Make Your Product Descriptions the Lynchpin of Your Online Success

February 9, 2015

What does it matter that your products are the proverbial bee’s knees if your product descriptions aren’t the cat’s pyjamas? Unlike in a bricks and mortar shop where people can hold it, touch it and perhaps even try it out, in the brave new world of ecommerce, people can only go on the pictures you provide and the words that you use to describe your products. So firstly, make sure that your pictures are top-notch and professional. Now about those product descriptions…

Why product descriptions are important

Without well-written accurate product descriptions, you may as well give up on your aspirations of online success. A picture isn’t enough; people want to know more about your product. Specifically, they want to know what’s in it for them. So make sure you tell them.

As well as being important for impressing upon your customers the benefits of what you’re offering, original high-quality product descriptions are also essential from a search engine optimisation perspective. Firstly, they need to be original because otherwise your product pages could be ignored by the search engines. This is because Google and others filter out duplicate content which has been used elsewhere. So simply cutting and pasting the manufacturer’s product descriptions won’t do you much good.

Secondly, they need to be of a high-calibre because the search engines’ algorithms are becoming increasingly smart in detecting content which is ‘thin’ or full of errors.

What does a good product description look like?

The key to ecommerce success then is good product descriptions. No, make that EXCEPTIONAL product descriptions. But what do these look like? What common qualities do they have in common regardless of industry, target demographic or price range? Exceptional product descriptions:

  • Target a specific buyer – In order to write a great product description you need to know who you’re trying to sell your product to. How old are they roughly? What concerns them? If you’re employing a professional web copywriter to craft your product descriptions, make sure that you pass on this information so that they know what style and tone of voice to use.
  • Don’t use superlatives – Have you ever bought a product simply because somebody told you it was ‘the best’ or ‘the most effective’? Back up everything you say with evidence and avoid making promises that will ring hollow in your customers’ ears.
  • Speak of benefits, not features – People want to know what your product will do for them, not what you think they’ll be impressed by. Every feature that you mention should be linked into a specific benefit that people can relate to.
  • Appeal to the senses – Great writing of any kind addresses all of the reader’s senses, and product description writing is no exception. Sensory writing deepens the reader’s experience and should give them a better idea of what it would be like to own your product. Obviously don’t go overboard and tell them what a mobile phone smells like, but when appropriate use words that will help people envisage how a garment feels or what colours and tastes are present in an ingredient.
  • Keep it short – People want to know as much as possible about your product, but they don’t want to spend ages reading about it. Keep them interested by keeping your product descriptions short and sweet.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure that the right person is writing your product descriptions. You wouldn’t get your intern to fix your plumbing, or your receptionist to wire in your fire alarm system, and your web content shouldn’t be any different. The best person to write a product description? You guessed it – a product description copywriter.

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