Guide to Writing Product Descriptions

Whether you’re selling one product on Amazon or have thousands of items in your ecommerce boutique, it’s essential that you have strong product descriptions to describe your products. If you know you’re not a great writer or simply don’t have the time to do it yourself, you can always hire a freelance copywriter to do the work for you. But if you’re willing to take a crack at it yourself, there are some essential things you’ll need to know. Here are 10 things to keep in mind when writing product descriptions.

Know Your Audience

Before you attempt to write any description, make sure you have a clear and concise understanding of who your customer is. The best product descriptions are the ones that are tailor-made to appeal to your particular customer and target audience. Think about the lifestyle of your ideal customer and craft your descriptions in a way that speaks directly to them.

For example, if you’re writing a description for an evening gown, you might use words such as “elegant and sophisticated.” If you’re writing a description for an urban-inspired tee shirt, you might use a slang phrase like “hella dope.”

List Features and Benefits

A product description should do more than list the specific features of the item. It should also include the benefits of those features. Your photos and images alone will likely show the features. Use your written description to detail what the benefits of those features are.

For example, if you’re writing a description for a school backpack, the features may include a padded inside pocket, front organizer pocket, and a side pocket. Rather than just listing those features, let the customer know what the benefit of each is:

Feature: padded interior pocket…Benefit: to protect your 13” MacBook Pro

Feature: side mesh pocket…Benefit: to hold a water bottle to keep you hydrated on the go

Feature: front organizer pocket…Benefit: to keep your cell phone, keys, and earbuds within easy reach

Create a Tone

When writing product descriptions, it’s import to set a tone of voice and inject a little personality. Once you have a solid understanding of your customer persona and target audience, you can use the language they would use and speak to them in a way that sounds like you’re talking friend to friend.

Think of your descriptions as a silent salesperson. If you had a brick and mortar store, you would hire employees that complement the tone and vibe of your store. Their goal is to increase sales. Likewise, your online descriptions should do the same. Use the words and lingo that your customers use and keep in mind the buyer persona. You want your customers to think your product copy is speaking directly to them, enticing them to buy your product. 

Use Sensory Words

Customers shopping online don’t have the option to touch, feel, and smell the product, so you need to do it for them. Use sensory words in your descriptions to entice the customer and help them understand what they can expect when the product arrives at their door.

If you’re writing copy for an Italian leather handbag, words like “sumptuous” or “buttery soft” will give them an idea of just how luxurious the material is. If you’re writing a description for a silicone iPhone case, let your customers know it has a “rubbery” feel.

Tell a Story

No one wants to read through a boring product description. Try to think of each description as a mini story, and tell that story through the use of sensory words and direct, yet captivating, language. An easy way to inject storytelling into a good product description is to make mention of how, where, and when you can use the product.

Avoid Throwaway Phrases

Anyone can say their product is the best, the most excellent, or the greatest. Unless you have scientific proof (or a thousand customer reviews to back up your claim) these are words you should always avoid. Throwaway phrases and unsubstantiated claims won’t help to sell the product. In reality, words like these often turn customers off because they simply do not believe them. And if you do make claims like these and your customers don’t agree when they receive the product, be prepared for some negative reviews or product returns.

Optimize for SEO

You don’t have to be an SEO expert to infuse your product descriptions with some SEO. Have a keyword or two in mind that you want to target. Sprinkle that keyword in throughout your description in a natural way that doesn’t sound forced. But most importantly, make sure your description describes what the product clearly. Google likes product pages that make it easy to identify what the product is, so if you want to be ranked higher in Google search engine results—and who doesn’t?—keep that in mind.  

Keep It Short and Sweet

People are busy. No one is going to take the time to read the 2,000 word description you spent two hours creating. Keep your descriptions short and sweet. In most cases, the perfect length is somewhere between 100 and 200 words.

If you’re writing a description for a tech gadget or a highly specialized piece of fitness equipment, you may need to craft a longer description just to include all of the product details. But if you’re writing a description for an article of clothing or a piece of furniture, 150 words should more than do the trick.

Create a Scannable Format

Again, people are busy. And with so many people shopping on their mobile devices, it’s a good idea to create a scannable format. In addition to your description, add a few bullet points. Let your images and photos do most of the talking and use your bullet points to detail a few of the key product features and benefits.

Be Grammatically Correct

Don’t post or upload a product description to your online store until you’ve done a good old-fashioned spell check and proofread. If you want your customers, your competitors, and the industry at large to take you seriously, make sure your descriptions are grammatically correct.

Conclusion

Writing a great product description takes some practice. But if you know your audience, know how to speak their language, and can tell a story through the use of sensory words, you can pull it off. Keep it short and sweet, add in some bullet points so it can easily be scanned, and make sure your grammar is on point. With these tips and tricks in mind, you should be well on your way to writing product descriptions for your online store. 

 

Writing product descriptions isn’t for everyone. If you’d prefer to have an expert do it for you, check out our ecommerce copywriting service.

 

Video Summary

Andrew @ EcomLoop
EcomLoop founder. I've worked in ecommerce since 2005, beginning with my own ebay store. I've run multiple independent ecommerce businesses on Magento, Joomla, and more recently, Shopify and WooCommerce. I believe marketplaces should be looked at as a sales channel and that all independent businesses should strive to build a direct connection with their audience for long-term success.

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