How to Write Kick Ass Product Descriptions

Written by Sarah on 12th July 2016

Though a product page includes many elements that contribute towards creating a conversion, writing killer product descriptions is often an element that is pushed to the back burner.

Writing unique descriptions that sell for 100’s of products can seem like a huge challenge that you’d rather not face. Instead, you’d rather just use a bland template, stick the product title in and be done with. Worse, you might just use the manufacturer’s description.

Yes, using a template or ‘formula’ to write all your descriptions in one day might seem like an easy win, but really you’re doing your site an injustice.

Kick ass product descriptions can increase your conversions by 30%. That’s an extra 30% of sales you could be missing out on because you wanted to save time.

Writing Product Descriptions That Sell

So what makes compelling copy for your products? Here’s 6 tips that will help you to write descriptions that will convert:

1. Who Are Your Customers?

One of the very first things you need to be doing when writing your product descriptions, is having a clear idea of who your customers are.

Heck, if you don’t know who your customers are, I’d say you need to stop reading and spend some time working it out before you go any further.

Firebox's Product Description shows they know exactly who their customers areFirebox have a clear picture of who their ideal customer is. The product description for the Death Star Cookie Jar includes several in-jokes that only Star Wars fans will get, with their tongue firmly in their cheek.

They know exactly who their customers are, geeks and fans of popular culture, and they know how they like to talk.

When writing your own product descriptions, consider how you would talk to a customer face to face.

Is it appropriate to use humor? What kind of language would you use – formal, informal? Generally, we avoid jargon so we don’t alienate users, but for a niche audience there may be some jargon that can help you establish your authority on the subject. These are all things to consider before you start writing.

2. How does your product benefit customers?

Despite being one of the pillars of copywriting for ecommerce, we often forget that the majority of customers don’t care about features. They want to know how the product benefits them.

In Firebox’s description above, they could have just listed the product features as ‘Flat Base’. Instead they added ‘so it won’t roll all over the place’. Not a huge benefit (unless you count not having cookies rolling about everywhere) but it clearly explains why a flat base benefits the user.

To help you uncover the benefits, think about some of the pain points that your customers experience that your product helps to resolve, as well as some of the questions that they might be asking.

Babyliss' Product Description shows their product benefits

For many women and men who use heated products to style their hair, one of the pain points is a hair style that looks overly-styled and dried out. In the product description above, Babyliss explain how their diamond-infused ceramic finish benefits users with shiny, natural looking waves.

This description also answers some of the questions that users might have about the tongs:

  • How many heat settings does it have?
  • How hot does it get?
  • How long before it’s ready to use?
  • How long does the cord stretch?

3. Use your Imagination

A huge part of marketing is storytelling. Humans love stories, and when used well, they can really help to sell your products.

The reason they help to sell your products is because they make customers feel like they’re not being sold to.

In this day and age when we’re constantly aware that we’re being bombarded by adverts and salesmen, and we know when we’re being sold too.

Stories help to soften that approach.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to write a full blown novel in your description either. Old Spice does it in 70 words by painting a humorous picture of what their customers can expect after using their deodorant:

Nocturnal is just a word that explains some animals’ eating habits-that is, until you cover your body in nocturnal wafts of Old Spice Wolfthorn. Then “nocturnal” explains the time of day you will be sipping dark hot chocolates with northern beauties while reminiscing about what a wonderful time you just had at the secret hot springs earlier that day with the northern beauties we talked about earlier in this sentence.

Not only have they included a highly tongue-in-cheek story within this description, but it’s totally on brand and reminiscent of their viral ad.

Smoothie maker Innocent, takes a similar if slightly more nostalgic approach for their Gorgeous Greens drink:

Remember when your mum wouldn’t let you play out until you’d finished your peas? Being told to eat your greens was a bit of a pain, especially when there were go-carts and BMX’s in the world. That’s why we’ve made sure that drinking them is easy. Packed full of the finest fruits and green stuff we could find, we’ve managed to blend a deliciously refreshing smoothie that tastes far better than leftover sprouts and cold broccoli. 100% more tasty, in fact.
Give it a go. Your mum would be proud.

Here they’ve taken the memories almost everyone has of being forced to eat your greens and used them to sell a smoothie. It’s only 90 words long, but there’s two stories included in there – not being allowed to leave the table until you’ve eaten your greens, and your own memories of refusing to eat sprouts.

4. Using the right adjectives

Prepare yourself for a mini English Language lesson, folks.

Part of writing a persuasive product description is using adjectives to describe your product and make it more enticing. However, most of the time these adjectives are pretty pointless, as customers are used to advertisers using them to over-exaggerate.

However, there are two kinds of adjectives in particular you should be aware of:

  • Superlatives (an adjective that is the greatest degree of its descriptor)
  • Sensory adjectives (adjectives that relate to something you can feel, touch, taste, smell or hear)

Superlatives
It’s highly likely that your existing product descriptions include superlatives, touting your product as the best one out there. However, unless you can back up your claims, chances are your potential customer is completly disregarding it.

Is your product the most advanced one out there? What facts and features back this up?

Back Up Your Superlatives like Amazon has for their Kindle

Amazon backs up their claims of the ‘thinnest and lightest Kindle ever’ by going into detail about just how much more thinner and lighter it is. Using percentages and numbers further confirms their use of the superlatives too. Notice how they also include the benefit of this feature – “so you can read comfortably for hours”.

Sensory Adjectives
Using sensory adjectives is all about engaging readers brains. When we read sensory words, our sensory cortex is engaged and so the copy has more impact on us.

While you might typically associate sensory adjectives with describing edible goods – you can apply this to any product.

Darren DeMatas offers the best tip for adding sensory words to your descriptions. Simply create a table with a column for each sense and think about the different words you can use to describe your product. Use the words customers use in reviews too, and you’ve got a pretty good description on your hands.

5. Readability

This tip is something that’s so simple and obvious, but one that a lot of people can often forget – making sure that your description is easy to read.

This includes doing two things:

  • Making it easy to scan your text
  • Using the right language

Truth is, you’re probably not even reading this post in full detail, at least not the first time. You probably read the first paragraph and then scanned the rest of the post to see if it’s worth the time to read it, right?

Customers do exactly the same with your product descriptions. We want information and we want it fast so we scan the text, looking for quick bites that tell us what we need to know.

To make sure your copy is scannable you should include clear headings and bullet points. Your font should be easy to read (no Corsiva fonts at size 10) and have plenty of space around it.

We already talked about the kind of language that you should use earlier, but one key aspect to reiterate is the use of jargon. Unless you’re targeting an audience that uses this kind of jargon, avoid it.

There are tools out there that enable you to test your texts readability. If you’re working on WordPress the Yoast SEO plugin automatically checks your readability using the Flesch Reading Test.

6. SEO Optimization

While your focus when writing your product descriptions should always be the customer, it’s also worthwhile to make sure they are search engine friendly too.

You should be including relevant keywords in your product description naturally but you can easily identify which keywords you should be including.

Optimize your Product Descriptions for Search EngineTake a look at your product title, and break down some of the keywords included in it. For example, let’s say you’re selling this Women’s Baggy Fit V Neck Top with Turn Up Batwing Sleeves. Some of the keywords we could use would be:

  • Baggy fit
  • V neck top
  • Batwing Sleeves
  • Turned Up Sleeves
  • Women’s V Neck Top

When including your keywords, there’s no real set keyword density you should be looking at. Simply avoid stuffing those keywords into your description, and only include them in a way that reads naturally. If you can do this, you’ve created a description that both customers and search engines will love.

This should also prevent you from using duplicate content in your descriptions. Writing product descriptions, particularly when you have several hundreds of products can seem like the worst job in the world. With the amount of time that it can consume you might find yourself ready to use a template just to get them done.

Don’t give in to that temptation. Duplicate content is a big no-no wherever you look. Search engines will penalise you for it, and customers will find it a turn-off if every description reads pretty much the same.

 

Looking back at these tips, it might seem like a lot of work, but try to remember that 30% increase. If you have way too many products to (re)write that you feel like it’s not worth the time, I would approach it in one of two ways:

  • Don’t rush to do them all at once, set aside 1 hour a day to focus on this task, or set yourself a target of writing 10 descriptions a day.
  • Try testing it. Select a small group of products to improve and see what the results are like (and let us know the results too!)

Whichever way you approach it, writing kick ass product descriptions can be be highly worthwhile. Have you seen increases in conversions after rewriting your product descriptions?