Writing product descriptions
Marketing and the absolute truth working together
Writing great quality product descriptions is probably one of the hardest copywriting exercises there is. You have to create a need, describe a product, tell a story and highlight features and benefits all within a paragraph or two.
Like writing for Twitter, less really is more. You have limited space within which to work and to have enough there to create the need for the product. It’s a challenging task, but one we love to do!
Product description writing can be a long process involving several steps. You have to know the product, know the audience, identify features and benefits, factor in keywords tell a story and offer social proof. All within a hundred or so words.
Know the product
In order to effectively sell a product, you have to know it and believe in it. That means a period of familiarisation is necessary in order to get to know it, try it and see for yourself how good it really is. Only then can you effectively sell it.
Know your audience
To pitch a product effectively, you need to know who you’re talking to. We need to know who they are, how old they are, what they like, what they hate, the language and words they use and much more. Only when we know this can be craft product descriptions that speak to them.
Identify features and benefits
When writing product descriptions, you don’t just provide statistics and specifications. That comes at the end. To sell, you need to answer one simple question, “What will it do for me?” Answers could be solve a problem, make you feel good, look better, run faster or whatever. Only when you answer that question will you get a sale.
Product descriptions don’t just have to reach a human audience, they also have to talk to search engines to work effectively. After all, you want each product page to stand on its own within the search engines to people looking for it can find it. That’s where keyword selection comes in.
Telling a story isn’t essential and won’t work for every product type, but where relevant can really work. It reaches the emotional side of us that can help influence a purchase and should never be overlooked.
Social proof is relatively new, but has become an invaluable part of the buying process. It refers to customer feedback and reviews. Sites like Trip Advisor and Revoo are two examples of social proof. Real people offering real opinions after trying your product. If you have positive feedback, it’s a good idea to leverage it to make a sale.
Other elements of great product descriptions
There are some other key elements we can use when writing product descriptions to make them more powerful. Much depends on the factors above to assess whether they will be useful or not, so are optional.
You have to be careful using superlatives and too many can be off-putting. They can also come across as insincere unless you back up your claim. For example, simply saying “the best makeup money can buy” doesn’t sound real. But saying “the best makeup money can buy as voted by a global poll of supermodels” will. We will then need the small print for the bottom of the page to back that claim.
Usually, sensory words are edited out as superfluous, but for certain products they can be powerful. Anything that can be linked to the emotional or senses such as chocolate, wine, beauty products, lingerie and so forth can be safely linked to sensory words as long as they are used sensibly.