer has a style that matches your brand voice. And remember that good writers don’t come cheap, so resist the urge to go with the lowest bid. As they say, you get what you pay for.
Paired with professional product photos, your product descriptions are what entice visitors to your site to buy from you. Make them salivate with well-written copy.
Originally published Feb. 24, 2020. Updated Aug. 26, 2022.