A checklist for writing better product descriptions

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 4, 2016 5:53:36 PM / by Emma Kobylenski

A well written product description will close the deal for your customers. Just because you have a great product photo, although a great start, does not guarantee that your customers will be satisfied.

They need some convincing, or more accurately, they need reassurance that the product they are looking at is definitively the one they want.  Use this checklist to help you beef up your product descriptions for better conversions.

 

Define the buyer persona 

It is extremely important you know who you are writing for. A buyer persona should be considered before touching the keyboard. Doing this will help you:

  • Set the tone of voice
  • Decide what benefits to highlight
  • Choose the features that are most relevant to them
  • Choose relevant keywords to target for SEO
  • How long your description should be
  • What marketing techniques to avoid

And many other things that fit with your buyer personas. The worst thing you can do is write things that make your buyers feel like the product is not for them. You don't tell stories the same way to your friends as you would to your grandmother (some things just need to be omitted). The same goes for your different buyers, some require more or less or just different information.

Example:

Here is a great example from Write Notepads & Co.:

RUBBER BAND 6-PACK

You've asked for them, and we've finally delivered!  No more frowns for those who have misplaced their durable rubber band.  

Each manilla enveloped contains the following:
(2) - Black rubber bands (Pocket ledger)
(2) - Large White
(2) - Large Red

All of our rubber bands are made from synthetic rubber here in the good ole' U.S. of A. by Alliance Rubber Company (Hot Springs, Arkansas)

 

Writepads.com wrote this for a specific profile - a repeat customer who might be memory challenged. They made it short, sweet, and to the point. 

 

Answer the important questions after "Who"

Now that you know who it is that you are writing for, start hacking away and the other details of your product description.

  • What features and benefits does my buyer care about?
  • What specs are important so that my buyer is fully informed?
  • What sets my product apart from other similar products out there?
  • How does it work? Does it require extra pieces?

Example:

Snowboard maker Burton knows what their customers care about and highlight it in their product descriptions leaving no doubt in their minds that this is the product they have been looking for. Check out the description on this backpack: 

BURTON WOMEN’S DAY HIKER 23L BACKPACK

A snow-to-street chameleon with features like a cush women’s fit, hydration-compatible laptop sleeve, and two-strap carry for hauling a board or other gear.

An icon since the dawn of Burton, the Day Hiker set the standard for snowboard-specific function. Now, the women’s Day Hiker Pack [23L] brings women’s-specific shoulder straps and ergonomic fit to the legend. Mountain-minded features like a board carry, removable waist strap, and dual water bottle pockets combined with every day utility like a padded laptop sleeve, and bonus storage zones make this the most versatile women’s pack going.

 

Inject imagination

Try to get your customers to think about themselves using your product. Make your copy experiential by creating a context around the product. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where will people use my product?
  • When? Is there a specific time or season?
  • Are there any "secret" uses of my product that people may not know?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • How does it improve on a bland or normal experience?

Example:

The writers at Fab.com are great at bringing products to life through their copy. In their online store, no products are boring: 

3 SET TOILETRY PACKING BAGS AQUA - By Mumi Design

Ah, the thrill of a well organized life. United by the drive for everything to have its proper place, Mumi was founded by best friends who aim to make travel equal parts chic and neat. Take for instance this set of three toiletry bags, perfect for travel. The mesh makes sure you can see what’s inside while the pop of aqua on the zipper ensures it’s not another blah toiletry bag. Perfect for the plane, pool, gym or car. 

 

Enhance

Give your description umpf! with visuals and extras that compliment and reinforce your copy. Here are some ideas to use with your text and product images that can help potential buyers make their decision:

  • Tutorial videos
  • Contextual videos or fun situations featuring your product
  • User-generated content
  • Reviews
  • Differentiated text layouts (bullet points, paragraph, symbols...etc)

Example:

Petzl makes sure that their product descriptions leave no stone unturned. For example, this climbing helmet description is very thorough (visit their site to see the whole product page - it's impressive). To drive home the reliability and quality of their product they include a really cool video that shows the product in action as well as behind the scenes shots of the product being tested. 

SIROCCO®

Ultra-lightweight climbing and mountaineering helmet

With a maximum weight of 165 g, the SIROCCO helmet sets a new standard for lightness. The one-piece construction minimizes helmet weight while retaining excellent impact resistance, due to the mechanical properties of expanded polypropylene (EPP). The textile adjustment system also contributes to its lightness. This helmet comes with a new magnetic buckle which allows the chinstrap to be fastened with one hand. The SIROCCO helmet also has excellent ventilation distributed around the helmet.

 

 

Analyze and Optimize

Don't just publish it and forget about it. Check in to see how your product is performing. See how many people view the product page, and how many of those views turn into conversions. From there you can start to optimize the page, the copy, and the images to take your sales further.

  • Check that the target persona is the one attracted to the product otherwise change it up
  • Identify opportunities to upsell on the page or in your description
  • Try A/B testing descriptions if you feel like it is not converting the way you hoped
  • Use heatmaps to discover if people are actually reading the description

 

You'll be surprised at what small changes in product descriptions and product pages can do to your conversion rate. Get a simplified version of this checklist for your desk so you can start creating truly compelling product descriptions:

 

Get the checklist

 


Need some more inspiration for copy that convert? Check out this post: 

Outstanding Product Descriptions that Captivate Customers

 

Topics: Product Content, Ecommerce, Marketing, Inspiration

Emma Kobylenski

Written by Emma Kobylenski