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4 Tips for Writing Effective Product Descriptions

By Casey NewmanNov 14, 2016

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You’ve got a fantastic product. You’ve spent years researching, creating and pouring blood, sweat and tears into its creation. And now it’s ready to hit the market.

Before you get to work on your next great campaign to promote it, consider this: 

The words you choose to describe your products or service can either persuade someone to click “add to cart” or leave your site shaking their head in confusion.

These four tips can help you craft product descriptions that sell.

Know Your Ideal Audience

Who is your ideal buyer? Where do they spend their time? What are some common issues they’re dealing with that your product can address?

Answering these questions helps you create buyer personas that can drive your product descriptions—and your marketing for that product. Think about it: If you’re trying to address everyone with your product description, the words become impersonal and meaningless to the reader.

Instead, address your personas directly, as if you’re actually having a conversation with them.

“Sounds great,” I hear you thinking. But where exactly can I find my audience?

Talk to people. Ask potential or current customers what search terms they’d use if they were to search for your product or service. Ask them about their pain points and what would trigger them to start looking for a solution to their problems. If you’re new to the market and don’t have customers yet, or simply want another perspective, ask friends or family members the same questions.

Take a look at this men’s winter jacket description from LL Bean:

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 11.37.15 AM.pngLL Bean knows its audience doesn’t want a coat that makes them look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man or is so noisy someone can hear them coming from down the hall, and the company clearly points these things out when describing the coat’s features.

Examine Keywords

Now that you’ve got a list of search terms your audience would use, start comparing them. Check out tools like Google AdWords, keywordtool.io or Ubersuggest, which can help you determine how many people are actually searching for the terms. You want to aim for a keyword or phrase that falls somewhere in the middle in search volume. The higher the search volume a keyword has, the more people are searching for and trying to optimize it, which will make it hard for you to rank or get traffic for that term. A lower search volume means just that—not many people are searching for it, so don't waste your time writing for it.

Take a look at your competitors’ websites, too. What keywords are they using to describe their offerings? Have they highlighted any words or key phrases in their product descriptions or page copy? Don’t forget to look at page titles and meta descriptions for additional inspiration.

For even more ideas, do some reading. Search for your keywords on social media sites or on sites like Quora and read the conversations or news stories happening around them. This can give you a feel for how people are using the terms.

If you have a type of product—say, marketing software—you can also create Google alerts around terms like “marketing software” or the names of your competitors to stay abreast of newsworthy events.

Be Human

Sure, you think your product is the best thing ever made. But your audience sees things differently. Padding your descriptions with superlatives like “groundbreaking,” “revolutionary” and “one-of-a kind” sounds insincere unless you can actually prove why something is “groundbreaking.”

This description of Barnes & Noble’s Nook GlowLight Plus lays out three key benefits while using superlative-free, easy-to-digest language.

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Customer quotes are also an excellent way to help describe your offering. Ask customers for a quote about how your product or service made a task easier, made a difference in their job or solved a problem.

This example from Basecamp lets you see how customers benefit from the product. Instead of listing features, Basecamp lets its customers tell the story. This, combined with the highlighted portions of quotes, makes the information easy to digest and gives the brand more credibility. 

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Check Your Progress

You’ve got your buyer personas, done your keyword research and have written awesome product or service copy. Time to sit back and let the traffic roll in, right? Not exactly.

Before you pat yourself on the back for a job well done, track your progress to see how your copy is performing. Take a look at your site traffic. What keywords are people using to get to your site? Once they’re there, do they stay awhile or do they leave after a few seconds? If you notice they get to your site and quickly leave, it could indicate that your copy needs adjusting.

Whether you’re selling rain boots, marketing software or consulting services, it all comes down to knowing your audience. Addressing their pain points, having clear, concise copy and speaking to them like they’re a human being can help your product stand out and make it easier for your customer to click that “add to cart” button. 

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Additional Topics: Content and Design
Casey Newman
The Author

Casey Newman

A love for writing and her natural curiosity ultimately led Casey to careers in journalism and public relations. Today Casey puts her passion for content to work telling your brand’s story and helping you create the perfect strategy.
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