How To Write a Product Description
A lot of responsibility is placed on the little shoulders of product descriptions. If you do any amount of online shopping, a product description is that part of the digital scenery that you know is there but you may take for granted until it isn’t available. As a consumer, you rely on descriptions of products to help you decide whether to buy. But as an online business, you rely on product descriptions to convert visitors to your websites into purchasing customers.
How can you write a compelling product description that gets the job done right? You start by understanding what it is and what it does.
What Is a Product Description?
A product description is a type of ecommerce marketing content that explains the details of a product to a potential customer. While category descriptions describe a group of products, product descriptions describe just one product. The goal is to convey the vital information a customer needs to make a decision on whether to buy it. Essentially, when you create a product description, you are trying to tell the reader what the item is and what makes it worthwhile to purchase.
Unlike how shopping works at a physical location, you can’t hold a product in your hand while shopping online. When done correctly, the product description is the next best thing to holding the item you’re thinking of buying. In fact, the Nielsen Normal Group notes that up to 20% of task failures on one of their ecommerce studies was due to an insufficient product description.
You should be able to find examples of product descriptions on any site with a shopping cart system that allows you to make purchases. If you click on a product on the site, there should be an explanation of what the product is—if the content on the site was created correctly. Of course, there are good descriptions and bad descriptions. If you come across a bad or non-existent product description, you may be out of luck. Learn from the experience by never leaving your own product descriptions blank.
What Is the Difference Between Good and Bad Product Description Writing?
Yes, there is a difference between an effective description and a poorly written one. The quick of it is the following:
- Good: Contains descriptive details, sizing information, product specifications and benefits.
- Bad: Contains little to no information or the information is irrelevant to the product and reader.
The ultimate measure of the quality of a product description is how many views it attracts and sales it converts. Buyers are more likely to be pulled toward descriptions that answer their questions about the product, so make sure yours is attractive.
How Can You Write an Amazing Product Description?
You know what a product description is and its importance, so how do you write an effective description for your goods and services? Here are some tips that many experienced industry professionals understand about approaching this kind of writing.
Understand the Target Audience
The very first part of approaching product description writing is to know who will be reading the description. Are you selling men’s dress shoes or basketball shoes? Is the reader looking for women’s formal dresses or yoga pants? The more you know about your target audience, the more you can fine-tune the wording to appeal to the reader. Here are a few questions to consider asking yourself as you narrow down the target audience:
- How old is the reader?
- Why would the reader be looking for this product?
- How will the product make the reader’s life better?
While you don’t have to answer these questions in the description itself, understanding the answers will help to guide your word choice and content direction.
Highlight the Benefits
The product description is a quick sales pitch. You want to let the reader know why they need this product right now and how it will make their lives better. It’s important to remember that you need to focus on accurate features for the product; don’t just make stuff up. For example, if you were writing a description for memory foam house slippers, you might discuss the following features if they were applicable:
- Ultra-soft fabric keeps your toes warm any time of the year
- Textured sole prevents slipping on wood, laminate and tile floors
- Memory foam padding makes you feel like you’re walking on a cloud
You can present product specifications in a bullet list format or as full sentences in a paragraph. It depends on your preference of presentation and what will make it easier for your target audience to read.
Keep It Easy To Read
Your target audience should be able to quickly scan the description to find the exact information they’re looking for. That could be color, sizing, style, features or anything else important about the product. It’s also imperative that you keep the description mobile-friendly, meaning it needs to be easy to read and navigate by phone. Business Insider projects mobile ecommerce to jump to 45% and more of the U.S. ecommerce market in 2021. Keep wording succinct but informative. Word choice has never been more important. Make every character count.
Include the Story and Details
According to Search Engine Journal, product descriptions are among the types of content where you are better off being more specific. That doesn’t mean expounding at length about the virtues of the product but rather being succinct and descriptive about it. In this case, invest in the details more than the word count. This includes the story of the brand.
How did the product come to be? What is the manufacturer’s story and how does that play into the quality of the product? Telling your reader the brand and product’s story can help them feel more connected and invested in the item.
Did you know that you should incorporate SEO into your product descriptions? In fact, according to experts at Amazon, placing keywords in bullet points is especially beneficial for search engine rankings. It only takes a little bit of effort to find out which keywords may be best for your products, and then you just need to include them in the written content.
How Can You Make It Easier To Write a Lot of Product Descriptions?
Writing good content takes more effort than many people realize. You may be a business wizard, but that doesn’t mean you have the time, grammar skills or even the desire to write up descriptions for hundreds or thousands of products. If you find yourself in this boat, use the following tips to streamline your process.
Find a Length That Works
A quality product description doesn’t have to be very long, but it can also be detrimental to have it be too short. The trick here is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how long your description should be. In fact, you may need to experiment with descriptions of different lengths to find what the sweet spot is for certain types of products and for your target audience. Remember that your description should also be long enough to discuss the benefits and include the story of the product or brand. Does your description entice the reader with the right sensory words? Is it full of fluff or wording that doesn’t add value to the content? Make every word earn its place.
Create a Template
Once you find a length that works, create a template that is easy to follow. For example, your intro might include details about the brand, then a bullet list of the product specifications, and a closing paragraph about additional benefits and a call to action for the purchase.
Keep Your References Accessible
Unless you are writing a product description for a proprietary product not sold anywhere else online or in brick-and-mortar stores, you probably need to research information about it. The more descriptions you write, the more likely you are to collect specific websites and founts of knowledge from which you pull your information. Make a list and keep these references handy so you can go to them quickly for every piece of content you write.
Find a Writer
If your focus is on building your business or service and you are having trouble finding the time to write all of your descriptions, then you might consider having someone else write them for you. Every business is different, so you may need to evaluate if you have the budget to find a writer. Just because you are not able to hire one right away doesn’t mean you won’t be able to hire one down the road as your business grows.
Where Can You Hire Product Description Writers?
If you decide it’s time to hire writers to focus on creating quality product descriptions, you have a few different options at your disposal:
An in-house writer has specific benefits over outsourcing your written content. In-house writers can specialize in your brand voice because they can become more familiar with your products. You also have more control over how the writer approaches the content because you directly oversee the work. On the other hand, hiring such a writer tends to be the more expensive option because you have to budget in wages and any benefits. However, if you have room in your budget to bring on an employee to focus specifically on your written or online content creation, it can be an effective way to make sure your descriptions are written the way you want.
A freelance writer is a person you hire to create the content at a negotiated rate, which could be a flat cent-per-word rate or an hourly rate. Freelancers can be less expensive than hiring a full-time in-house writer, but you tend to have less control over the finished product. In addition, freelancers have varying levels of experience, and the quality of the writing is not always guaranteed. However, many freelancers will work closely with you to determine what your guidelines are for writing the product description, and they will work toward a finished product that hopefully satisfies your needs. You should carefully research any freelancer you are considering hiring. Be sure to check out their portfolio of previous projects as well as any reviews other clients have left online.
A content company tends to be the halfway point between an in-house writer and a freelancer. Usually, content companies have their own pool of writers they work with to create content for businesses like yours. Some companies offer managed services, meaning you work with a point of contact to detail the kind of content you need, and then the manager oversees the writers and delivery of the finished product. You may always be able to order content directly from the company without worrying about managed services. You should still research the company to ensure you will get quality content.
There are many places to hire writers for all of your online content. Just remember to evaluate the budget you have available for such a service and to seek products from a reputable source of content creation.
Where Do You Go From Here With Your Product Descriptions?
You have all of the information you need to get started on writing your own product descriptions, so what do you do now? You can start by making a list of items that require descriptions to be written. Your next move would be to collect any references for the information the description needs to include. Then you have to decide if you will be writing the content yourself or hiring someone to do it for you.
A product description might seem like such a small part of ecommerce, but its role packs a notable punch. Taking a little extra time up front to craft a strong template and approach will save you a lot of time down the road, even if you decide to turn the writing role over to someone else. With powerful descriptions at your disposal, your online shop’s performance may improve over time. If you’re looking for help with your product descriptions, let our master writers do the work for you.
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