Selling a product starts with knowing how to describe it in a way that will pique the interest of consumers. As part of your wider product content optimization efforts, the best product descriptions are written with your target customers and their needs in mind.
With more people shopping online — and no in-person sales manager to make recommendations — written descriptions on product pages need to be cleverly crafted. By properly understanding your audience, writing quality copy, using power words, and optimizing for product SEO, you’ll be in great shape to convert online shoppers and boost ecommerce sales.
1. Write for your target audiences
Know the customer
The product description is a crucial client acquisition point. It explains what the product is, what it does, how it can be helpful, and why it’s worth the customer’s money. The goal is to communicate your product’s features and benefits and which problems it might solve, allowing your customer to make an informed decision. But to know how you should formulate the description, you need to narrow down who would be most likely purchase your product.
The first step is to define your audience by doing customer research and utilizing data on age, gender, interests, profession, salary, location, and more. In this way, you can determine your key customer persona — a semi-fictional profile that represents your audience’s key traits.
Once you’ve figured out who you're writing for, it’ll be much easier to tap into their interests and buying mindset.
Write for humans, not Google
Writing for humans means that you want to create unique, creative, and engaging texts with style — nothing less than you’d expect from a fascinating magazine or book. Boring, repetitive, keyword-stuffed content won’t make the customer read to the end of the description. You’ll likely lose their interest. That’s why it’s crucial to craft persuasive and strong copy. Keywords won’t keep them on the page; the quality of your writing style will.
While you want to captivate their attention, avoid exaggerating what your product can do or declaring it as the world’s best, which could tamper with your credibility and deter shoppers.
Include shoppers in your brand community
Humans yearn for inclusion, whether in a club, movement, or group, and the same applies to brands. Feeling connected to a brand helps foster customer loyalty and will have them coming back — and there’s less need to rely on online searches when you’ve got returning shoppers. Aim always to have a consistent tone and style that reflects your company’s brand in the description, and find repeat words that people come to associate you with (did you ever wonder why Lady Gaga consistently calls her fans Little Monsters?).
You can also draw attention to your values (like concerning the environment or ethical manufacturing) and how they align with those of your customers. According to a report, a consistent presentation of a brand can increase revenue by 33%.
Be a part of their world
Niche target audiences respond well to descriptions full of real-world lingo that relate to their passion — it shows clients that you understand their world.
Look at this product description example from Harley Davidson, which features language that the average person wouldn't likely understand. The brand has tailored its descriptions specifically for its customers.
Humans love to skim through texts, which is why using bullet points can be advantageous when describing your product’s features and benefits. It helps the eye quickly scan and absorb more information.
2. Let the benefits lead the way
Once you know your target audience, set your sights on explaining what the product will do for them, how it might solve some of their problems or be useful to their personal needs. An effective way of doing this is by concentrating on the benefits of your products present. Merely listing off characteristics won’t highlight just how it will serve them. By actively highlighting how the product can be used within the headline, subheadline, and text body, you can tell a story about how it’s precisely what they are looking for.
For example, take the product description for these Nike shoes as seen below. The brand skilfully talks about its features while connecting a benefit to each one (plus, notice they’re in bullet points!).
If your product has numerous features, you might choose to focus on the top three and strongly emphasize the benefits they offer.
When working with writers, make sure they fully understand the ins and outs of your product and how it’s used in real life. Ideally, they should also be experts in the particular field you’re dealing in (outdoor sports, high fashion, cars, pharmaceuticals, etc.). A superficial understanding will translate as such in the description and will leave the reader still questioning its value.
3. Be serious about product SEO: keywords matter
You may have the most beautiful product page, but it won’t matter if no one can find your product. Being discovered by shoppers can be difficult in an often oversaturated market. Therefore, it’s imperative to understand that many consumers begin looking for a product by searching on Google, Amazon, or any other shopping portal — a report found that 39% of all global ecommerce traffic begins this way.
The first step is to perform keyword research and select the product keywords that your target audiences are actively typing in when searching. There are many tools for this task; SEMRush and Moz are two good paid solutions; free options include Google Keyword Planner, Competitor Source Code, Google Ads Display Planner, and WordStream.
Next, focus on finding and using the right long-tail keywords, which have proven to increase conversion. It effectively narrows down the group of people specifically looking for a product with your benefits or features. These shoppers are more likely to purchase your product since they’ve found exactly what they are looking for.
Long-tail keywords have a whole methodology of their own. But to keep it simple: combine the product’s main keyword, then add the main — or perhaps most sought-after — benefit. For example, instead of saying “cookbook,” you could say “cookbook for plant-based diets.” Or, you can also add a keyword that reflects a feature, such as an ingredient or a technical specification; instead of “TV,” you’d say “4K 3D TV,” or “face cream” would be “face cream with retinol.”
Once you’ve chosen the product keywords, place them strategically throughout the page: in the headline, the subheadline, the image alt-text, and sparingly in the body. You really do want to avoid keyword stuffing. While keywords are essential, they serve to get your client to the page, but when they arrive, creativity, style, and content quality will keep them there, as was explained above.
Each product’s description needs to be unique - copy-pasting or using slightly tweaked versions of a text on numerous product pages are no-go’s. Duplicate copy pits your pages against each other when being crawled by Google’s search algorithms and decreases all your pages’ rankings with similar content.
If you make a habit of duplicating content, you might even be penalized and suffer some traffic losses. In general, ecommerce-specific SEO should be a focal point in your strategy.
4. Pay attention to user awareness
This point ties into knowing your target audiences and where your product stands on their awareness spectrum. When it’s on the low side of the awareness gamut, few customers have heard of your product type and don’t know why they’d need it. In this case, you need to go the extra mile to communicate your product’s value by writing a slightly longer description.
You may feel tempted to go to great lengths of listing ingredients and specs in the main description. However, many companies use tabs on the product page for this, which is excellent for shoppers who like to get the entire product overview.
On the other hand, if your product lands on the scale’s high awareness side, the client already knows about your product type and its potential benefits. You’ve got to get right to the point and inform them why your product is the right solution to their problem. Advantages over other brands that make your product distinct also help to convince the shopper.
In either case, including approval seals or ratings from reputable reviewers, like TrustPilot, can also increase your product’s credibility. According to a survey, 93% of consumers spend more than a minute reading reviews.
5. Put some sizzle in your word choice: emotion equals action
The wording of a product description should evoke a feeling in the reader to the point where they’re pushed to act. “Power words” can do just this – they are sensory words that induce fear, encourage, soothe, anger, or entice, thus keeping the reader’s interest piqued. Use them in the product headline, sub-headline, and description.
Encouraging words: life-changing, miraculous, badass, legend, and phenomenal Safety words: scientifically proven, money-back, results, refund, proven, and risk-free Seductive words: Allure, secret, delight, and crave Greed words: cheap, money-saving, marked down, jackpot, and “while they last”
Let’s take this product description from Nike, for example:
“The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% clears your path to record-breaking speed with a lighter design and faster feel than before. With more cushioning underfoot and reduced weight up top, the result is unprecedented energy return and comfort.”
These words can be categorized as the following: Record-breaking: encouragement and safety Than before: greed and encouragement Unprecedented: greed and seduction
A good product description is a mix of data and human understanding
While data and keywords are the building blocks of a good product description, what counts is an understanding of real-life needs that buyers might have, and the solutions that your products can offer to meet them. By tailoring the writing for your audiences and focusing on quality, you’ll manage to keep readers interested when they do find you and be memorable in the long run.
Product descriptions are one part of product experience management, or PXM. For a deeper dive into the origins and foundations of PXM, as well as more information about the major players, download our ebook Product Experience Management for Dummies.