There’s a LOT that goes into getting your product descriptions just right.
I’m mostly talking website product descriptions here, but loads of this translates across to your product descriptions in print brochures or catalogues, too. And to your services, if you don’t sell products. Lots of transferable goodness. You’re welcome.
Part one: build a picture using features and benefits
Make sure you know your features from your benefits
OK, you’ve probably heard this before. Maybe hundreds of times. But it’s important and I’d look a bit silly if I didn’t mention it.
Features are factual (e.g. listing the ingredients that go into your organic soap).
Benefits explain why that’s good and tap into your audience’s emotions (e.g. our organic ingredients are gentle on skin and full of nourishing ingredients, and that means you can use them on all the family – including the dog).
Use your features and benefits to paint a picture of your product
Make people understand what it’s like to use your product. Help them to imagine how much better their life would be with it.
Here’s an example. It’s from my website, so not technically a product description, but this just goes to show how you can apply this to services, too.
And it gets you a sneak peek at my website – bonus for me!
I could just as easily have gone with “you’ll sell loads more and get rich if I write your copy” but lots of people say that, so I went rogue with banana bread and beaches. It works, though. Promise.
If you’re struggling and finding this tricky, think about all the different senses – how your product feels to touch, taste, smell, etc. Don’t get silly, though. Nobody wants to know what your soap tastes like or what your amazing software package smells of...
For every product feature, add a benefit
So, if you’re talking about a snack that comes individually wrapped, maybe you can talk about how easy it is to pop in your bag for a quick snack on the go. Or if your wax melt is lavender scented, it’s perfect for a relaxing evening with a glass of wine and a book, followed by the best night’s sleep ever.
Pull it all together
This forms a paragraph that starts off your product description. Which leads us nicely on to…
Part two: digging into the details
Think about why customers might NOT buy your product
What might stand in their way? These are your barriers, and it’s time to remove them (if you can).
I say ‘if you can’ because you won’t be able to remove all barriers for everyone. Some people won’t want to buy your baby clothes because they don’t know any babies. Some people will love the look of your hand-drawn illustrations but they won’t be able to afford them. That’s OK.
Filling in the blanks
The kind of barrier I’m thinking about is the kind of information people are looking for before they make a purchase, but can’t find.
- Think product dimensions (they’re not going to buy a new lamp if they don’t know if it’ll fit on the side table they have in mind).
- Think specifications (I’ve lost count of the number of beautiful facemasks that don’t tell you what they’re made of, how many layers they have or whether the ear loops are adjustable).
Include every bit of information you can think of to help someone click ‘add to basket’.
You might not think it’s important, but it might be for them.
- Age range for kids toys
- Installation instructions
- Delivery arrangements for awkward or big items
- Cleaning instructions
- What else the product works well with (Ikea are amazing at this)…
This all adds depth. It can be a series of bullet pointed lists or hidden under tabs, but it should be there. Add it in after the description you wrote in part one. And get ready for…
Part three: search engine optimisation and keywords!
You didn’t REALLY think I’d forgotten this, did you? Nope. Just leaving it til last, because often it’s what people put first, and I’m not sure that’s the best way.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation, if you’re not sure. This is all about making it easy for search engines to find and return your product when someone searches.
I’m only going to cover on-page SEO here. There’s loads of technical gubbins that goes into search engine optimisation, but I’m not your expert in that and I know my limits.
Have a dig around in this post if you want a broader look at SEO. The post isn’t only about that (bonus other fun stuff for you too) but there are some great tips in there from the experts.
Keywords are… key
Do your research and find out what people are searching for. If you want to get even better results, get a professional to research the best keywords for you. Come up with a list of words or short phrases you want to rank for, and then sprinkle them liberally (but not too horribly repetitively) through your copy.
Use your keywords in the right places
Use your priority keywords in:
Your page title
- The first sentence (or second sentence at a push) of your copy
- Your picture descriptions
- The anchor text of any links
And then sprinkle secondary keywords (words that are related to your main keywords) into the rest of your copy.
Re-read your product description and check it sounds human
It used to be true that search engines just looked for keywords and the more they found them the higher you ranked. But those clever old beasts got wise to that.
These days they penalise keyword ‘stuffing’ (when you over-use certain words) and they reward copy that’s well written enough to keep a customer on the page or clicking through to other pages of your website. So read through your final product description and check that it reads beautifully.