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Six Characteristics of a Winning Product Description

We’ve all been there. You’re doing a bit of online shopping, you find the perfect pair of jeans and you want to know more. But when you click ‘learn more’ … nothing.

There are no details about the material, no sizing information and no reviews – just a larger picture. Disappointed, you leave the site, knowing it’s risky to buy the jeans without seeing full product details.

The retailer has lost a sale. You might even take to Facebook to relay your negative experience to others.

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The lesson here is not to underestimate the power of your product descriptions. The words you use can make or break a sale.

The importance of product descriptions

When you have an online store, your customers aren’t greeted by a sales person who can take them through the purchase and answer questions.

Instead, your product descriptions help persuade visitors to make a purchase. Your product pages are prime retail space and your product description puts meat on the bones.

However, all too often, online shops simply copy a manufacturer’s product description and leave it at that. There are two issues with this:

  • That shop is probably not the only one copying and pasting. There might be dozens or even hundreds of sites talking about the same product in the same way. Where’s the competitive advantage?
  • When it indexes web pages, Google looks for text that doesn’t appear anywhere else online. If it finds duplicate content, your site could get pushed further down the search results.

An online product description needs to explain what the product is, why people need it and why they should buy from you — all in a limited amount of space.

So how do you write a winning product description?

Introducing ModCloth.com

ModCloth.com is a US online shop that sells vintage-inspired clothing. The clothes are eye-catching, but it’s the product descriptions that really sell them.

The team at ModCloth.com seem to have an excellent understanding of who they’re selling to. As a result, that really comes through in their descriptive, thought-provoking copywriting.

Often, their product descriptions tell the story of what you’ll do while wearing their clothes. Take this mirror imagination dress:

ModCloth.com product description

Modcloth is not just selling a dress. It is selling the experience of wearing the dress. You can take the same approach: tell your customers how your product will improve their life.

Killer product descriptions aren’t necessarily hard to write. Once you know the key ingredients, you can use them again and again.

Here are six ways to write a winning product description:

1. Make it scannable

A solid product description must be easy to scan. A reader should be able to skim through it in seconds.

People don’t read every word online, so you should assume their eyes will skip over product descriptions in search of keywords. To make your product descriptions easy to scan, follow these tips:

  • Use bullet points to list features and benefits
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short
  • Use sub headings
  • Write as if you are speaking directly to the customer

2. Identify pain points

Pain points are things that frustrate or anger your customers. They want these problems solved. Do that, and you can bag a customer for life.

But remember, your product descriptions should be short and sweet. So when you explain how your product solves your customers’ problems, you must zero in on the most important pain points.

3. Provide evidence for superlatives

Superlatives are words like ‘best’, ‘most’, and ‘greatest’. They describe something as being the number one in some way. They’re often used in product descriptions. For instance: ‘The new iPhone 7 is the most advanced smart phone in the world’.

However, superlatives can make your description sound insincere, unless you justify them.

To show you how that works, here’s the same example, but rewritten to justify the superlative: ‘The new iPhone 7 is the world’s most advanced smart phone, with higher resolution, a hyper-sensitive touch-screen, unparalled sound quality, and lightning-fast processing speeds.’

If you want people to believe claims you make, give them reasons to do so.

4. Tell a story

Make your product meaningful and relevant to the customer by telling them a story: they’ll be more open to listening and engaging, and forget that they are being sold to.

A story can be simple and brief. It could be a previous customer’s positive experience, or the story behind the materials used in the product.

5. Think about SEO

Compelling descriptions will convert website visitors into customers. But how do you get them to find your website in the first place?

That’s what SEO is for. You can boost it by including relevant keywords in your product descriptions.

Don’t overdo it or sacrifice readability by stuffing keywords into your descriptions, but focus on explaining the product in detail. Make sure you also use keywords in the name or title of the product.

6. Share social proof

Social proof is evidence from other people to support your product claims. It can include testimonials and reviews, endorsements and accreditations.

These help close the deal by increasing customer confidence. Whatever your product is, customers like to see assurances from their peers to back up your claims.

Social proof can vastly improve your copy’s effectiveness. Make sure your product descriptions incorporate it – along with the other five characteristics – and you’ll soon start selling more online.

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