Most people have a natural reluctance to buying a product that they aren’t able to see, hold, try on in-person. One of the biggest challenges to building a profitable eCommerce business is giving potential customers the confidence to click “Add to Cart” without feeling like they are flying blind. High quality product images are a great start, but to really increase conversions, you need to write product descriptions that grab the attention of potential customers.
A good product description gets across the nature of the item, serves as late-stage marketing, and builds confidence in your overall brand in just a few characters. Sound like a tall order? Don’t worry. With some elbow grease and the right framework, you can be writing product descriptions that convert in no time. Let’s go.
1. Use highly specific language
First thing’s first: cut your copy back to as few words and as short of phrases as possible. This doesn’t mean that your sentences have to be short and choppy, but the key is to minimize word count while maximizing information. It’s saying more in less. Powerful, sensory adjectives will tell potential customers significantly more about the product than phrases like “high-quality” and can do so in less space.
Bullet points are great and definitely worth using, but you don’t have to rely on them exclusively. Try reading some example product descriptions both in-and-outside of your niche. See how long an individual piece can hold your interest. What do you find engaging? What is distracting to you?
Passive voice is one of the fastest ways to lose your reader’s attention, because it adds unnecessary words and slows the reading process. The Hemingway Editor is a great free tool for recognizing weak constructions and increasing readability.
2. Get creative with the ways you talk about your product
Remember, the process of marketing doesn’t end when you get a customer to your product page. Product descriptions don’t just explain the item they also sell it. Check out this example from Modcloth. The description utilizes a bouncy, conversational tone and the copy is “tailored” to the specific item.
Keep in mind that descriptions for digital products tend to require a little more work. With the amount of free content available on the internet, you’ll need to convince potential customers that YOUR product is worth paying for. Check out this example product description for a virtual class from Taking Cara Babies:
3. Tell your customers a story
Done right, storytelling is one of the most powerful selling tools out there. Try brainstorming with these guiding questions:
- How is the product made? What was the inspiration to do it this way?
- How have different customers made use of the same item?
- What is the philosophy behind your business, and how does this tie into the product? i.e. “We believe in locally crafted, ethically-sourced…”
- What need does the product fill specifically for you, the creator? What gap did you see in the market that led you to sell this particular item?
Customer reviews are a great way to provide social proof and expand the story being told to include a broader range of voices. Notice that Jabberwocky includes their reviews directly underneath the product description, allowing the “story” of the product to continue and different uses to come out:
4. Format for clarity
Remember: most internet users only read a fraction of the text on a page. To hold their attention, you will need to focus on easy readability. Differentiate settings using headings and subheadings, as well as different colored text if applicable/stylish. Leave plenty of blank space. As in the above example from Taking Cara Babies, consider spreading your text horizontally as well as vertically. Notice how Moosejaw sets their features and product description side-by-side, letting the eye slide easily between the two.
5. Figure out your buyer persona and write for them
This is possibly the most important part of writing product descriptions that convert: speaking clearly and directly to your specific audience. We’ve explored buyer personas on FounderU before, and if you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to check out Sahar’s series on How to Look at Your Brand Voice in a New Light.
In a nutshell, buyer personas are imagined groups of consumers that respond to particular forms of messaging. While you can quantitatively measure shifts in engagement while you try out different brand voices, the process of figuring out exactly what your customers will respond to will involve A/B testing, trial-and-error, and research. Explore the websites of other companies in your niche and get a sense of how they approach similar situations. Consider what makes your store unique, and how this segments your customers from consumers in general. Are your products organic? Community focused? Aimed at a specific age range? Questions like these will help you fine tune your copy for the exact audience you need to reach.
Experiment with writing the same basic description using a range of tones. Which fits best with the general marketing of your store? Which feels most natural for you to work in? Show your works-in-progress to a handful of people who fall into your target audience and get their reactions.
These are just a few tools to get you started. In the end, it will be practice and gradual refinement that makes your product descriptions powerful and high-converting. Do you have some great examples from your own store? Let us know in the comments!