Whether you sell office supplies or flying hovercrafts, product descriptions are a cornerstone of e-commerce (not to mention of course catalogues and point-of-sale materials). Plenty of sales have been lost by not effectively communicating benefits to your consumer, or simply losing a reader’s interest. Below we’ve collected six top tips to help you write exciting, engaging and effective product descriptions.
1. Get excited about your product!
We know, we know, it’s easier to get excited about some products than others. Full-size replica Batmobiles probably sell themselves, whereas drain cleaner is more of a tough sell. Nevertheless, for copywriters this means it’s even more important to get excited about the less inspiring products. Remember, if you’re not going to show some enthusiasm, it’s highly unlikely a customer will.
This is a piece of product copy for towel rails.
Towel rails people, towel rails!
2. Address your reader
This tip is lifted straight from page one of the copywriter’s handbook. Using ‘you’ and ‘your’ is a great way of drawing in your reader and it will also keep you, the writer, focused on what the audience wants to read, not what you want to say.
3. Tell the reader a story
One of the most effective ways to distinguish one product from another is to create a mini–story for each item. It’ll help you breathe life into your copy and stop you repeating the same old features and benefits in every description.
This description for monkey-picked tea has everything; culture, history, ethical reassurance and a good dose of humour – we particularly like their overly earnest payoff line.
4. Strike a balance between features and benefits
When writing product descriptions it can be tempting to get caught up in the features of a product and forget about the benefits. Simply, a feature is a characteristic of whichever product you may be writing about, while a benefit is the tangible effect this characteristic has for the consumer – the part that really matters to your shopper. Don’t let them click off without knowing what it is about your product that will really change their life – or at least leave them feeling happier, safer or healthier than before.
While the features of this Bosch lawnmower may be a bit of a mouthful, we also counted no less than eight benefits for the consumer, from always being ready to use to giving your lawn a lovely striped finish. Not bad going for a description featuring the sentence, “The Bosch Rotak 370 Lithium-ion cordless rotary lawnmower, with High Power 36 V / 4.5 Ah Lithium-ion battery.”
5. Talk to someone who knows
When you’re writing product descriptions you can’t over-estimate the value of talking to an expert. If you’re struggling to find the story behind a product (see 3), or you’re having difficulty working out the consumer benefits of a particular feature (see 4) then it’s time to call in the people who know it best – the product designers. Chatting to somebody who knows the products you’re writing about will often turn up a new angle or previously unmentioned feature that cracks the job right open.
If you can’t get access to a product designer see if you can track down a potential consumer for whichever product you’re writing about. Talking to people who’ve used the product is a great way of understanding what most appeals to them about it – and hence what’s likely to appeal to future buyers. Alternatively you can try talking to a sales assistant at a store selling similar items, or check online reviews and use those insights to shape and refine your copy.
6. Get the tone right – for your audience and your brand
It’s all very well producing a pithy product description, but if the tone isn’t consistent with the brand voice, it’s going to be confusing for your reader. Here’s a great example from Jack Wills of copy that reinforces brand perception and gets under the skin of the target audience.
In the very first line the pricey outdoor-meets-leisurewear outfitters drop in a reference to staying in bed all day, instantly chiming with notoriously slugabed student consumers. Adjectives like classic and generous reinforce the brand’s luxury heritage appeal.
Don’t worry, we can help! Drop us an email and we’ll work out the best way Speak Media can improve your product descriptions.