The 3-Step Guide On How To Write Enticing Product Descriptions To Increase Online Sales (and make search engines love you)

how to write product descriptions

The other day a reader wrote to me…

…asking for tips on how to write effective product descriptions.

Bettina Johnson has a kick ass online jewelery store based in Nebraska, USA. She sells jewelery all across the world and what started as a hobby has now turned into a global enterprise. Bettina is the epitome of a true sassy chic!

Bettina asked me for some tips on how to find the right words for her product descriptions.

Let me be upfront and state that Bettina’s product descriptions aren’t too bad. On her Embellishment Ring page, she’s written a brief story as to why she loved making it, which gives it a personal touch. She also provided some product information such as sizes and color of stones.

But there is room for improvement.

For example, her product description for sterling silver faceted ruby ring is light on content. I’m no jewelery expert and perhaps this means something to seasoned jewelery buyers, but stating ‘The ring is a fraction under a US size 7′ means nothing to me and nor does it entice me to buy. Bettina could state the ring comes in a range of sizes and use her words to write about other benefits that would capture the imagination of her prospective customers and create more of an impact.

That’s the aim – to create IMPACT!

Not only that, the formatting needs improvement – use of title caps need to be consistent and she can make better use of space.

If You Have An Online E-Commerce Site You MUST Check Out This Website

Check out this fabulous e-commerce store My Wedding Favors. 

In 2009 they earned the award as one of the best e-commerce specialty stores on the Internet.

And for good reason.

There’s a way for you to increase your online sales and as Brooke Johnson, retail product manager for My Wedding Favors, says “We do everything we can to make our shopping experience consistently pleasurable…”

And they certainly know how to do that. You only need one look at their website to see how well their clean, crisp design and layout is, user-friendly navigation and yes, their beautifully written product descriptions.

When most people start selling stuff online they often write about features without selling any benefits.

My Wedding Favors know their target market and understand what benefits will appeal to their target market. The product description for their Stainless-Steel Ice Cream Scoop is headed with “Scoop of Love” – a clever way to weave the love theme into an otherwise boring product and have guests remember the happy couple’s special day long after the wedding took place.

With a lot of thought and a scoop of love, this heart-themed wedding favor will be a lovely addition to your special day. It’s the perfect way for your guest to share your happiness on your very special day.

This description is both informative and compelling and contains all the ingredients to write effective product descriptions.

If You Want To Increase Your Sales You Must Write Concise Yet Engaging Product Offerings

There’s no better way to kill your conversions than to ramble on about boring, dull features – just like the ‘ring is under a US size 7’ statement in Bettina’s copy.

To help write this post, I put a call out to my Twitter web copywriting buddies and asked for their tips and advice on how to write enticing product descriptions.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

@karonthackstonKaron Thackston: The trick to writing effective product descriptions is to convey the benefits and selling points of your product plus include search engine keyphrases that engage your target audience.”

@divinewrite – Glenn Murray: Make the reader FEEL the product.”

@clementinemedia – Simon Morgan: Decide on the product’s main or unique benefit (from the customer’s POV) and lead the description with this.”

@ClickTips – Melinda Samson: For me, the most important thing is that it clearly describes the product & gives all the information people need.”

@copywritemattrs – Belinda Weaver: Make sure your product description contains all essential information like size, weight, color etc. Then add flair!”

@clickablecopy – Denise Mooney: Paint a picture of how they’ll feel after they’ve bought the product. Use imagery & descriptive words, make it enticing.”

@lionwriting – Lucinda Lions: Product descriptions need a nice mix of necessary details and specs, as well as some personality and spunk – if there’s room!”

@heatherlloyd – Heather Lloyd-Martin: Remember that you are reaching at least two distinct markets: Customers who are ready to purchase now and customers who are gathering information.

@contentrix – Alice Seba: Be aware of short attention spans. The way you format your content plays a big role in doing just that. For example, use a bold headline in a larger font that will capture your visitor’s attention and keep sentences and paragraphs short, so they’re easy to scan.”

So how the heck does the average one-woman show with an e-commerce store write succinctly within 50 to 100 words and still capture the imagination of prospective customers browsing her website for the latest silverware or 1/3 carat gold diamond necklace … ?

Luckily for the sassy Bettina, she’s about to find out. 

Here’s the 3-Step Guide On How To Write Beautiful Product Descriptions That Will Make People Buy Your Stuff…

When writing a product description, there are three things you need to get across: what the product is; what the technical specifications are; and how and why you use the product.

As Lucinda Lions mentioned, a nice mix of necessary details and specs is required. To do that, follow this 3-step guide on how to write engaging and compelling product descriptions for your e-commerce website.

1. Decide on the product’s main or unique benefit, from the customer’s perspective, and lead the description with this

This refers back to the point I mentioned above about how well you know your target market because the product’s main benefit must be from the customer’s point of view. You need to demonstrate your product’s value. Instead of merely stating the price, go into detail about what people will get and explain how much it’s all worth.

With your target audience in mind, list the main benefits of the product. Karon Thackston has written a great example on her blog for a box of gourmet chocolates. She’s included various segments such as:

  • Gourmet Chocolate Lovers – Distinctive ingredients imported from across the globe.
  • Health Conscious – Organic ingredients, premium dark chocolate, high-quality nuts.
  • Special Dietary Needs – Gluten-free.  Other collections available that are sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan and kosher.
  • All Customers – 100% pure ingredients, no artificial colors, flavors or additives.
  • Gift Givers – Attractive, boutique-style gift boxes wrapped in a silk bow.  Gift card included at no additional cost.   Appropriate for both personal and business gifting.

While Karon has focused on the distinctiveness of the flavors and the quality of the ingredients, she’s also considered that her target audience might consist of those seeking gluten-free chocolates. She’s highlighted special dietary needs as a benefit to those segments of the target audience who are unable to indulge in regular, ordinary gourmet chocolates.

2. Make the reader FEEL the product

Glenn Murray mentioned this above. It’s important to describe the product to capture the prospect’s imagination and draw them in to create an actual experience. Glenn wrote a fabulous product description for an Italian Leather Travel Bag. Here’s a taster of what he wrote:

Sean Connery’s Bond would use it. Roger Moore’s probably wouldn’t.

The Venezia Duffle is a serious leather travel bag. The real deal. And just like Connery’s Bond, it’s understated. It knows you’ll notice…

How? Well, the BIG leather smell, for starters. Not the dainty perfume of a paper-thin man-bag, but a proper leather smell: rich, earthy and masculine. The sort that makes a room smell like home, and your clothes smell fresh.

Product description for Italian leather bag

See how Glenn used smell to describe the product? He created a sensory experience for the customer and appealed to the reader’s sense of smell to describe the benefits of this product. You can almost smell the leather bag as if the product was in the customer’s presence.

That’s what a good, no…. an excellent, copywriter does. They create excitement and an experience for the customer that is tangible. And can you guess who the target market is?

3. Look At The End Result

I’ve got to give credit to Karon Thackston once again. (I’m so glad I put that call-out on Twitter). This is one that’s often overlooked and deserves a special mention in this guide.

Look past the buying experiencing toward the future. How will the product improve or change the customer’s life after they’ve purchased it? How will their life be different or better? What will the specific end result of their purchase be?

Again, My Wedding Favors does this beautifully. Their Disney collection chrome slipper opener, is advertised as a gift from the new bride to her guests. The product description states the gift presentation includes a gift box with “Happily Ever After” imprinted on the base.

At the bottom of the description it states, “for Cinderella and her prince…for you and yours–a perfect fit. Walk down the aisle and thank family and friends with a magical favor to remind them every step you take with your prince is a step toward your happily ever after.”

Great example of e-commerce copywriting - My Wedding Favors

My Wedding Favors is giving the customer a glimpse into the future – the end result being a long and happy marriage. (But then again, with what seems like more divorces than happy long-lasting marriages these days, I do wonder). All jokes aside, the chrome slipper is designed to impress the guests to remember the special day long after the wedding took place and to create happy memories of a bride marrying her prince.

Whatever the end result, it’s important to give your customer a glimpse into the future so they can see how purchasing your product will benefit or change them for the better.

Insert Keywords In Your Product Descriptions To Increase Search Engine Ranking

Bettina also asked for advice on how to insert keyword phrases so she can rank higher on search engines.

If you write naturally, you will likely optimize for any primary and secondary keyword phrases in your copy.

There are various SEO techniques that can be used to incorporate specific and keyword phrases into your copy. This goes beyond the scope of today’s post but I will definitely cover this in a future post.

Writing Product Descriptions Is Art But A Little Science Can Be Applied

Writing copy for product descriptions is art but I do believe a little science can be applied.

What do I mean?

Follow this structure to make sure you get these three important points across:

  • State what the product is
  • State the product’s specifications
  • Explain how you use the product and why you use it

Then apply the 3-step guide as outlined above.

Remember This

In the end, building and managing an e-commerce website that generates business is possible… even in a crowded market.

But you’ve got to take action.

If you’re an action taker—and I’m sure you are, you’re reading ShaeBaxter.com — here’s what I want you to do next:

  1. I want you to brainstorm all the benefits associated with your product – think of different angles and ways your product helps people.
  2. List the biggest benefits of the product, which are important to your customers. Then identify the main or unique benefit. Don’t forget to consider your target market as a whole as well as individual segments. I.e customers who have dietary needs.
  3. Then, if you plan to do this (or already have done this), leave a comment and tell me about it.

Now go and make some sales.

Did you like this content? Don’t miss a single update…. It’s FREE!

29 Comments

  1. What a timely post! I was just thinking this week that I need to describe my product better and I wanted someone to help me. Thank you Shae! This is exactly what I needed!!!

    Reply
    • I’m glad it helped. Thanks for your comment. Apply the 3 step guide and you will have beautiful product descriptions

      Reply
  2. Hello again Shae (we shared a course recently). You’ve just made my day. I’m starting work today on e-commerce for my range of products on ocad.com.au and would almost certainly have listed them deadpan as my Swiss based principal has done.

    Now I see clearly that the effort I put into describing product benefits and creating perceptions elsewhere on the site, must also be applied right there at the critical point of sale. Perhaps better described by Jan Carlsson in another sphere as ‘The Moment of Truth’.

    Not sure I have the type of product that could evoke the perceptions that Glenn Murray did so well. But I’ll certainly now do better than a straight listing.

    Thanks, Ken

    Reply
    • Hi Ken. Yes I do remember you from the course. It’s easy to caught up in writing features instead of benefits. That’s not to say features aren’t important but it’s about helping your customer and providing them with a solution that your product provides.

      You’re right – it’s about creating the perceptions of your product that you want people to remember them by. How can your product help people in the future? What is the end result?

      Think about those questions and you’ll be well on your way to making more sales.

      Reply
  3. So much great information here… As a very tactile person myself, I really resonate with ‘making the client feel the product’. If it is a service based industry, would you recommend ‘making the client feel like they have experienced the service?

    Reply
    • Hi Emma. It depends on the service you offer. For example, if you were a massage therapist then you should definitely write about the experience the customer will receive and is waiting for them. Make it tantalizing. If it’s more business related, then I would emphasize the benefits and the end results – the outcomes they will receive.

      In any case you need to always write about the benefits of your product or service, how it will change their life. When offering a service, you need to build rapport.

      Reply
  4. Cathy Sykora

    I am going to go back over my site today with thosev3 points in mind! Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Love this advice! You know, I went through so much trouble to research all the interesting mythology behind the different scents I sell, to put in the product description for my fragrance oils. But then I got to my other product descriptions, and….just…described them. I bet I could find some interesting things to add there too!

    Reply
    • It’s best to brainstorm first and don’t rush this process. Have a good read of the examples I provided in the post. Capture the customer’s five senses ie sense of smell. From your comment, smell sounds like it would be an important sense to describe. Take people away from the everyday and capture their imagination with the beautiful smells I’m sure your oils provide.

      Reply
  6. O boy, now I just have to redo all my descriptions on my Etsy shop. Thanks a lot! 🙂

    Great post and a good inspiration.

    Reply
    • Oh no – I hope that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch!

      You can get receive regular inspiration when you sign up to receive free email updates! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Excellent tips! They’re all essential but my favorite is the one about getting readers to feel the product. I love how you wrote your article with lots of real examples, by the way.

    Reply
    • Leanne, glad you like them. It sure is important to get your reader to FEEL the product. I do like to use real examples in all my posts.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge