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How To Write The Best Product Descriptions

16 March 2017 11:32

What are product descriptions and why do they help sales?

It might seem odd to be asking the question: "What are product descriptions?". After all the answer is obvious, isn't it? They’re words that describe the products that you're selling, but when it comes to eCommerce websites this description could be the difference between a sale and someone leaving your site.

Sadly product descriptions are not their first priority for many e-commerce stores. However, when a prospective customer lands on your page it’s your product description, along with your image, that makes the initial impression. And as for search engines, which determine the organic ranking of your product page, the product description is where the majority of your product information shall be gleaned from.

Within this blog, we'll explore:

  1. What makes a good product description for selling your product to a customer.
  2. What makes a good product description for helping your search engine rankings.

Before you publish any product description, you should write a first, second and a final draft to make sure that you have the perfect description with no mistakes. Even before you start your first draft, you need to know how to write the best product descriptions.

What makes a good product description for selling your product to a customer?

You need to write a product description that sell. To do that, you'll need to take into account the following points.

  • Buyer Psychology

Before you even think about writing your product description, you need to know about your buyers. Think about your target market and the people who you're writing the description for. Many successful eCommerce sellers create a buyer persona to help them to write their product descriptions. A buyer persona is an imaginary customer that represents the entire target audience. By creating a buyer persona, it makes it easier to think about the types of copy that they'd be most accepting of. Thinking about the other websites that they'd visit can help you get a good idea about the tone of voice and copy styles that they're used to.

  • Benefits and specifications

List the benefits of your product. Show the reasons why your customers would benefit from your product. How can it make their lives easier, richer or more positive? If you can express this in your product descriptions it can help to persuade customers to buy from you. 

It is important to list the specifications of your products to show more detailed information about them for your customers. You should keep your product descriptions simple so it might be a good idea to list them in a separate tab or to keep the list of specifications short and sweet.

  • Your brand voice

Your brand voice is important. It can help to differentiate you from your competitors and gives your customers a strong impression of your brand personality and the culture of your business. Do you want to come across as a boring corporation or as an engaging source of information? An example of how brand voice can affect sales would be if you are selling high quality, expensive goods, like jewellery, and use a lot of slang and a casual tone of voice in the copy of your product descriptions, you wouldn't get many sales.

  • Language (spell check, emotive, cliches etc, power words)

Think about the language that you use in your product descriptions, as mentioned above, the tone of voice in your copy is important but the spelling, grammar and the words that you use are important too. Spelling and grammar are especially important, even for a more casual product description, it is vital that you don't have any mistakes. Having mistakes in your copy will give your customers the idea that you're not the best place to buy from. You can use a browser extension like Grammarly that helps to highlight and correct spelling and grammar.

Power words like "You", "New", "Free" and "Guaranteed" have been proven to be 100x more effective than other 'normal' words for selling from a report on Shopify

Clichés are overused and no longer don't hold a positive impact anymore. They often make their customers roll their eyes at your products. Using Jargon that customers can't understand creates friction and builds a wall between you and your customers. It may seem like you're being smart but it only causes confusion. Think about your buyer persona and ask yourself what language they'd understand. Sometimes Jargon can have a positive impact on sales if you're targeting sophisticated buyers, adding credibility and helping you build trust.

2. What makes a good product description for helping your search engine rankings?

Your product descriptions also help you to rank on search engines and attract more website traffic naturally.

  • Avoiding duplicate content

Duplicate content is not good. In fact, it could potentially ruin your business. It can be tempting to take the product descriptions directly from your supplier's website as it's easy and already includes all of the content that you need, but If you include duplicate copy in your product descriptions, your website listing on search engines will be much lower than if you had original copy. This makes it more difficult for potential customers to find your website and you'll lose sales to your competitors that rank higher.

  • People only read 16% (i.e. make scannable format)

Creating a scannable format for your product descriptions is very important. There is a lot of research on how people use websites, this article from Nielsen Norman Group shows that users don't really even read the information on websites. 79% of their test users always scanned any new page they came across and only 16% of people read word by word. This may sound discouraging but it also shows how you can use it to your advantage. Formatting your content in a scannable format by using highlighted keywords, meaningful sub-headings, bulleted lists and simple paragraphs

  • Keywords

"Keywords are words and phrases that internet users type into a search engine, such as Google, to find what websites that match what they're looking for" - Yola Blog. These keywords should show up naturally in your product descriptions. You can identify keywords before writing your description so that you can plan ahead to include all relative keywords in a way that doesn't seem forced. You can use some of your product descriptions in your meta description so including keywords in there will help you to gain more traffic naturally from search engines. 

  • What length should your product description be for Google?

Well, Google's maximum product description length is 5000 characters however, no product description for customers will be this length. Google Shopping therefore recommend that between 500-1000 characters is optimal for product listings. 

Examples of product descriptions we love

Here are some examples of product descriptions that demonstrate some of the best practices we've described. 

Charnwood Stoves - Bradley Stoves Sussex

The Charnwood range from Bradley Stoves Sussex have some great product descriptions. It's easy to see that they're written in a way that targets their buyer persona, using language that they would be able to relate to and keeping the spelling and grammar perfect. It is laid out in a scannable format and is easy to read. There are paragraphs and the specifications are listed and are kept short and sweet.

The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild - Game

Most of the product descriptions on Game are written really well. They use a lot of emotional language in the copy and stay away from complicated Jargon and Clichés that would turn their customers away. The copy is laid out in a structured format and the technical information is in a separate tab, keeping the description short enough so that people actually read it.

bobble infuse, poppy - 590ml - bobble

The bobble infuse product description shows how using a buyer persona can really work. They researched their target audience and use language that they can relate to. The copy includes a lot of slang and is written is a casual voice. They also take advantage of power words like "NEW" in all caps to add importance. 

Can we help?

We support brands online to ensure they are getting the most value out of their ecommerce presence. Should you wish to know more about creating the best product descriptions, do not hesitate to get in touch.