Updated: Sep 25
Product descriptions are a vital part of any online shopping experience.
Product descriptions are a summary of the features and benefits of a product or service that help to build brand trust. The point of a product description is to dispel any objections to purchase and answer any questions your buyer may have. Think of a product description as your 24/7 salesperson that never takes a break.
Writing a product description for your business doesn’t need to be stressful. You just have to develop a formula that works for you and your potential buyers.
Here is how to write good product copy that attracts, entices, and sells.
Five easy steps to writing a product description:
The paramount starting point for any business is thinking about your target buyer.
Your ideal audience isn’t necessarily the person who’ll spend money with you. Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point goes into brilliant detail about this.
First, think about how your business specifically fills a need or solves a problem for a potential buyer. Secondly, what type of person would benefit most from your product or service? Read your competitors’ reviews. What types of folks are buying from them? This is your target audience.
Write as though you’re addressing one person in your product descriptions. You can’t be all things to all people.
Writing for a specific platform: Amazon, Etsy, etc
If you’ll be selling your items on an online marketplace like Amazon or Etsy, you’ll be surprised to know that they provide their own writing style guides to follow.
Check to see if any of these platforms have restrictions on products that are allowed to be sold or language usage.
A general rule of thumb for platforms like Amazon and Etsy is that your title is your key to success in terms of being found by potential buyers. This is where you want to put in your research time.
Longer descriptions of upwards of 500 words tend to do well on Amazon and those under 85 words work best for Etsy, eBay, etc. Pay attention to the general word count for your chosen platform and roll with that.
Tone of voice research - review mining
Like with anything having to do with your brand, your product descriptions need to connect with your target audience.
Open up a blank spreadsheet and start digging through reviews of similar products or services in your geographical area. Note any repetitive thoughts, insights, or critiques from their buyers. Place all comments with related subjects into separate labeled columns. For example, if you’re starting a shoe brand and there are a lot of comments on fit, then group all the interesting comments on fit into one column.
This research technique is called review mining and is used most effectively by the highly regarded copywriter Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers.
You’ll start noticing a pattern in buyers’ speech. Take the flow, vibe, and tone of what reviewers are saying and sprinkle them throughout your product descriptions.
Note that you should never use someone else’s entire statement without prior permission but a commonly used expression or pain point is your sweet spot for reuse in your descriptions.
Create a template
It’s important to be consistent with your product descriptions. Develop a basic writing formula in the form of a template for this purpose.
A general product description should contain these elements:
A short visualization summary of two to three sentences. Paint a picture for your audience. Sell that sizzle.
Four bullet points going over the main benefits, not features, of your product.
The material composition of the product. This is a safeguard for you.
Sizing or dimensions of your product.
Readability is just as important as content. Repeat after me: bullet points are my best friends.
Always write your descriptions in the second person using you, yours, etc. Never start your product descriptions with we or our. Let your audience imagine themselves using your product. They want to feel seen and heard in your words. Visualization in product descriptions is a powerful seller.
When you have a product description written up, check how it reads on your phone as that is how most people are going to be reading it.
If you’re selling your products on your own website, you need to become friends with SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO in connection with Google is super important. You aim to eventually have your product make the first three entries on Google’s first page for a particular keyword (topic). That’s the work of SEO for you.
SEO ranking on Google takes time and is a grooming process. But the great thing about product descriptions is that they’ll give you an opportunity to use several SEO keywords on a webpage, giving you different roads for people to find you.
Australian copywriter Kate Toon has some great free resources on SEO. Also, there is a plethora of SEO keyword research tools out there where you can conduct a deep dive with your SEO keyword searches like Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, and Moz.
One super easy and free way to conduct SEO keyword research is to jot down a few three-word statements that’ll make your website appear when someone searches for those words. It’s easier to rank with longer terms than commonly used terms which may get you lost in the mix. For example, take upcycled denim jacket. Then plug in some of the terms you’ve jotted down and see what populates in your Google search bar. What populates in your search bar and what appears at the bottom of the first Google page of your search are what people are looking for. Take that info and run with it.
By the way, Google doesn’t like repeat product descriptions. You have to change at least 70% of each description for Google to like you.