How to Write Product Descriptions that Sell

Jul 7, 2021
8 minute read
How to Write Product Descriptions that Sell

Online competition is fierce. With the barrier to entry for online retail both relatively cost-effective and low, differentiating your brand and product is more important than ever. And the best way to do that in an online marketplace is through your product descriptions—succinct copy that lays out what makes your product different.

You know your products are great but your ideal customers need to differentiate them from the rest of the options on the market. And you don’t have the advantage of meeting your customers face-to-face, which means your product descriptions are crucial.

Many retailers entering the market use their product descriptions on the basic level—to describe the actual product. But these descriptions can be so much more. They should be one of the first steps you think about when you start your online business.

If you’re looking to bring buyers to your site and persuade them to purchase your products, it’s time to dig into the nitty-gritty details of product descriptions. In this article, we’ll cover 13 different ways you can make your product descriptions stronger and stronger.

What is a product description?

Product descriptions are both exactly what they sound like and so much more. On a practical level, they comprise the marketing copy that explains what a product is and why it’s worth purchasing.

But a good product description goes beyond simply sharing the details of a product. It supplies customers with all the necessary information that they require to make a purchasing decision. That includes the features and their benefits, how the product solves their problem and what it will feel like to own or use your product.

Product descriptions are a critical component of an online retail business. When writing a product description, your overall goal is to convince your target buyer that yours is the product they need. It goes beyond simply explaining the product to actually selling it.

How to write a product description that sells

You have three goals with writing product descriptions.

First, your product description has to qualify a product—in essence, your ideal customer is looking for a solution to a problem and it needs to be clear that your product solves it.

Second, go beyond the solution and provide a compelling reason that the prospective buyer needs to purchase the product—and it’s best if you focus that reason squarely on them.

Finally, product descriptions need to help your ideal buyer find your products through search engines. They act as a sales associate for your brand that’s working all day, every day.

With these in mind, here are 13 tips and tricks for writing effective product descriptions:

1. Commit to an audience

It’s true that there are probably a lot of people out there who would benefit from purchasing your product, but you simply can’t sell to everyone. At least, not in your description.

If you write your product description with all audiences in mind, you’ll end up convincing none of them that your product is a must-have. The best, most effective descriptions address a particular audience and their specific needs and pain points. If you cast too wide of a net while crafting the description, you won’t end up resonating on a personal level.

A targeted product description answers specific audience questions using language that your audience not only understands but uses themselves. It uses personal language, such as words like “you,” that directly address the audience. And, most importantly, it’s not afraid to have a little personality.

2. Focus on benefits

When you have a great product on your shelf that you’re excited to sell, you tend to get giddy about the product features and specifications. But the focus of your audience is them—they need to know what product benefit they get with it. What will they gain?

Talking about features is okay, but talking about the specific benefits of the key feature of your product is where the true description gold lies. Address specifically how the thread count of your sheets will make their dreams sweeter or the aromatic coffee will give them a sustainable morning jolt.

Focus on illustrating how your product solves a problem your audience currently faces. Tell them how it will make them healthier, happier, or more productive. Sell the benefits of your product, not necessarily the product itself.

3. Be specific

No company out there is going to tell you they make poor quality products that make your life worse. Everyone adds bland descriptors like “quality products” and “superior construction” to their product descriptions and, quite honestly, they mean nothing.

Using superfluous words and descriptors puts your products in the excessively average category. If the status quo is “quality” and “superior” then the differentiator needs to be bigger or more detailed than that.

You can avoid bland descriptions like this by being specific in your product descriptions. Don’t say that you make quality sheets, talk about the thread count, materials used, and the quality of sleep the buyer will get. It’s about artful impressions not telling readers who you want them to think.

Use your descriptions to add credibility by being really specific about the what and why of your product. You only have so many words before you lose your readers, don’t waste them on empty text.

4. Justify your superlatives

Beyond avoiding bland descriptors that everyone else uses, you want to step the breaks a bit on the superlatives. When you use them, it sounds insincere and cheap.

If your product is the “best” or “most,” you need to prove it to potential customers. And you don’t prove it by simply saying you make the best toilet paper on the market. Your audience already assumes you think that.

Your justification should also consider how you price your products. If you’re selling a pair of $300 jeans but your product description reads like you could pick up a similar pair at the local department store, then it needs some work.

Which brings up the discussion of how to prove it. Superlatives are best said by someone else who has purchased your product with a review. Or you can do this by being specific with the key product details.

5. Appeal to imagination

Physical retailers have an advantage over online retailers because when prospective buyers actually hold their products in their hands, their desire to have them increases. Unfortunately, that same experience simply can’t be matched online.

Instead, online retailers need to appeal to the imagination of buyers to tap into that emotional buying mindset. Consumers need to imagine themselves having the product and imagine their lives with the product in it. That means you are responsible for explaining how they’ll feel owning or using your product.

With that in mind, you want to write your compelling product descriptions in a way that customers can imagine owning it. Pair a well-written description with crystal clear images and engaging videos to create the whole picture.

6. Tell a story

Stories are one of the most impactful tools we have in our marketing arsenals. People rarely buy products or services, they buy the story behind t