Nascent eCommerce companies (and even veterans) can find themselves overlooking the importance of product descriptions. They may assume that the prospective customer already knows what they’re looking for when they click on the product page. After all, they’re coming to the website with the intent to buy.
Assigning time to write detailed and creative product descriptions is not a wasted effort. Anything from a lack of detail to spelling and grammar mistakes can not only cost you a sale but undermine your brand. The time and effort you put into writing product descriptions matters to consumers. Poor spelling and grammar can negatively influence users’ perception of your brand, and make them less likely to trust you. Moreover, spelling errors in product descriptions can also make it less likely for product pages to appear in search engine results.
How to write effective product descriptions
Product content writing is a form of copywriting that requires a deep understanding of what drives consumer behaviour – plus knowledge of UX design and keyword research is advantegous. If you want to write product descriptions that sell, you need to put in the time, consideration and research. There are even a few technical considerations that you need to keep in mind.
Here are 5 guiding principles of product content writing that should be incorporated into every one of your product pages.
1- Write with the customer in mind
When writing product descriptions, it’s all too easy to get lost in explaining what is good about your product (and your brand). But rather than thinking in terms of self-promotion, try to approach the description from the customer’s point of view.
Product descriptions that sell address the needs, priorities and pain points of the target consumer and ensure that the description of the product is attuned to these. Take some time to reacquaint yourself with your target audience. Think about what matters to your customers and how your product description can influence their behaviour on the page.
2- Be descriptive in your vocabulary
While your product descriptions should be concise, you shouldn’t underestimate the persuasive power of a richly descriptive vocabulary.
The primary advantage that brick and mortar retailers have over eCommerce stores is that the former allows shoppers to physically interact with the products before purchasing. Customers cannot touch, taste or smell your goods online. So you have to use descriptive vocabulary to fill in the gaps and paint a thorough picture for them.
3- Include a balance of features and benefits
It’s easy to get bogged down in product features when you’re writing product descriptions based on a list of specifications. But while features are important, they should be contextualised in terms of the benefits they offer the prospective buyer.
So, a training shoe that “includes insoles made from recycled materials” is good. But “plush recycled fabric insoles for sustainable comfort” is better, for example.
4- Include all necessary product information
Remember, as much as 20% of eCommerce sales are lost due to inaccurate, incomplete or missing product information. Be as comprehensive as possible, ensuring that shoppers have easy access to all the information they need to make an informed purchase.
5- Incorporate social proof
Even expertly composed product content writing is less persuasive to consumers than what other customers think about the products. Therefore, where possible, your product pages should also include some form of social proof, like review snippets or star ratings from previous customer reviews. User generated content (UGC) such as images and videos customers have posted of the product in action can also help win other customers over.
SEO & product descriptions
It goes without saying that you need to think about SEO for product descriptions. Increasing the visibility of your products in search engine results pages (SERPs) can help you gain an edge over your competitors. Below are some ways in which you can ensure that you incorporate strong SEO ranking factors within your product descriptions.
The importance of keyword research when writing product descriptions
You’ll need to take the time to ascertain what keywords shoppers use to find the products you offer. Some keywords are easier to rank highly for on SERPs than others. You’ll need to consider the following when choosing keywords:
Ease of ranking: If major retailers like Amazon or Tesco rank for certain keywords it can be difficult and expensive to compete with them.
Volume: Higher volume keywords reach more shoppers but, again, they are difficult and expensive to competitively rank for. You may have better luck choosing more niche keywords which also indicate a higher intent to buy.
Length: Don’t waste time and effort on short and vague keywords. Instead, focus on longer and more specific keywords (long-tail keywords) that indicate that someone is serious about making a purchase. ‘Moisturiser’, for instance, would be a nightmare to rank for, while ‘organic everyday moisturiser’ is much more likely to drive clicks.
Intent: Transactional keywords can be used to target prospective buyers who want to make a purchase soon rather than researching what’s out there. ‘Best’, ‘buy’, ‘voucher’ and ‘near me’ are all good examples of transactional keywords.
It’s important not to ‘stuff’ keywords into your product writing by overusing them. Keywords can also have a positive impact on rankings when used in parts of your product page that aren’t the main copy. For example:
Alt text of images
Choose an eCommerce platform that uses schema markup
Schema markup (also known as structured data) is a code that helps search engine crawlers to better understand the content on the page. This can make all the difference in making your product descriptions more visible to people searching via search engines and is included in Square Online.
Product description examples
Different types of product descriptions lend themselves well to different products, brands and buyer personas. In the tech realm, for instance, buyers will want to know as much as possible about the spec and capabilities of a product and are less likely to be swayed by descriptive language. Hygiene and household products, however, like bubble bath, wine or aftershave might benefit more from a product description that uses narrative conventions and richly descriptive wording. Below are some product description writing examples.
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Benefits-first product description writing starts by establishing an understanding of the prospective customer’s problem and establishes how the product can help them overcome it. This may later incorporate a robust description of features to qualify the customer benefits. This approach works best for industries like cosmetics, pet foods or nutritional supplements.
Some creative product descriptions will employ narrative conventions to entice the reader and persuade them that a product will improve or elevate their lifestyle. This approach works well for products like perfumes, wines and luxury items.
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