Jan 9, 2018

How to Write Powerful Product Descriptions That Convert

by Digital Marketing Institute

You may be adept at writing copy through the sales funnel, but have you had a lot of experience writing product descriptions that really reach consumers? In some ways, it’s not that different from writing other forms of copy. But you’ll want to hone in on some specific tips in order to get this copy to convert.

Once you understand the nuance of writing amazing product descriptions, you will be able to be of service to a much broader range of companies.

Thorough Product Research

If you’ve done any copywriting, you’ll probably be at least a little bit familiar with the type of in-depth research you’ll want to take on in order to create effective product descriptions.

As you investigate a product, you’ll want to consider various elements in order to find angles that speak to customers in new ways. Here are some things to consider (note that “product” is interchangeable with “service” at any point here):

  • What benefits that are the most universal with regards to overall market positioning?
  • How does the product compare or stand out compared with others in its class or industry?
  • How reliable, efficient, economical, easy-to-use, exclusive or otherwise special is the product?
  • How is it produced?
  • How does it ship?
  • Where can you purchase the product?
  • Is there an interesting story behind the product or brand that you can learn more about?

Once you understand the product life cycle and the scope with which a person may go about acquiring and using it, you are in a better position to write about it in such a way that it can catch user’s attention.

Understand Your Customer

When doing this type of writing, it’s important that you are able to really get into the customer’s heads and “walk a mile in their shoes” in order to understand how the product actually benefits their lives.

Here are some questions to consider as you’re doing your customer research:

  • Who’s buying it?
  • What is the buyer persona?
  • How is the buyer motivated?
  • What is the buyer’s core need?
  • What does the product do?
  • Can you identify one or more of the buyer’s potential pain points?

One useful tip is to go to sites like Reddit and Quora to investigate exactly what people are talking about with regards to your industry or product. This can help you develop all kinds of content, as well as get a better sense of your actual or target market.

Understand the Difference Between Features and Benefits

The main thing that the seller needs to do is to ensure that they are communicating the benefits of the product clearly to their buyers. You’ll want to be asking plenty of questions about the product as it relates to your marketplace. As you investigate what the product is really about, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of the features and benefits of the product. One suggestion is to create a simple table on each side and make a list with each row devoted to a specific feature and associated benefit.

For instance, the feature of a desk may be the rubber feet on the bottom of the legs, and the benefit is the fact that they prevent floor scratches. Features of a winter jacket would be the fleece that lines it, and the benefit would be that it keeps a person warm down to a certain temperature.

The whole point of accentuating the benefits is the demonstration. Think about the world’s most famous infomercials and how well those products sold. They sold well because the person was giving a visual of the specific benefits of the product, not so much the features. An item could, in reality, be quite useless, but if the demo person selling it comes up with unique ways to demonstrate its benefits, and shows this in such a way that appeals to the specific audience; there you have a sale.

Tell a Story

Every successful copywriter and marketer knows that storytelling is what engages audiences and boosts sales. It’s essential for brand awareness. The product that tells a story almost always brings in more revenue than its counterpart.

Product descriptions, by nature, are supposed to be more utilitarian than some other types of advertorial copy, but they can also take different formats. So, if you have the room to incorporate any kind of human element that tells a story, even if it’s just in a brief way, this can move you towards a sale faster than you might think. The point is to include a human, emotional element as frequently as possible in any type of content for a given product.

Use Action-Oriented Language

As you work through a list of benefits, creating this for yourself and then ensuring that they are communicated properly in the product description, you’ll want to tie them into specific actions, as well as make the copy itself action-oriented in tone.

Here’s an example. Instead of writing something like, “these socks will keep your feet warm,” you could say “enjoy the feeling of slipping into the soothing comfort of these thermal socks after a long day at work.”

It all really boils down to being able to put yourself in the buyer’s frame of mind. This will help to define a specific feeling-oriented need, keeping readers and buyers engaged enough to actually follow through to the buying part. The action-oriented language will center on the need—in this case, if it’s cold, you need warm clothes, and soon.

Your Tone Could Make or Break the Sale

Most of the time, it is useful to consider the customer’s specific emotional state as you figure out how to frame your copy. You need to ensure that the tone suits the product and the buyer persona. This has to do with identifying a “pain point,” or, to put it less bluntly, figuring out the why behind a given user’s purchase, and pointing it out in a way that they notice.

Think about the last time you purchased something online on a whim, not planned, but sporadically, and that you were happy about. What were you thinking? How did it make you feel?

Identifying a person’s pain point and addressing it is really a key moment that can make or break a sale, and this is especially true in the digital world.

Depending on your brand voice and product type, you may want to inject a tone that’s humorous or elicits some other type of emotion that matches the pain point.

The Buy-In Factor

A product description is just a description, meaning that you may or may not be responsible for writing for the next step of the sales funnel. However, depending on what type of content you’re responsible for, you’ll want to consider the next step with regards to how you are presenting the buy-in offer.

This will be determined by the company, but in a general sense, if you are creating these types of things yourself, you’ll want to consider specific selling points such as special offers. You may also want to consider touching in on “buyer’s remorse.” In other words, what will happen if they don’t buy the product?

Optimize for SEO

Optimizing your product descriptions for SEO is extremely important in the world of digital marketing. You’ll want to ensure that you use the key phrase in your headlines, that you optimize any accompanying images, and ensure the adequate number of keywords throughout. You may want to optimize your product description copy for a particular platform like Amazon, or you may want to develop a basic draft that can be used in a variety of contexts.

All this being said, you want to focus on readability, quality and engagement over SEO compatibility first and foremost, no matter what kind of copy you’re writing. Focusing too much on that can make your content choppy and boring, and it simply won’t be engaging to your readers.

Last but Not Least: Keep it Simple

Writing copy that converts is simpler, and more complicated, than you may think. While there’s a lot of merit in doing your research, and exploring every angle of a product, there’s also a lot of merit in simply stepping back and creating a simple story that a customer will be able to relate to. And this approach is especially valid in this day of information overload. Keep things on a human level first and foremost, incorporate a story, and focus on engagement over SEO. When you do this in line with a good strategy, you’ll likely find it easy to find and converts customers.

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