Research suggests that poor product information is the cause of as many as 20% of unsuccessful online purchases.
That percentage amounts to nearly 12 trillion pounds a year if you consider how much money is spent online around the world.
So how do you write product descriptions that convert?
Just follow these 11 simple tips…
- Write with your audience in mind
This might sound obvious but it’s easy to forget about your customers when you’re focusing on all the minutiae that comes with writing well.
To keep your audience in your mind’s eye, it helps to have a set of company personas in place.
Personas are profiles that represent groups of similar people within your target audience, for example ‘open water swimmers aged 25 to 40’.
Developed using quantitative and qualitative research, these personas help you understand how best to communicate with your customers, though providing a guide to everything from their pain points and ambitions to their fears and other interests.
A company Tone of Voice will also help you to write with your audience in mind.
A Tone of Voice is a list of rules on how to speak to your customers. It will include dos and don’ts on elements like how formally your clients like to be addressed, whether they think puns are appropriate in copy and whether they appreciate slang words or jargon, etc.
- Use the second person
When you write in the second person you address your customers directly using terms like ‘you’ and ‘yours’.
Research suggests that writing in the second person ‘enhances customer involvement and brand attitude as a result of increasing the extent that consumers engage in self-referencing’.
- Highlight the benefits
When writing your product descriptions, take a moment to consider how each aspect of your product provides a benefit to your customers.
Let’s take a description of a frying pan as an example…
This 20cm stainless steel frying pan has a Teflon non-stick base and flared sides.
Description of the benefits
At 20cm, this frying pan is the ideal size for making meals for two. Its Teflon non-stick base ensures you won’t burn food and washing up is easy. The flared sides mean transferring food from pan to plate is mess free.
- Channel Chekhov
Famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov once said ‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass’.
You can use this wisdom in your product writing by showing your customers why your products are the ones for them rather than telling them.
Let’s take a mattress description as an example.
A ‘tell’ description
This micro spring mattress will ensure you have a good night’s sleep.
A ‘show’ description
The springs in this mattress are as fine as a paperclip, so you won’t be disturbed by lumps and bumps in the night.
- Consider the five senses
When customers shop in the real world, they have the benefit of being able to experience a product in all its 4D glory.
They can pick it up, feel its textures and, with some products, they can listen to it, smell it, and even get a sample to see what it tastes like.
They can’t do this online, so you have to fill in gaps for them.
Where possible, try to get across the sensory elements of a product.
Where relevant, describe how it feels, sounds, tastes and smells.
- Make the finer details ‘snackable’
Website visitors don’t read web pages the same way they read a novel or a magazine article.
79% scan pages rather than read them word for word.
So it’s important to make it easy for visitors to pick out keywords and vital information from a page.
There are a few ways you can do this.
- Put keywords in bold
- Use bullet points to list key features
- Split text up using subheadings
- Fast track your keyword research
Search engine optimization is crucial to attracting visitors to your site.
However, SEO tools can be costly and carrying out the SEO work itself can take time.
There are a few ways to research keywords that are free and quick, however.
Google Suggest: Type a keyword like ‘mattress’ into a simple Google search and the search engine will create a list of terms that people commonly search for that relate to that keyword.
For mattress, those words include mattress topper, mattress protector, mattress sizes, mattress online, mattress next day and so on.
Ubersuggest: This free tool lets you type in a keyword and it will give you data like the search volume for that keyword, how much competition there is for that keyword in organic search, related keywords and content ideas relating to that keyword.
Answer the Public: This website lets you type in a keyword and it will come up with a list of commonly asked questions relating to that keyword. You could use these as FAQs on your product pages.
Tagcrowd: This free resource is handy if you want to find out which keywords your competitors are using. All you need to do is enter a webpage link into the site and it will come up with a cloud of the words that are most commonly used on that site.
- Use power words
Power words are words that impact readers psychologically and inspire action.
There are lots of categories of power words, but here are a few to consider:
Words that reflect a reader’s sense of self: Like pioneering, strong, rare, secret, powerful, quirky, daring, confident, happy, insider.
Words that imply urgency: like limited edition, exclusive, limited time, scarce, selling fast, running out – be wary of using too many of these as it can come across as pushy and deter customers.
Words that make readers feel safe: like tested, certified, endorsed, proven, lifetime guarantee, authentic.
- Use the right images to support your words
Of course, there’s only so much of an impact words can have on customers.
On study found that 67% of consumers said that high quality visual content was more important than product descriptions.
So, your product descriptions must be supported by good quality images in order to secure sales.
Here are few handy hints for featuring the best images:
- Show products from a range of angles
- Take photos that demonstrate the product in use
- Include close-up shots to showcase the finer details
- Include reviews
Reviews are essential to showcasing the trustworthiness of your site.
In fact, Trustpilot recently found that 90% of people read reviews before making a purchase.
If you have a WordPress site, you can use the WP Customer Reviews plugin to add reviews to your product pages.
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