When you walk into a store, what is it about a particular product that catches your attention? Is it the cut, the color, the price, the knowledge and friendliness of the clerks? There are so many ways that we can be enticed to purchase a product when shopping in person that do not exist when we are shopping online. In order to mimic as many of these positive in-store experiences as possible, a lot of thought and care needs to go into the crafting, marketing, and visualizing of your products.
Today I’m here to discuss with you 5 tips on how to write killer product descriptions that will indelibly lodge a picture in the minds of all your potential customers and make your product a necessity, not a luxury.
Know the Potential Audience for your Product
Some products can be marketed to a large audience, but some have a very unique set of potential buyers. Knowing who you are marketing a product to will help you craft a personalized product description that will target the correct audience, not just a broad description that targets everyone and entices no one. Check out the differences in these two pieces of copy for an imaginary box of tissue paper:
Need tissue paper for your runny nose? Then you’ll love our two-ply tissues! Made to last through the hardest of nose blowing, they’ll survive longer than your cold. There is no minimum order size, so purchase as much or as little as you need.
Who, exactly is the target audience for this first piece of copy? Who is it speaking to? It is vague and not targeted, so it is easy to ignore and won’t stick in the minds of your potential customers.
Getting ready for a long night of watching romantic comedies on Netflix and crying your eyes out when the mismatched couple finally becomes an item? There’s no better companion than our boxes of tissue paper! You’ll never blow a hole through our tissues, no matter how much you try (or cry). Keep a whole box near you and enjoy each and every moment of your rom-com guilty pleasures. We won’t tell anyone. Our tissue paper is also good at keeping a secret!
Now, this copy is targeted toward women who watch romantic comedies and enjoy crying during them. It may seem a little specific, but it is also a bit of informal writing that will settle in the minds of people who read it. It conjures up a specific instance that the tissues can be used for. People know what tissue paper is used for; your job is to make them desire the tissue paper that you are selling. Imbedding a scene in their mind is the best way to do this.
Write a Powerful Opening Line
One of my favorite book series begins with the line, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” A seemingly simple line, but it tells you so much in twelve words. The opening line of your product description should do the same. You may not get more than that to draw a customer in to all the other words you’ve written. In journalism this is called the lede, and it is used to engage a reader and get them to complete the story as opposed to moving on to the next one. With a lede you begin with the most important, tantalizing information and move on from there.
Writing a good opening line for a product can be the difference between a customer completing a purchase and them leaving your product page without buying anything. The most memorable part of a song is the hook, and your opening line should work just like the hook of your favorite song. Whether it’s a funny, touching, or poignant line it needs to resonate with your potential customer base.
Use Bullet Points for Product Specifications
While the information is important, product specifications can be some of the most boring additions to a description. It’s best to place these in bullet points after the product description, like this example of a tote bag from Zazzle”
All of the bulleted information about the tote bag is important to add to a product description, but visitors to your site shouldn’t have to wade through a lengthy paragraph to find that the tote you are selling has 100% cotton web handles. Bullet points allow for quick skimming of information which will lead to less frustration for visitors who just want a quick summary of certain features of your product. Unless you think you can make four-button cuffs super interesting that information is better left for a bulleted list.
Explain “Why,” Not “What”
Let’s say you are selling headphones. Most people know what headphones are made to do, so explaining that your headphones are great for listening to music would be superfluous. Your product description should have an emotional appeal, which means speaking to why it will impact your customer’s life, not what it does. If you are writing a product description for a pair of wireless headphones you can write something like this:
These headphones have a battery that lasts up to eight hours.
Sure that’s good information, but does it really have an emotional appeal? Would you be able to resist purchasing these headphones? There might be a better way to speak about battery life:
Perfect for runners, these headphones have an eight hour battery life so you won’t be left with silence in the middle of your marathon.
This has a more emotional appeal. You need these particular headphones A) if you are a runner and B) if you want to keep your music going for a long period of time, i.e. a marathon. You are now telling a customer why your product is for them, not just what your product is.
Write Multiple Drafts
Everything up to this point has been fun. Now comes the hard slog through frozen molasses: writing multiple drafts of your product descriptions. Before you decide on final copy you’ll need to write a couple of different drafts to make sure you have crafted copy that is the closest to perfection that you can get. Make sure you have a couple of people look over what you have written, not just for grammatical errors, but for tone and persuasiveness. Fresh eyes can see things that yours may not be able to pick out. James Joyce spent seventeen years writing and rewriting Finnegans Wake. You don’t need to take that long, but carefully crafting your product description will help you avoid having to make too many changes later and potentially maximize your sales as soon as you launch a new product
Start Writing Those Killer Descriptions
You are now armed with some great tools to help you craft killer product descriptions. Remember, there are countless companies competing with each other for a limited number of customers. Many of them are selling the same products as you are. You need to make sure to differentiate your products offerings from the competition, and writing amazing descriptions is one way to do that when selling online. By knowing your potential customer, crafting a powerful opening line, using bullet points for product specifications, explaining why a customer should buy your product and not what it does, and writing multiple drafts to prune superfluous words you can create products descriptions that have the potential to increase your visibility, brand recognition, and your sales. Have fun putting these tips to use!