For e-commerce sites, having product description writing that is original, compelling and high quality can make a significant difference to the number of conversions you achieve. So if you’ve already invested time and money in your web design, your marketing, and your products themselves, it only makes sense that you should also invest the same care in your product descriptions.
Having unique product descriptions is, of course, essential, because if you use manufacturer’s stock descriptions you run the risk of your products not being indexed by Google due to duplicate content issues.
While products differ widely across our clients’ sectors, we employ the same general principles when creating product descriptions for their websites. Today we’d like to share them with you.
1. Know your audience
Who’s going to buy your products? Everyone? Unlikely. Therefore, you need to pinpoint who exactly your readers are, and identify the best way of communicating with them. If you’re selling clothes to teenage girls, for example, the tone and content of your product descriptions are likely to be entirely different than if you’re selling briefcases to middle-aged businessmen.
2. Channel your brand identity
What’s the difference between Coca Cola and regular coke? There may well be a little something extra in the bottle, but predominantly it comes down to brand. If you’re selling similar products to everyone else then you need to differentiate yours by branding your product descriptions.
To do this you should ensure that you use a familiar tone of voice across all of your descriptions, and highlight the specific things that make your brand stand out – your unique selling points.
Hannah Smith rather neatly defined online brand building over on Moz recently:
“A brand is not a brand unless it leaves a lasting impression, and of course, it needs to be a favourable impression. Essentially companies or organisations need to build brands that mean something to people.”
3. Use keywords wisely
All of your product descriptions should contain key-words. That’s not to say that you should cram them chock full of them – 2-3 times per description is generally enough, and you certainly shouldn’t compromise readability for them. But they must be there, or the search engines won’t know that your products are relevant to their users’ queries.
By using tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, you should be able to identify some keywords that are relevant to your products and your brand, and which generate a significant number of searches. The best keywords are also those which have little competition, but if you’re in a saturated industry this may be difficult. However by drilling down to specific ‘long tail’ key phrases, you may still be able to find that sweet spot of low competition with a significant number of searches.
4. Be concise
People want to read about your product and what it can do for them, but they don’t want or need to hear everything about it. Particularly as more and more people are shopping on their mobile devices (a predicted 33 million in the UK in 2016 Q2 according to Statista), you should keep product descriptions relatively short.
There’s no hard and fast rule about how long they should be, and this can vary depending on the type of product you’re describing, but generally you should keep to under 250 words unless your product is highly technical.
5. Talk about benefits
Too many companies get carried away with telling their customers about their products, when what they should be talking to them about is how they are going to benefit them. By focusing on benefits rather than features, you help the prospective customer to imagine owning the product and the positive impacts that it will have on their lives.
Kissmetrics helpfully suggested recently, “Before you start writing, list all of your features and specs, and then translate them into benefits. A feature is a fact about your product, while a benefit is an explanation of what that feature does for your reader. A benefit can be phrased as a positive (e.g., improves productivity) or as a problem that’s avoided or reduced (e.g., decreases stress).”
6. Keep it simple
Your aim with your product descriptions should be to communicate elegantly and effortlessly the nature and benefits of your products, and for this, simplicity is key. That’s not to say that you should talk down to your audience, but you should at all times try to use plain language that can be easily understood, and avoid using jargon unless it’s absolutely necessary.
The exception to this rule is when selling to expert consumers with specialist knowledge in your particular field.
7. Appeal to your customer’s senses
Marketers have long relied on the powers of sensory imagination to ignite their target demographic’s interest, and this is no different in the digital age. In fact, because online consumers can’t physically touch or hold your product, it’s even more important that you tell them how it feels, smells and tastes. Within reason obviously – no one needs to know what a car stereo tastes like.
8. Keep it web-friendly
When people are looking at your products, it’s likely that they’re doing so either side of visiting other websites, which may or may not belong to your competitors. They will very quickly flick from one website to the next, and if your product descriptions are difficult to read then it may be sayonara sooner rather than later. To keep your descriptions web-friendly you should:
- Use short sentences and paragraphs
- Break up with sub-headers
- Employ bullet points where appropriate
- Include attractive images
9. Avoid superlatives and vagueness
As mentioned earlier, you should be focusing on the benefits that your products bring, not trying to convince your customers that they’re the ‘best’, ‘fastest’, ‘toughest’ or any other kind of ‘-est’. At all times you should offer them something concrete, something specific to your product, rather than giving them vague promises that you may not live up to.
10. Be consistent
Finally, if something’s worth doing well, it’s worth repeating over and over again. While each of your product descriptions should be unique, they should also follow the same basic pattern and style. It’s a good idea to nail this structure down at the start and stick to it, taking into consideration things like:
- Tone of voice
- Alignment and position of images
Hopefully, these guidelines will help you to create a strategy for your product descriptions that will boost your conversion rates and enable you to build a strong e-commerce brand. If you require any further advice or are looking for a team of professional copywriters to create your descriptions for you, do get in touch with Big Star Copywriting today.