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How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

Good copywriting is your best salesperson. Bad copywriting is customer repellent. In the game to win customers, product descriptions are your last chance to win a customer's heart and hard-earned money. If your writing practice involves copying and pasting product features from the manufacturer's website, well, you might want to take out a pen and paper cause we have some work to do.

I've headed the content department for a community of 16 million people, driven hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, and written hundreds of product descriptions for countless brands.

Here's something I've learned.
The best product descriptions make people envision the pleasure of their life with the product in it. And the pain or void they'll be left with if they don't buy it.


In this article, I'm going to show you how to write product descriptions that actually sell.



Write to your ideal customer

Try to please everyone. And you'll end up pleasing no one. Writing product copy to some huge undefined audience will have your copy feeling vague and impersonal. Let me put it to you this way. When diffused broadly light loses its power, but when magnified to a pinpoint, it becomes a laser and can cut through steel.

The best product descriptions read as if they're speaking directly to one person. When it comes to writing your own product descriptions, start by imagining the ideal buyer. What do they value? What are their aspirations and what are their pain points? This is the one time where talking to yourself, probably isn't a cause for concern.

Have a conversation with this imaginary customer and unearth, their desires and motivations. If you've done your homework by researching and interviewing your target market, this will be a lot easier. So don't skip that step. How does your customer speak and what would prevent them from buying today? Consult these topics directly when writing your copy to lower buyer resistance.


Entice customers with benefits


Here's something you should never forget.

Customers aren't really buying products, they're buying results, or at least a perceived result. Customers always want to know what's in the product for them. Write product descriptions from the perspective of the buyer, not from the perspective of the seller. Understand their desires and problems.

How does your product make the customer feel happier, healthier, or more productive? What problems, glitches, or potential hassles does your product help solve? People can be coaxed, but never driven, so coax them with benefits. But make sure you're specific when discussing these benefits or they may come off inauthentic.

Don't make blanket statements, but rather tie benefits to specific product attributes. A product description that does an amazing example of this is this product description by Nike. You see how they use their headlines to show specific product benefits such as extreme responsiveness or lockdown support.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

It really gives you the feeling that by simply wearing these shoes, your game would be drastically elevated. Do not sell just a product, sell an experience.


Avoid cliches

Sorry to take you back to English class, but when you're stuck for words and you don't know what else to add, often we end up resorting to something super bland, that we've heard a million times before. And as a result, it's lost almost all its meaning or weight in a customer's eyes. These cliche phrases are some of the worst offenders.

1. High quality
2. Best in class
3. Cutting edge
4. Revolutionary
5. Huge savings and unique.

At best, these phrases sound lazy. At worst, they sound desperate. Every entrepreneur is going to say that their product is the best. And if you roll your eyes every time you read it, I don't blame you. You become less persuasive when a potential buyer reads your product description and starts saying to themselves, yeah, yeah, no, no.

So something that I really often hear when people are writing product descriptions, is that the particular product they're writing about might not have a lot to be said about it. So to prove that sentiment wrong, we're going to pick a relatively simple product and write a product description for it.

In this case, it's going to be a jump rope. Now, we need a snappy title. So we're going to call this the Ninja jump rope because it gives the idea that this will improve agility.

So here's how we're going to start.
The Ninja jump rope is the perfect jump rope for athletes searching for a more fluid jumping experience. So when we get here, we're going to want to make sure we show a specific product benefit in an H2.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

You'll make sure you want to use an H2 because the H1 is going to be reserved for the actual title of the product page.

So in the H2, we're going to write Burn 1000 calories per hour. Anywhere, anytime you can see how this is a pretty powerful value proposition because we can assume that by someone wanting to use a jump rope, they're wanting to burn calories.


Write like a human. Be specific.

And they probably also like the flexibility that a jump rope provides in terms of not being chained to a gym. Empower yourself to engage in high-intensity cardio workouts anywhere with this lightweight jump rope.

Now we're going to want to highlight another product attribute. In this case, we're going to go for the buttery smoothness that everyone wants. Ultimate smoothness for heightened performance. Take your agility to the next level, this lightweight aluminum ball bearing system, propels the rope to slice through the air with fluid precision.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

You can see how we made it pretty visceral. People are going to begin to imagine themselves using this rope and maybe doing some cool tricks. So there you haven't we took a relatively simple product that might not have that many features, but we really highlighted the benefits and that allowed us to paint a picture in the mind of a prospective buyer, which in essence, the manufacturer's desire.


Speak to your customer's eye to eye, like you would if they were standing right in front of you. Speak, simply. Speak like a real person. Don't dress it up too much. It feels inauthentic and it makes people feel suspicious. When it comes to superlatives, use them wisely. Superlatives sound insincere unless you can clearly prove why your product is the best, the easiest, or the most advanced.

Saying that your rain jacket is more waterproof than another rain jacket, well, that leaves room for doubt. But saying that your performance shell rain jacket is 67% more waterproof than nylon rain jackets, that makes people visualize scientific comparisons. Simply put you need to back up why your product is the best with actual facts.

Take a look at this product description by Vega Sport. It clearly States here. It was voted. Number one sports nutrition product of the year 2020 by over 40,000 customers.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

It's sincere and it's definitely backed up by facts. If your product is really the best, always provide specific proof as to why this is the case. Alternatively, have a customer say it for you and use a testimonial quote saying why your product is the best. Otherwise, tone your product copy down a little.


Appeal to imagination

Try appealing to your customer's imagination. Think of how many times you've held something in a store and imagined your life with it. And maybe you've even had that feeling that it was already yours because you knew you were going to buy it. When selling online, we want to do that but with a copy. When a person imagines that something already belongs to them, they will go to great efforts to make it so.

We want to let our readers imagine what it would be like to own our product. So goes the number one rule of writing: Show, don't tell. There's solid scientific evidence to suggest that perceived ownership a customer feels over a product is increased when they touch it. And even when they imagine touching it, this scented candle product description does an amazing job of doing just that.

Inspired by the vibrant June's all-day cafe and wine bar in Austin, Texas, this candle recalls memories of late nights spent at cafes in the Le Marais district of Paris and eclectic evenings in Austin's famous South Congress Avenue. It's the embodiment of ease and sophistication. Wow.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

Notice how the description paints a picture of what it would be like to smell this candle and the elegance that it would probably bring to your home.

To practice this copywriting technique, start a sentence with the word imagine and finish the sentence or paragraph by explaining how your reader will feel when owning and using this product. Then rephrase the sentence, take out the word imagine, so that the reader begins in the middle of the action.


Use mini-stories

cut through rational barriers with mini-stories. Including lots of stories in your product descriptions lowers rational barriers against persuasion techniques. In other words, we forget we're being sold to. For thousands of years, stories have been used to tattoo important information in a person's memory. Just how effective are they?


Research shows that stories are 20 times more memorable than facts. Ask yourself. What story can you tell about the work that went into creating your product? What obstacles did you need to overcome? What inspired creating the product in the first place and was the product tested, using any crazy methodology? Chances are you have a story for any one of these points? 

The key thing to consider though is keeping the stories focused and short. No one likes a random story and no one likes a rambling one.


Seduce with sensory words

Sensory words have proven to increase sales because they engage more brain processing power. Just look at any ad for a restaurant or food brand ever. Their copy is dripping with words that evoke the five senses. Sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste.

Sensory words really help your message slip past the iron gates of customers' logic centers. Just check out this product description for this chocolate cheesecake. It's the definition of indulgent. A tender & chewy cookie crumble base, a creamy chocolate cheesecake center, a rich & mouth-melting chocolate ganache on top. Every bite is a mouth-melting experience. Okay, so my mouth is watering.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

This product description is designed to trigger your senses and manufacture a serious chocolate craving. And it definitely did. When writing product descriptions make them vivid.


Use social proof

As multiple social experiments have shown, conformity is an incredibly powerful driver of human behavior. Sociologist Solomon Ash actually proved this, when he put a bunch of people in a room, showed them all the graph of four lines and asked, which was longest.

B was clearly the longest, but when actors who were in on the experiment started saying C was, a significant amount of subjects were influenced to change their mind and conform with the strangers. That same psychological principle that draws us to what's popular is equally present in the world of e-commerce.

Other customers are some of your best salespeople. We often look to others for advice on products we don't know about. So leverage that by including social proof elements, such as ratings and reviews from actual customers.

Here's another tip.
Including an image of a person can add credibility to a testimonial. It also makes an online company more approachable and makes customer relationships feel a lot more intimate.


Make your description scannable.

People online have a tendency not to read things, but rather scan things. By now our social media scrolling habits are firmly baked into who we are. So package your descriptions with a clear scannable design to make them more appealing to potential customers.

For example, just take a look at this product description by the B Clean Juicery from Village Juicery. Immediately I know what fruits and vegetables are in it, the vitamins it contains, and that it's popular, all in a very quick glance.

How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell


If you want to try this for your product descriptions, here are some immediate areas to focus on.


Entice your web visitors with headlines.

Rather than using basic headlines like "Benefits", you sub-headers, that are more descript and highlight specific benefits, just like Nike did when their headline read "Extreme Responsiveness". Use easy to scan bullet points, because they give the reader a feeling of making progress and make reading copy feel a lot more approachable. 

They're also great for SEO.
Use plenty of white space and increase your font size to promote readability. Make it easy on the eyes.



Split Test It

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is assuming they know what customers want instead of finding out for sure. Writing marketing copy is especially subjective. Even the smartest people in the room often end up being dead wrong. Your goal is running tests to break your assumptions, find out what works, cut the losses and keep the winners.

As copywriter dan Kennedy puts it, customers vote with their wallets.
How to Write Product Descriptions That Actually Sell

Apps like Optimizely, make running split tests especially easy. Write different versions of product descriptions that seek to test different variables, such as a headline. Be sure only to test one variable at once. So you can accurately measure the result against your hypothesis.

So there you have it. 10 tips for writing better product descriptions. And if you apply these diligently, you'll see increased sales over time. Always remember, the product descriptions are your last chance to delight your customer. So take the time to make them great.

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