How to write a product description


Ever wondered why brick and mortar stores are still alive? Being possible to offer even an elephant with shipping…why would someone go out? The answer is obvious: when we stroll through the market, we are able to view, touch, smell and examine the product. Our perception is doing the work instead of us. Compare it to the: “tap tap tap scroll *2D picture* scroll tap tap *all those 3014 items are the best and made with premium quality* tap tap tap”. I guess you recognize yourself, right?

So what is wrong with that? Of course, everyone wants to say they are the best on the market. Calling the product “a middle ground” sounds less impressively. That is why website owners and even professional copywriters create those “complimentary cards” for their products. The same goes for the hollow descriptions, that typically just describe the product.

A product description, in this case, acts like an ability to “view, sniff, touch” for the client. Having a good product photo is not enough. If you are a copywriter or just a person, who wants to write better product descriptions, here are some tips for you:

Formulate the idea

The perfect variant is actually when you can touch the product, to convey the experience through the text. But you have to also understand who your clients are and why they would be interested in the product. There is a very useful formula helps to structurize all the chaotic thoughts and it is called “5 W’s”. Most of that information you can receive from your sales, marketers or simply from the social networks. Here are those 5 W’s:

  • Who? First of all, you should know who is a target audience, what are the demographics and even personal features.
  • What? What are you selling, tell about the key features of your product? What makes your product special?
  • Where? Where your potential customer can use it? Is it used indoors or outdoors?
  • When? Is your product a party-time game? Maybe it is mostly used during the exact season or daytime?
  • Why? Give the customer a vivid reason to buy exactly your product for exactly that reason. You should pierce through your own perception and knowledge and try to explain its work in the most simple way. Remember, you are sharing different bits of knowledge with your customers.

Those 5 questions help to create all the key points to include the most important information. They also help you to draw the line between your “perfect customers” and the rest of the auditory.

Work on the keywords

Without any doubt, SEO is important, but you should keep the text readable. Pick the most searchable variants, combine them. Where to search keywords? Google AdWords Keyword Planner is one of the tools, that may help you to pick a set of relevant ones. Another one is Google Trends, that allows you to compare traffic for different variants of keywords. For a more organic keyword search, you can check the thematic topics on forums or specific groups on facebook. Potential customers share those “keywords” in discussions.

Link the product’s features with the customer’s benefits

Even if you wouldn’t use the product by yourself, look at the people who will. Think of the product’s main features. Let’s look at the example from the German sports equipment store:

If you ever tried to ride a bike with a backpack, you know that your spine becomes moist in a split second. What the rider really needs is a better ventilation. We have the problem, the descriptions show the solution. Short form, accurate terms, the solution is present. Feel good?

Make it scannable

75% of the customers tend to scan the page of the product description, instead of reading it. To make it scannable, use those 3 features:

  • Lists
  • Visuals
  • Subheadings

Perhaps the customers are comparing different products, so that it would be much easier for him or her, to look through the “Tech” section, rather than reading the whole text.

Let them feel it

It is highly important to convey the idea of the already finished purchase. Tell the customer what exactly he will do with the product. Try to use “you” pronoun to describe the actions or situations in your descriptions. It always feels more personal. And it also helps to write shorter sentences, to be honest.

One more thing, which makes the text more emotional, is when you speak about the purchase in the past tense. Instead of saying “purchase our new sneakers and let the comfort be with you”, say “you feel like walking on the cotton with our new sneakers”.

Define the tone of your speech

All the questions mentioned before are a body of your idea. But, to express your thoughts in a humane fashion, you should also define the style of your voice. Here is a practical tip, that works personally for me:

Back in the days of TV advertisements, exactly the voice actor created the mood for the product. The pitch of the voice, the timbre, the diction. All those elements caused the emotional response. So that, try to imagine, what type of voice would “speak” for your product? Is that an old bassy-voiced man, that sounds calm and serious? Or, is that a bright acute female voice?

This method will help you to define the general mood you want to conduct with the text. It also will allow answering the following questions like humour is appropriate? What about sarcasm? Irony? Feel the difference:

Boots of real leather for work of real men

Feel safe without looking clumsy with our working boots

Let the stones crush under your boots, not your legs

Everything depends, again, on your audience and on purpose of your product.

Forget about the photo…while writing

The text works with the visual content in a pair. Nevertheless, it is better to write the text as there is no image of the product. Write about the features, that can’t be seen in the photo. It is better to build up the connection with the visual part after the text is written. Otherwise, you are risking to get trapped by your subjective knowledge, which was mentioned before.

Write more, leave less

The preparation and writing itself take about 60% of the working time. About 40% goes to correcting. So that, passing all the previous stages, you will have all the necessary information to start writing. And it is not critical if after the first attempt your text will be giant. So that, cut out until the core remains. Make long sentences shorter, write as simple, as you would explain to a 10-year-old child. Use synonym dictionaries, if you feel like using the wrong word.

Be honest

Let me park my rainbow pony before I come back from a fairy world. But what I am going to say has to be in your mind. The information is for the people convinced that they are trueborn marketers. In many copywriting guides and books you may find a piece of advice about prettification or exaggeration. In its turn, many amateur authors write product descriptions full of non-existing features. It is a question of morals, and some consider morals unimportant. But, if you don’t want your customers to say “yeah, of course” about your product, write about the real features.

For that purpose, avoid using superlatives without social proves. Avoid inventing new attributes of the item. The trust of your customers is much more important than a flashy description.

What are your thoughts on product description writing? How do you approach writing them? Tell us about your process!
Photo by Kelly Sikkema and  Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash!