When you open up a sales catalog, what’s the first thing that gets your attention? The images. What’s next? When you see something you like, your eyes immediately go to the product descriptions.
As a modern day consumer myself, I think a good description can sell any product way better than any image can. Sure, it might look great in the pictures, but it’s the description of how it works that really brings it all home. So how do you do it? How do you write a product description that sells? Something that makes people want to not just order the product, but tell their friends about it? The answer is not as cut and dry as “just write well.” But I don’t want to give it all away in the first few sentences. Let’s talk about it.
Focus on the benefits of the product
The biggest selling points for any product are the benefits of purchasing said product. Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t just blatantly ramble off all the bad things about purchasing it, but you should definitely make it a point to highlight the good stuff.
Take a look at this product description. Right off the bat, you can see everything that this Xbox controller is capable of.
Use a natural tone of voice
Remember: you’re a human being communicating with other human beings. Nobody likes to read something that sounds like a robot wrote it. Your product descriptions should read exactly as if you were standing in front of a potential customer explaining how awesome your product is.
This all depends completely on your natural tone of voice. To completely nail this particular aspect of a good product description, you do have to be somewhat skilled at writing. And this isn’t to discourage you from trying.
For me, the best way to visualize this is to look at a bad product description and think about how you would change it. Take a look at this:
I think even the most casual grammar gurus out there will sort of cringe at this one. Let’s completely ignore the massive and overwhelming title that’s being used to describe one shoe for a second.
When you dive deep into the actual description, sure, it manages to name some benefits and points of interest. But it is also impossible to read it in your head or out loud in a voice that is not monotone.
This description is far from natural. It sounds as if a computer generated this text. This, of course, is nothing against the product or manufacturer. For all we know, this could be the most amazing shoe in the world. That being said, a quality product description is what sells a product online. If you have a poor quality description, odds are that you won’t attract the right buyers.
Use the right keywords
All-in-all, the product description above is keyword cramming. While cramming as many keywords as you can into a description might help your search rankings, it most certainly won’t help guide your customers to making the right purchase.
As you can see from the example above, the writing comes off as sloppy and almost unreadable. This can easily scare away a customer. You need to aim for a description that is both readable and contains the right keywords.
Anytime you type something into a search bar, the search engine looks for the most relevant text based on what you typed in. So for example, if you typed in “Red gym shorts”, this is what will pop up:
As you can see, all of these results have the keyword “red gym shorts” in them. That’s why it’s so important that you use those keywords correctly, and describe your products accurately.
Avoid long-winded descriptions
Let’s not kid ourselves here, nobody wants to read a long and boring description. This can sort of tie in with our first point. You want to mention only the points that are beneficial and necessary.
Of course, many products will require a long description, but this shouldn’t be the standard. Let’s take a look at the biggest online retailer on the planet: Amazon.
When you look up a product on Amazon, all of the descriptions follow a guideline. You will not find a product with a huge product description. Most of the time, you won’t find anything with more than 5 or 6 points.
On top of that, they’re all written out clearly and always in the same place on the page. However, if we look back at the example with the shoes, the grammar and tone is what throws off the description, not the length of the description.
It’s all about balance. Keep it as short and sweet as possible.
Use your best images
To best summarize the importance of quality images, I’ll use an example that I think all of us can relate to. Have you ever bought something from a private seller? Let’s say on Ebay, or even from the Facebook Marketplace? I think most of us have. Or at least we are familiar with these platforms.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been browsing and clicked on an image just because the image was so bad that I couldn’t make out what it was.
Quality images help the buyer understand what they’re actually buying. It gives them a point of reference, so that they can get a better sense of what they’re spending their hard earned cash on.
Those bad images on eBay and Facebook are next to worthless. They do not help the buyer understand what they’re buying, and they often leave them with more questions, rather than answers.
The moral of this story is to take an extra few minutes to make sure your images are perfect. If you’re creating a product catalog, it’s worth investing in a professional with all the right equipment.
Use powerful words
Words are some of the most powerful weapons we have. A single word can make someone’s day or tear it down completely. Choosing the right words is essential because of the power that they can have on people.
Like a real estate listing description, there are plenty of trigger words to really get customers excited. Words like amazing, magical, daring, and mind-blowing are just a few great examples. All of the words are powerful and can be used to grab someone’s attention.
Take a look at this product description for a grill. Mixed in there, you’lls ee words like performance, ultimate, and easy. These are powerful words for this product. I mean, after all, we’re just talking about an outdoor grill. But with that in mind, would you rather buy “an outdoor grill” or a “high-performance outdoor grill”? You can see what I’m trying to get at.
Make it easily scannable
When you’re shopping around for the latest and greatest product that you most likely don’t need, the last thing you want to do is read a long and complicated product description. What you, as well as everyone else that wants to buy something needs is to go over the description, get the information they need quickly, and decide whether or not to buy it.
In a way, you can think of it like this: keep it simple. The more information you give them, the more they have to digest. The more they have to digest, the less likely they will be to make a decision.
In the example above, anyone can take a look at it, absorb all the information they need, see what the product looks like, and click the link to purchase it all on the same page.
It is quite a delicate approach, as you don’t want to leave out any important information. You do, however, want to make sure they get the right information and not a migraine.
Split testing your product descriptions
As you may have gathered from the points above, this is a very detailed oriented task. You won’t get it right every time. Don’t let that discourage you, though. One way you can test your different styles of product descriptions is to split test.
“But what on Earth is split testing?!”, you may be asking yourself. It sounds complicated, but I promise it’s not. Split testing is simply creating 2 different versions of the same description. This way, you can test different words, lengths, formats, and more, and gather the results. See if your different styles make a difference.
What to take away from this
Each industry, product, and customer is different. Knowing your audience and the product you’re selling is perhaps the best advice anyone can ever give you. What I want you to take away from this is that there is no set formula. Yes, there are rules and standards, but no one product description is the same as another (at least it shouldn’t be). Focus, rattle off those benefits, don’t write like a robot, use specific keywords, keep it simple, use high quality images, and don’t forget to split test.
Product descriptions are incredibly important for online shops and catalogs alike. When someone cannot hold and feel the physical object in their hand, they rely completely on the words that you choose to use to describe what you’re selling.