Product descriptions are a key part of running a successful eCommerce business and a good description is your chance to overcome any misgivings your customers may have about spending money.
The heart of how you do this is by convincing the reader that your product offers real value to them in a way that resonates.
Read on and learn how to write effective product descriptions that both give the reader the confidence to make their purchase and rank well on search engine results pages.
- Tips for Writing Your Own Product Descriptions
- What to Avoid
- Hiring Professional Writing Talent
Tips for Writing Your Own Product Descriptions
If you intend to tackle product description writing on your own, there's a bit more you'll need to know.
Anyone can start writing good product descriptions with practice, and these tips will help you.
1. Reflect Your Brand Voice
Some brands and products necessitate a serious, informational tone. Others have built their brands by incorporating wry, witty, or wacky humor. In some cases, it's subtle such as in this Dollar Shave Club travel bag product description.
They kindly inform the reader in bullet format that it's sized for their other products and built of quality paracord construction while warning that it still cannot hold their emotional baggage.
This sort of humor can go over well so long as it's a consistent element throughout descriptions and suitable for the product.
In fact, Palace Skateboard has experienced great success by applying self-referential, absurdist humor with unwavering consistency.
While it's unlikely that anyone else can replicate this unique form of success, it does emphasize the value of a recognizable brand voice. Any brand can develop a suitable voice by developing buyer personas that will help you understand your target audience.
2. Cater to Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are a vital component of any effective marketing program. Marketing any product to everyone is a hopeless dilution of resources, for the simple reason that only some people will want to buy any given product. This is where a business can use data, market trends, customer profiles, and similar information to understand their ideal customer.
Understanding your target demographic is a powerful resource. It has a variety of benefits, such as:
Empowering product description writers to understand your customers and write content that:
Stimulates their desires
Dispels their doubts
Sells them on your product
Informing your brand voice
Cultivate a tone that appeals to relevant demographics
Use suitable types of humor and relatable references, if any
You can read more about implementing buyer personas to appreciate their value in product description writing and marketing as a whole.
3. Provide Value to the Customer
One advantage of a buyer persona is that it helps you understand how to provide value to a customer. A list of technical features and raw information does not necessarily offer value in and of itself, because a customer wants to buy a product based on what it can do for them.
For instance, someone who wants to use social media and play Solitaire sees no benefit in a supercomputer.
The following exercise will help you focus on the value of your product or service.
Applying the Feature/Benefit Dichotomy to Your Product
You can understand the difference easily by applying the feature/benefit dichotomy to your products.
For example, stating that a dishwasher applies high heat and water pressure (or worse, providing numbers with no context) doesn't tell the reader anything. These are features, and they resonate with the reader much better when you pair them with their benefit. In this case, the benefit might be that buying this dishwasher will liberate them from having to remove food residue and stains by hand.
A dishwasher applies high heat and water pressure.
Buying this dishwasher will save you from having to remove food residue and stains by hand.
This computer has a 4.4 GHz quad-core CPU and the latest Nvidia GPU.
This powerful computer enables you to play the most demanding new titles such as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Use Lifestyle Writing
Lifestyle writing is another way to offer value in a product description. Instead of talking about technical benefits, a lifestyle brand aims to embody the values and goals of the target audience.
A pool-building company might advertise one of their pool designs by writing a description that presents the idea of a happy family having fun in the sun.
Buyer personas and understanding target demographics factor in again here. Lifestyle content loses much of its appeal when it's written for the wrong demographic, but is quite powerful when targeted at the correct one.
4. Employ Meaningful, Technically Proficient Writing
Quality writing shouldn't be a casualty of personable, vivid writing. Whether a product description is professional or friendly, it can always adhere to good standards of writing:
Avoid superfluous words
There are some words that add nothing to a text and should be avoided, such as:
The first few words here offer no extra information and are best replaced by a stronger word. For instance, simply replace "very good" with a stronger positive word. Vague acclaim such as 'great value' is at best trite and redundant, as no advertiser will ever proclaim their product is poor value.
Avoid Generic Writing
There are many ways that writing can fall flat. In general, avoid common elements of poor writing such as:
Overly promotional language
Assertions that something is "good"
Unique features and benefits
The "What" of what your product can do for them
Explanation of the specific ways the product will improve their lives
While the goal of a product description is to sell something, making optimistic claims that aren't well supported won't get the job done. This is where a description should avoid empty language and focus on offering real value.
Write Readable Content
Good content uses sentences that are short, concise, and readable, while bullet points are highly informative and rich with product details.
In general, a sentence should never be more than 20 words long. Bullet lists, pictures, headings, and line breaks also go a long way to improving readability.
5. Know SEO Basics
While SEO is complex and nuanced, it's correct to say that the basics do a disproportionate share of the work. In terms of writing, there are a few rules of thumb that will put you comfortably ahead of businesses with no SEO. These include:
Identify promising keywords: high search frequency and low competition are ideal
Use keywords naturally in the body text as well as the metadata and title
Avoid sentences over 20 words
Don't use the passive voice
Use headings and subheadings in order
This is only a fraction of everything that goes into SEO, but it's still a worthwhile start. Read this in-depth SEO copywriting guide if you want to learn the intricacies.
6. Include a Call to Action
Writing an excellent product description with no conclusion is anticlimactic and doesn't give your reader direction. A powerful, concise call to action that encourages the reader to buy the product is always a good touch. It can be a quick recap of a sentence that reminds them of the benefits the product has to offer them.
Alternatively, it can be as subtle as placing the "add to cart" button strategically beneath the description. A convincing product description that flows naturally into the button to buy it can exert a potent psychological effect.
Check out these 14 product page design examples, looking at the layouts of some fantastic brands and businesses to keep you inspired.
What to Avoid
When it comes to product descriptions, there are many pitfalls that businesses and writers can stumble into. While the first issue is poor writing, the others are rooted in uninspired solutions with the aim of avoiding work.
Fill-In-The-Blanks Product Description Templates
In the early days of the Internet, many websites effectively used a template for product descriptions, and some still do. You can tell that a template is being used when you see that all the products a website offers effectively follow the same pattern.
There are several problems with using this paint-by-numbers approach to writing descriptions, and the main is quality. A product description template will never understand and accommodate the uniqueness of a product and its potential customers.
Detailed buyer personas, an effective brand voice, and real value all boil down to tailoring a product description as much as possible. Generic, template-based product descriptions are the complete antithesis of this.
Product Description Generators
While machine learning has driven impressive medical breakthroughs and mastered the game of chess, it still cannot write a product description.
There are product description generators on the Internet, but these are only simple, algorithmic templates. If you use one, the result will be impersonal content that does little more than list features and fill space on your product pages.
While outsourcing your work can be a great idea, you should rely on expert copywriters with experience in product writing.
Hiring Professional Writing Talent
If the intricacies of product description writing sound challenging, hiring a copywriter might be a great choice for you.
Write Clear Briefs
Many business owners feel like hiring a writer effectively surrenders control of their website. However, you can guide the work and see the best version of your ideas realized via clear guidelines for the writer.
Include your preferences for tone, your target audience, and some similar notes and the writer should be on track. You can also refine your instructions effectively by providing an example of product copy in the style you prefer.
When working with a writer, you can overcome any problems through communication. Any good copywriter will be receptive to questions, constructive criticism, and suggestions. By communicating, you can outsource your work with impeccable results.
SEMrush Product Descriptions
You can find several options for professional content from the SEMrush Content Marketplace. This includes a product description writing service that you can use to receive creative, SEO-optimized product descriptions in five working days or less.
You need to fill in the brief, but all that's required of you is a link to the subject page. You can add more information to the brief at your discretion if you have any stylistic preferences.
Negotiating payment with an individual writer can be challenging, but at SEMrush we offer a simple, consistent model. You pay for your product description based on how long it is, at either 300, 500, or 700 words. Check out our product description writing rates here.