Scratching your head, wondering how to write product descriptions that sell?
Fear not: we’ve got you covered.
Check out this video for a summary!
In this post, we run through some of the powerful methods we use in-house at FATJOE to create compelling product descriptions for our clients that sell. By the end of it, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to write copy that converts.
Read on to find out more.
Why Writing Good Product Descriptions Is Important?
Why is writing good product descriptions important?
There are two basic reasons:
- To provide customers with information about your products.
- To boost SEO.
Let’s take the first point: providing customers with information about your products. Getting this right is critical because, when you sell online, your audience can’t touch, feel or personally examine your products like they can in a store.
Your words, therefore, need to substitute for the in-store experience.
Customers also need product descriptions to communicate ideas that product images alone cannot.
So, for example, a description might include suggestions for how or when a customer might use a product. Thus, product descriptions are not just lists of manufacturer specifications: they address your target audience personally by answering their questions.
Now to #2.
Learning how to write SEO product descriptions is also essential for ranking high in search results.
When we write product descriptions at FATJOE, we always have one eye on how search engines, like Google, will interpret them so that our clients can be as visible to their audiences as possible.
We’ll get into this a little later on.
How To Write A Product Description
So, now that you know why writing good product descriptions is important, you also need to learn how to do it.
The following is our 7-step process for writing good product descriptions and are the inside scoop on how professionals create product descriptions for online stores.
It’s the system that we use whenever we create product descriptions for our clients.
1. Understanding Your Target Audience
Learning how to write a product description that sells is all about finding ways to speak to your audience directly.
To do this, you’ll need to understand more about who your target audience is. Creating a “buyer persona” – a summary of the characteristics of the people who buy from you – can help.
Avoid writing generic copy that just describes the product image. Instead, think about what information your customers want and what is motivating them to seek out your products.
Don’t assume that you know your target customer already. You might not.
Once you create a buyer persona, you can make your descriptions more personal. For instance, your writing could meet their current pain points or reflect the type of vocabulary that they naturally use.
Let’s make this more concrete with an example. Suppose that you’re selling brown shoes via your online store.
A generic product description that just describes the accompanying product image might go something like this:
“These brown shoes have matching laces and a solid rubber heel. They come with a brogue pattern and quality guarantee.”
This description does a fine job of describing what the product looks like, but it doesn’t exactly speak to the audience.
Now take a look at a description that does:
“These exceptional lace-up brogues are the perfect accompaniment for the young professional seeking to complete his smart-casual wardrobe. The superior quality of the uppers makes these shoes suitable for wearing alongside cotton twill, cord and classic denim.”
See the difference? The first description is purely descriptive. But the second is talking to a specific audience (young men) and providing suggestions for how the product can directly meet their needs.
Even the language you choose to use in product descriptions makes a difference. Inserting the words your audience uses while avoiding industry jargon instantly builds rapport.
Thus, when writing product descriptions, try to bear the following in mind:
- The underlying consumer needs your products address
- Why your customers might be seeking a particular product
- What motivated your customers to search for your products
- Which features are most likely to benefit your customers the most
- The words, tone and sentence structures you use (more on this below)
2. Find Your Tone Of Voice
The next step in writing good product descriptions is to find your tone of voice.
What the heck is a “tone of voice,” you might ask?
At FATJOE, we think of a tone of voice as being how your audience perceives your brand emotionally in written form. It goes beyond regular brand elements, such logos or colour schemes, right into the use of language itself. Ideally, you should communicate in a manner that your customers would expect.
Generally, companies do a good job of conveying their tone of voice in general website copy and blogs. But carrying a tone of voice over to product descriptions can seem tricky.
Many factors determine your tone of voice. You can convey it through:
- The type of words that you use: Does your vocabulary make you sound happy, sad, hostile, excited, exuberant, professional, cautious, friendly, inviting, cheap or quality?
- The pronouns you choose: Do you formally talk about your products in the third person, using words like “it” or “one?” Or do you address your audience more informally or directly, as though you are having a conversation with them, by using second person pronouns, like “you,” instead?
- Your sentence structure: Do you use long, flowing prose with many sub-clauses? Or do you use short, snappy sentences that get to the point?
Let’s take a look at some examples of tone of voice in action.
Here’s an example of a product description from the world-renowned cycling brand, Santa Cruz, selling its Bronson line of mountain bikes:
Notice how it deploys words its audience uses, such as “tech-gnar” (meaning bumpy terrain), and “twisted” (referring to bendy trails). Also, see how it keeps things informal by using words like “sorta” and “sweet spot” to reflect its fun brand image.
Here’s another example of a well-written product description, this time from luxury furniture brand Cox & Cox.
It uses vocabulary that seeks to elevate, such as “design-led” and “outdoor companion.” These words convey its goal of being perceived as luxurious and elegant.
3. FAB – Features, Benefits, Attributes
After you settle on a tone of voice, you then have to get down to the nitty-gritty of your product description and talk about features, benefits and attributes – FAB for short. These communicate specific details about your product and services in written form.
When writing about features, benefits and attributes in your product description, you need to do two things:
- Describe the product or service accurately
- Explain how a customer would use the product or service
Whenever considering features or benefits, bear your audience’s concerns and motivations in mind. Continually refer to your buyer persona and think about what they would like to read about a specific product.
Talk about the circumstances in which your customers would need it and how they could use it.
Take a look at another example from the luxury furniture brand, Cox & Cox.
See how they weave how a customer might use the product into their prose: “It’s a wonderful place to settle down with a book on a sunny afternoon.” Notice also how the brand also talks about the circumstances in which customers would use the product: it’s “the perfect fit for a country garden.”
Learning how to write good product descriptions also requires embedding benefits into your descriptions. These additions communicate your products’ and services’ competitive advantage.
Here are some examples with added benefits highlighted in bold:
For an outdoor bench:
- Solid wood outdoor seating option suitable for all weathers
- Curved arms and cushions for enhanced comfort
- Neutral design to complement any outdoor space
For a pair of leather shoes:
- Full-leather upper for visual appeal, breathability and comfort
- Goodyear welt construction providing durability for daily wear
- Grippy sole to reduce slipping on smooth or wet surfaces
See how all these examples of product descriptions talk about a specific way in which the customer can benefit. You can include these as bullet points in your product descriptions or simply include them in your body text.
Which leads us nicely onto the next section…
4. Use Bullet Points
Using bullet points in your product descriptions is essential. We often include them whenever we write product descriptions for clients at FATJOE.
The reason? Consumers’ attention spans are short. Research shows that the average person only reads about 16% of the information on a given page.
So getting key information across punctually matters.
Bullets offer several advantages. First, they make descriptions easy to scan, allowing customers to find the information they want quicker. Many customers, for instance, will use bullets to compare products when deciding which to buy.
Bullets are also invaluable for technical products. Check out the following example from accounting software company, Sage:
Notice how the product description focuses on quantifiable benefits that customers can achieve when they use the brand’s accounting software.
Here’s another example of a technical product description from a major UK electronics vendor that makes good, concise use of bullet points:
See how the bullets communicate key technical specifications of the product to customers immediately, allowing them to easily compare it to others in the range.
5. It’s All About The Detail
Detail matters too when writing product descriptions. But what kind of detail?
Essentially, businesses should include any additional information that will encourage a customer to convert.
The following are some examples of how to write good product descriptions with plenty of detail:
Shipping information is a great way to incentivise your customers to buy if you offer free shipping, discounts or deals. The example below, a popular online retailer, displays shipping perks in a shipping availability checker tool.
All online sellers should include product dimensions in their descriptions where applicable. However, sellers of bulky items such as garden equipment, furniture, vehicles may also want to include plans that help to make dimensions even clearer. That’s because customers need to know if your products will fit in their homes.
So, for instance, you might include a drawing similar to this one:
Guarantees & Care Plans
Also, be sure to mention any additional guarantees or services that you offer alongside a product. For instance, if you sell computers, talk about things like your care and repair services. Discuss your warranty too and whether you include any servicing and maintenance in the asking price.
If you sell expensive products, you might also improve conversions by listing your finance options in your description. Including specific examples of how much money customers can borrow and mentioning interest-free periods could help shift more inventory.
If your product comes with accessories, talk about them too. For example, if you sell mobile phones, mention that each box comes with headphones, instructions, chargers, memory sticks and USB connectors included in the price.
6. Tell A Story
Telling a story matters.
When people love your brand story, they are 55% more likely to buy from you and 44% more likely to tell other people about your company.
But what is a story in the context of product descriptions? You can think of it as a narrative that you use to humanise your company and communicate what you’re all about to your customers.
Communicating your brand story in all your copy is a good idea, but it is particularly powerful when done in the context of product descriptions.
Telling a story in product descriptions could take several forms, with subtle differences between them. You could, for instance:
- Use your product description to communicate your overall brand story. For instance, if you sell solar chargers for backpackers, you could use your product description to emphasise your brand’s commitment to sustainability
- Use your product description to tell the story of your product and how it came to be. So, for instance, if you have a powerful sustainability story behind the production, you should provide a timeline of its manufacture to show accountability and instil confidence.
- Use your product description to talk about why customers need it. In this case, you would use your product details to create a narrative about how they meet customers’ needs. So, for example, if you sell healthy ready meals, you might create a story around how people can use them to quickly fit mealtimes into their hectic schedules.
Research also shows that 64% of consumers say that sharing values with brands is the primary reason they have a relationship with them.
Not only that, but customers who have an emotional relationship with brands have a lifetime value 306% higher than baseline and are 71% more likely to recommend it to friends.
Thus, telling an emotive story in product descriptions can build brand value enormously.
This leads nicely on to our last point …
7. Power & Sensory Words
Power and sensory words create an immediate emotional response in customers. Thus, using them can elevate your product descriptions tremendously.
Power words tend to have strong meanings because they are so easy to visualise. They are very different from dull, generic words like “high” and “great” that don’t have much of an impact.
Here are some examples of power and sensory words to get you started:
Many of these words directly relate to the senses, describing sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touch sensations.
And because of this, they allow you to leverage the power of suggestion.
When consumers read them, they automatically imagine how your product might make their lives better. And that can be all the incentive they need to convert.
Here are some product description examples of brands using power words:
Red Bull uses power language to denote the energy-giving properties of its products in the word “vitalize:”
McDonalds does something similar with evocative words like “delicious,” “famous,” and “freshly cracked” when trying to sell its breakfast roll:
Here’s a final example from outdoor clothing brand Arc’teryx selling a warm fleece:
It uses “blur,” “cozy,” “chill” and “modern” to enhance its message.
Things To Avoid
When learning how to write a product description, it’s also critical to know what to avoid.
Many online stores use manufacturer product descriptions to accompany their products because it is easy. You simply cut and paste the description from the manufacturer’s website and you’re done. However, aside from the fact that this strategy goes against everything we discussed above, there are two BIG reasons why you shouldn’t use manufacturer descriptions:
- Manufacturers have different objectives from ecommerce retailers. Like it or not, manufacturers are B2B companies. Thus, they write product descriptions primarily for vendors, sharing critical specification information they think they will need. For that reason, they don’t appeal to your specific audience.
- Many other people in your industry may also be using manufacturer descriptions, leading to duplication.
Duplication can cause issues with your SEO. Although Google doesn’t technically penalize duplicate content, whenever you do duplicate content, you make it hard for Google to decide which page should rank on top.
That’s because of how Google works. The search engine doesn’t like showing users multiple copies of the same results because it doesn’t add value to users.
Instead, it always diversifies results to increase the probability of displaying what users are looking for. So, if you use duplicated manufacturer descriptions, your content may appear low down in search results.
What’s more, there is a large chance that Google will not select the original page for the top search results. So even if you were first copying and pasting the manufacturer description, you may still rank low.
The solution, therefore, is to create a set of diverse product descriptions for SEO for all your products. This makes it easier for you to stand out from the crowd, align your brand with Google’s objectives, and speak more directly to your audience.
It can be hard to do this, specifically for technical products where the spec information will always be the same. But this is why the stories are important to sit alongside the simple features information.
Don’t Make It Complicated
Even though you want to stand out from the crowd, keeping your product descriptions simple is essential.
At FATJOE, we always use as many simple sentences as possible when crafting our own descriptions. Writing intuitively – even about highly-technical products – makes your pages more accessible and understandable. It can even help sell your product!
By contrast, complicated sentences are a big turn off for customers too. Long, winding sentences with complicated syntax makes it hard to understand your products’ FABs. This can easily blur your value proposition.
Stick with short, simple sentences where possible and avoid clustering long words.
While you want to sell your products and talk positively about them, don’t make bold claims that may not hold true.
Here are some examples, with exaggerated claims highlighted in bold:
- This coat will keep you warm, no matter what the temperature
- Our accounting software lets you complete your tax return in less than five minutes
- Our bicycles are the best in the business and will never let you down
Making bold claims isn’t beneficial because it strains trust. Consumers will buy your products expecting them to perform in the way you describe.
But when they don’t, they become disappointed. In general, it is much better to be frank about what your products can do while using careful language that accepts their limitations.
SEO Optimize Your Product Descriptions
Writing compelling product descriptions is one thing, but they also need to perform well in search results. Thus, SEO product descriptions are vital.
Writing effective SEO product descriptions brings substantial benefits to your business.
Optimising them for search engines makes it more likely that you will appear at the top of search results and get more clicks to your pages.
What’s more, unlike paid traffic (where you pay search engines for space to display your advertising), you don’t have to pay for this traffic, boosting your margins.
Here’s how to write product descriptions for SEO:
1.Write For Users, Not For Google
A search engine’s main concern when ranking pages is that the information on that page is relevant to the user.
Google now ranks websites based on the page experience. This includes ensuring that the copy and content on the page is well-written and targeted at the user.
2. Focus On The Benefits
Remember, features are impersonal and describe what the product can do, while benefits talk about how the features will improve the life of the buyer.
Talking about the benefits in particular provides more interesting, compelling copy, and helps Google to better determine the content of your pages.
3. Create Unique Product Descriptions
As discussed, this allows you to differentiate yourself from rivals selling identical or similar products online.
The lower the level of duplication, the more likely it is that Google will choose to include your pages in search results.
4. ‘Buyer Awareness’ Drives The Length Of Product Descriptions
How long your product description should be, and the level of detail your product description goes into, depends on how well your audience knows your products and brand.
When awareness is high, buyers know precisely what they want, so product descriptions can be more factual and less educational.
When awareness is low, the reverse should apply. Longer descriptions help Google refine the results it displays for more obscure keywords.
5. Include A Meta Description On The Webpage
A meta description is the short text snippet that appears under the search results hyperlink title of your product. A compelling description can make users more likely to click on your products and spend more time on your pages.
6. Target the necessary SEO product keywords
Optimization begins with searching for what keywords customers are using when looking for a specific product online. Google and other search engines typically favour specific words. So we include these in our product descriptions, titles and meta descriptions.
For example, suppose an online retailer wants to sell tan-coloured shoes and that people searching for their products regularly type “cheap brown shoes” into Google.
In this case, it makes sense for it to naturally include the phrase in its product descriptions, product title and meta descriptions.
We also optimise product descriptions by including keywords that tell Google what the product actually is. This step is critical because it allows the search engine to present users with products that are most relevant to their search in search results. The more relevant the product (as indicated by its description), the higher it is likely to rank.
Use tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush or Ahrefs Keyword Planner to find keywords that people are actually using for search.
Consider search volume (higher is generally better – but be realistic), keyword difficulty (the level of competition for a keyword: lower is better), and related terms you could target (particularly longer keywords that your rivals might not be exploiting in their product descriptions).
Check out our 6 step process to finding low competition keywords:
When writing product descriptions, always insert keywords naturally.
You can check out our detailed step-by-step guide to keyword research here!
Product Descriptions & Ranking
Please note that it can be hard to rank for generic product searches.
Suppose, for instance, a customer is shopping for “black shoes.”
There are hundreds of product description examples from brands and manufacturers already using this keyword. So making a product description that ranks high for it will be tricky, if not impossible for new companies.
A better approach is to research specific keywords that link to those you found in your keyword research (something we discuss in more detail in this article).
Once you have these, check how your competitors are using them in their product pages and descriptions.
Ideally, you want your product descriptions to target high-volume, low-competition keywords that other brands have missed.
If you’d like to read more about optimising your webpages, check out our guide to ecommerce SEO which goes into much more detail about how you can optimise your whole site.
Having read this guide, you should now know how to write product descriptions.
The formula is simple:
- Get to know your audience
- Choose a tone of voice
- Discuss your FABs while making them relevant
- Use bullet points
- Add details that will encourage conversions
- Tell a story
- Use powerful sensory words
Critically, make your product descriptions unique and rich in relevant keywords to impress search engines.
The steps outlined here are what we use here at FATJOE when we write product descriptions for our professional clients. Mastering them, therefore, could transform your business’s impact online.