This article is the third and final article in a series covering how to write powerful product descriptions that sell and includes templates you can use to fill in the blanks with your product details.
If you’d like the free worksheets that go with these articles, please sign up for my newsletter below:
If you haven’t read the first two articles please check those out so you can properly fill in the blank:
- ARTICLE #1 – The two reasons people buy
- ARTICLE #2 – 3 questions you must know the answer to
Let’s also recap…
STEP 1 (the easy button for writing product descriptions) – KNOW WHO YOU’RE SELLING TO
The very first step in writing product descriptions that sell is knowing who your customer is.
The biggest mistake business owners make, is thinking their product is for everyone, or for a wide variety of people, or staying too general when defining their customer.
Let’s say I sell bath products.
If I stay too general with who my customer is and say my products are for women, it makes it difficult to choose the right words, use the right writing style, point out the right features and benefits, etc.
Women have a wide range of wants, needs, skin types, lifestyles, budgets, pain points, etc. and my product descriptions couldn’t possibly speak to all of them.
And if I stick to general points (e.g. bath salts will help you relax during bath time), my product description won’t “speak” to anyone.
I’m a woman, and reading that bath salts are relaxing isn’t going to make me feel like I must have those bath salts.
There needs to be something more specific that creates a connection between me and those bath salts. And to get specific, you must know who specifically you’re speaking to.
If instead, I get specific about the type of customer my brand is aimed at, it makes writing a description so much easier.
Now imagine I know exactly who my customer is: women who workout.
Now I can make some fairly accurate assumptions about my customers, such as:
- She gets sore muscles – in a product description, that may translate into the benefits of bath salts for muscle recovery
- She cares about her health – in a product description, that may translate into the health benefits of the ingredients I use
- She likes to look good and feel good – in a product description, that may translate into the feeling I want to evoke
One key piece of information about your customer can open the vault to the details you need to know to sell to your customers.
In this example “working out” is a key piece of information that will help me fill in the details of my product descriptions.
What’s that one key piece of information about your customers that will help you connect with them?
HOW TO FIND A GOLDMINE OF CUSTOMERS explains the one key piece of information you must know about your customers. As well as, how to uncover details about your customers that will make writing product descriptions a breeze.
STEP 2 – KNOW WHY YOUR CUSTOMERS BUY
Every purchase has a purpose. No one is buying for the sake of buying.
When you know who your customer is (step 1), then you can determine the main reason they’re interested in buying your product.
And once you know what’s driving a purchase, you can play that up in your product descriptions.
Let’s say my bath salts are called “Muscle Recovery Bath Salts”. There may be many great features I want to point out. For example:
- The beautiful jar they’re packaged in
- The scent of the bath salts
- How baths are great for relieving stress
- The benefits of the ingredients for the skin
- How the bath salts are handmade in small batches to ensure quality
- The quality of the ingredients and where they’re sourced from
That list can get pretty long and the description can become overwhelming to the shopper. They don’t want to read a novel or hear about details they don’t care about.
Shoppers want to know what’s in it for them.
The main reason my customers are buying my product is to soothe their sore muscles after a workout.
I may briefly mention the quality ingredients or the scent. However, the main focus of my product description should be on the pain point of sore muscles (e.g achy feeling and having to wait until their muscles are healed to workout again), and the pleasure of using my product (e.g. soothing sore muscles and quicker recovery).
Use article #1 (The 2 Reasons People Buy) to determine what the main focus of your product description should be.
STEP 3 – SPEAK TO YOUR CUSTOMER
It’s important to always keep your customer in mind.
Which keywords do they use when describing their problem, the pleasure they’re after, or your products? Don’t choose keywords you like to use; as the maker of the product, you may have a much different perspective than your customers. I may want to get creative and call my bath salts “Magical Elf Dust” because it feels like 100 elves have massaged your muscles after soaking in my bath salts…but are my customers searching for Magical Elf Dust? Probably not.
What type of writing style does your customer would prefer? Do they expect the businesses they buy from to be formal and professional? Or to have a more laid-back style of writing and show more of the brand’s personality?
Which benefits do they care about? This is an area that’s important to look at from your customer’s perspective. I may care that I spend hours sourcing the best ingredients and creating each batch of bath salts to ensure quality. But does my customer care? They want to hear about how my bath salts are going to help soothe their sore muscles; not how many hours it took me to make a bag of bath salts.
How do they want to feel? A couple lines of text are not going to get your shoppers imagining using your product; your descriptions should tell a story that evokes an emotion. Do you want to make them feel excited about wearing your product? Proud to have a beautifully decorated home? Luxurious while applying your face oils and creams?
Why should they choose you? Being handmade, high-quality, unique, one-of-a-kind, made with love, etc. does not set a business apart. Every business believes they have a unique, quality product. What do you really have to offer that sets your business and products apart from your competitors? Online, your competitors are only a click away, so you must give your shoppers a good reason to stay on your page and buy from you. I don’t have to be the only business selling bath salts that help with muscle recovery. But I do need to show a side of my business that makes my shoppers feel it’s perfectly suited for them.
Check out article #2 (3 Answers you Must Know) to determine how to write product descriptions that really speak to your customer.
STEP 4 – WRITING YOUR PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS
Now you can apply the information you uncovered in the first 2 articles of this series to fill in the sections and blanks of this product description template.
To recap, you should now be able to define:
- Who – who is reading your product descriptions?
- Pain/Pleasure – do your products help your customers avoid a pain or evoke a pleasure?
- Feel – what’s the feeling you want shoppers to feel as they read your description? Go deeper and more specific than pain or pleasure.
- Why – how are you different from your competitors and what are the features and benefits of your products? Why should people buy from you rather than the next guy?
You should play around with your descriptions to see what works best for you and your products. Keep track of:
- Conversion rates – how many visitors end up buying. 1 to 2% is the average conversion rate.
- Bounce rates – how many pages people visit once on your website. You want bounce rates to be low. A high bounce rate (e.g. 90%) means majority of people land on your website and leave without checking out other listings/About Me page/shopping cart page, etc.
- Average time on page – the average of how long users spend on your listing page. You want this number to be higher, signifying they’re reading and engaging with your listing.
Below is an effective format for you to follow for your product descriptions.
Add as much or as little as you need to each section based on your product and its information.
There are some additional tips at the end of this article, which are really important to keep in mind. So be sure you don’t miss those!
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION SECTION 1 – HEADLINE
What’s your headline?
Not your product title. Your opening line.
You need to instantly grab shopper’s attention and entice them to read more.
“Handmade green bag. 12 inches x 16 inches.” Is boring! Not to mention, the shopper probably already got that from the product title and photo before even landing on the listing page.
If you could only say one thing about your product to encourage shoppers to buy, what would it be?
Consider the work you completed in article #1 & article #2 of Product Descriptions that Sell and your product’s pain or pleasure points, a picture you want to paint, benefits, etc.
You want your shoppers to immediately understand why they should care about your product. What does it do for them?
Keep the heading short and sweet.
You may use the heading to:
- Point out the pain they want to avoid – “Don’t let your laptop get damaged”
- Evoke the pleasure they want to gain – “A laptop bag that looks like a purse”
- Describe who the product is perfect for – “The perfect laptop bag for students”
- Paint a picture to evoke a specific feeling – “A laptop bag that adds style to school”
- Note how your product is different – “Finally! A laptop bag that’s stylish & functional”
- Share a key benefit – “A laptop bag that will last from student to workingwoman”
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION SECTION 2 – PAIN, PLEASURE OR BOTH
Below are several fill-in-the-blank descriptions for you to try out. Or create your own based on your pain/pleasure/solution/features/benefits/etc.
You’ll need the information you defined in article #1 and article #2 so be sure you’ve completed that first.
PAIN & PLEASURE
I started creating _________________ (your product) when I was ________________ (describe you as your ideal customer, before you created a solution) and ______________________ (pain). I was ____________________(specific feeling, e.g. tired/frustrated/fed up) with ______________________ (current options available). I wanted _____________________ (pleasure/dream scenario).
I created a product with ___________________ (features) so that _______________________ (benefits).
I started selling mix and match art prints when I was fresh out of college and renting a small dingy apartment I wasn’t allowed to paint or make changes to. I was tired of feeling like a guest in my own home and wanted a cozy space that reflected my style.
I create colorful pieces of original art and turn them into prints, which are framed and ready to be hung. The pieces in each collection can be mixed and matched to suit any home and fill any wall, big or small, on a budget.
I know how frustrating/difficult/etc. it is when ________________ (current product options available or pain). Which is why I created ________________ (name of product) that has ________________ (features) for _______________ (benefits and or pleasure).
I know how frustrating it is when you find a beautiful knitted hat that looks great on and is incredibly warm but also incredibly itchy. Which is why I created my line of slouchy wool hats with a soft fleece liner to keep your head warm, comfortable and stylish.
For those times when ___________________ (pain), this ________________ (product name) will ________________ (pleasure). It has __________________ (features) to ____________________ (benefits).
For those cold dry winters, this organic hand moisturizer will soothe your skin. It has shea butter and essential oils to deeply moisturize and soften dry, cracked hands.
Perfect for ___________________________ (pleasure), these _______________ (product name) can be _______________ (paint a picture). They’re ______________ (features) to _______________ (benefits). No more _____________________ (pain).
Perfect for looking pulled together and on-trend, these bar stud earrings can be worn with any outfit, dressy or casual. They’re made of surgical grade stainless steel and are 100% hypoallergenic. No more red, irritated ears when you take your earrings out.
Most ________________________ (your type of product) are/do/have ___________________ (current product options available). Which causes ___________________ (pain they want to avoid).
My ____________________ (name of product) will/is/has ___________________ (pleasure they want to gain). The _____________________ (features) ensure _____________________ (benefits).
Most pillows are sold individually and can be hard to mix and match once you find one you love. Which means you have to go from store to store looking for the perfect colors and patterns that look good together.
My pillow collections are created so you can choose 2 or more shades of a color, fabric patterns, and styles that work together to give your living room a custom, designer look. Each color collection has 10 options to choose from so you can easily find pillows that fit your style and match.
Be sure to think about the specific emotion you want to evoke and how you can help the shopper imagine that positive feeling.
Help shoppers imagine your product in their lives. How will they wear it? Where will they display it? What will they display it with? Where will they use it? How often will they apply it?
These ____________________ (product name) look/pair amazing with ______________ (other items – paint a detailed picture). Perfect for _____________________ (occasion) at ____________________ (place) in the ________________ (time – e.g. evening/winter/summer/etc.), when you want to feel ___________________________ (pleasure). They have ______________ (feature) so that ________________ (benefit).
This wood beaded tassel necklace looks amazing with a basic tee or tank, jean shorts and a messy bun. Perfect for those hot summer days in the park when you want to look casual but pulled together. The necklace has a clasp at the back so you can adjust the length and have the tassel sit in the right spot.
This/these ______________________ (product name) look/s great displayed with ____________________(paint a detailed picture). Perfect for _______________________ (place) to give the space a __________________ feel. They’re _______________(feature) for ______________(benefit).
This modern triangle quilt in soft greens and blues looks amazing with grey and white decor in a baby’s room but will work well with any neutrals or warm toned blues. Perfect for a nursery to add a bit of color but keep the space calming. It’s 100% cotton with warm cotton batting and is 42 by 36 inches. The perfect size to cuddle baby with, cover them up in a stroller or fold over the side of a crib without too much bulk.
Use/Consume (bath & body products, stationery, toys, food items, etc.)
This/these _________________________ (product name) is/are perfect for _________________________ (E.g. dry skin, staying organized, sparking the imagination, a snack, etc.) at ______________________ (time they might be used/consumed. E.g. relaxing bath time, work days, play time, before the gym). They’re ______________ (feature) for _____________ (benefit).
This wooden X & O game is perfect for keeping kids occupied and entertained during road trips. Each piece is made out of certified wood with no toxins so it’s safe for all ages and can be washed as needed. Each X and O piece has a drilled hole that fits on the grid’s pegs so pieces stay in place as the board is passed back and forth in the car.
This/these ___________________________ (product name) make the perfect gift for ______________________ (person) on ________________ (occasion). _______________ (customer or recipient) will love _________________ (feature) for ______________ (benefit).
This set of 10 Christmas cards is perfect to give to your quirky friends and family who could use a good laugh during the stressful holidays. You’ll love having a unique set of Christmas cards on hand to quickly send out when you get an unexpected card in the mail or a guest who pops by with fruit cake. The perfect way to say “thanks” or let someone know you’re thinking of them.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION SECTION 3 – DETAILED PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Describe the details of your handmade product the shopper can and can’t see through the photos.
If you didn’t cover all the features in the last section, point out anything else that may be important. If you’ve already pointed out each product feature in the last section, simply go back and ensure you were descriptive enough.
Use this trick:
Imagine there are no photos of your products. How would you describe it to someone?
“Green bag, 16 inches by 12 inches. Handmade” may turn into:
“A stylish laptop bag with a long adjustable strap as well as two handles so you can wear this bag comfortably across your body or hold it as a handbag. It’s a classic bowler shape, perfect size for even the biggest laptop, with a relaxed, casual feel. The green material is thick and durable and the jacquard texture adds a touch of elegance, complimented beautifully with gold hardware on the straps, zipper and pockets.”
Be sure this section also describes exactly what the buyer will be getting.
If you’ve taken lifestyle photos, photographed your products as part of a vignette or are showing more than one product within one photo, be sure you explain what is and isn’t part of the listing. You don’t want your buyer to think they’re getting a set of three when only one item in the photo is actually for sale.
- Add dimensions – if you don’t have other items in the photo, it can be hard to tell its size. Give exact dimensions (e.g. 12 inches x 16 inches) and take it a step further and put that size into perspective (e.g. “big enough to fit a large laptop and books” or “necklace pendent sits just below the collarbone.”)
- The color – colors can be skewed due to computer screen settings or the way the light hits the product when being photographed. Get detailed. “Deep Moss Green Bag” gives the shopper a better idea of the hue than simply writing “Green”.
- Ingredients/materials – list what’s important and required by law (e.g. if you’re selling items like cosmetics, clothing or food. More info on that: Soap & Cosmetic laws, Textile Label Laws and Packaging Laws for Handmade Goods). And try to keep it interesting. “Fusible interfacing” won’t get too many consumers excited but “Handbag is double interfaced to add strength and structure for your laptop” helps show the benefits of the material.
- Options – if your product is also available in other colors, sizes, scents, etc. be sure to list them here.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION SECTION 4 – BRING IT HOME
This section is optional but may really help close the deal and sell the shopper on your product. Consider whether you can add any of the following.
- Credibility – the proof is in the pudding when it comes to creativity; you don’t need a degree to prove you can paint, sew or knit. But it doesn’t hurt to back up that expertise by sharing any education or years of experience behind your talent. “I’ve taken advanced sewing courses and have been making and selling handbags throughout North America for the past 5 years.”
- Social Proof – whether we want to admit it or not, most of us are followers. How many times did you hear about Facebook before you created an account? Once several of your friends were on there, you were more likely to join. The same goes with products. The more we hear about other people loving a product, we feel more compelled to check it out for ourselves. Are you a part of a celebrity gifting group? List the celebrities who have received your product. You could also list any magazines or TV shows that have featured your product, how many items you’ve sold (e.g. “Loved by over 10,000 people!”) or any other social currency that may deem you as trendy in the consumers eyes (e.g. “Join 14k people and follow us on Instagram”).
- Urgency/Scarcity – people also love to own something unique and are more likely to purchase when there’s a bit of urgency. If you share that you have 50 of the item available, it doesn’t make the item feel unique or make the shopper feel as though they need to buy now. Stay honest though; if you say there’s only one of the item, there should only be one. You won’t have happy customers if they see the exact item listed in your shop after they purchase. “One of a kind. This fabric is vintage and there was only enough to make one bag. Once it’s gone…it’s gone!” lets the shopper know; if they like it, they should act now and the chance of seeing someone with a bag in the same fabric are slim to none. If your product is one you constantly make more of, you can try another scarcity tactic by stating how many of your item has been sold. “23 sold” could help the shopper feel as though supplies must be getting low.
- Perks – if there’s anything extra you offer with a purchase, list it here. It could be free gift-wrapping, “free” shipping, a small sample, etc.
- Reviews – stick a quote right in the middle of your description so your shopper doesn’t miss it. Not all website visitors will make it to the end of the listing to see the reviews or visit your “testimonial” page.
- Add-ons – are there any other items you sell that would work well with the item they’re considering purchasing? You can mention them in your description and provide links to the listings for them to check out.
- Instructions – think of whether there’s anything else the shopper might need to know when it comes to using and caring for your product. How do they clean it? Are there assembly or how to wear/use instructions?
- Shop policies – you don’t need to write them all out but if there’s something important that relates to the product, add a quick line. “Because this item is custom made, there are no returns”.
- CTA – give your shoppers a call to action. “Click the ADD TO CART button to purchase”. Sounds obvious but conversion rates do go up when you include a CTA.
- What happens next – let shoppers know if you get started on their orders that day, when they can expect their item to ship and if you’ll be in touch to confirm their order. If your item is commonly purchased as a gift, it’s a good idea to mention lead times. Lots of us are last minute shoppers 😉 How soon can you get the item to the gift recipient?
And finally, keep the following in mind for each of your descriptions.
- Be authentic – show who you are in your descriptions. If your products are fun and quirky, show that side of yourself in the writing style of your description. You also don’t want to come off as something you’re not. Don’t use “we” when it’s just you making the products and running the business or make it sound like someone else wrote the description for you (e.g. “Erin created this handbag as an alternative to the laptop bags currently offered.”). If people are shopping handmade, they likely understand that it’s a very small company.
- Remember; people scan – I know I’ve covered a lot of information here but I want to stress again, to use it in a way that’s best for your products. A handmade birthday card will likely only need a few sentences to cover everything. But a photograph may have a bigger story behind it and if it’s framed, may require more details on the frame and how the item is shipped. You don’t need to write a novel. You can pick and choose which aspects of the description you want to include and break it up however you like. Use short paragraphs, headings, bullet points, etc. to break up the content of your description and make it easier to read. You don’t want to make the shopper wade through too much text to find what’s important.
- Edit – After you’ve drafted your description, go back over and see if there’s anything you need to remove. Extra words, repetitive sentences, information that doesn’t clearly explain the benefits, etc. And be extra critical. As you read through for a final time, ask again “who cares?” Each bag taking 2 hours to construct may seem relevant to you but does the consumer care?
- Test & tweak – watch your Google Analytics to see what seems to be working and what’s not. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, conversion rates, bounce rates and the average time spent on the page are good stats to watch.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION SAMPLE:
Here’s how I might put everything together and write a description for my laptop bag.
Finally! A laptop bag that’s stylish & functional
I started creating laptop bags when I was a part-time student running back and forth from school to work. I was tired of hauling an unattractive bag around all day, but I needed everything with me and organized.
I wanted a bag:
- big enough to carry my laptop, schoolbooks and work files
- sturdy enough to last me longer than a semester
- stylish enough that I could take it from school to work to drinks without looking like a kid wearing a backpack.
I created this laptop bag using a fashion-forward design so it looks like a purse, not a book bag. The bag is 12” tall, 16” wide and 10” deep so it can fit a large laptop and plenty of books. The 10 interior and exterior pockets keep everything organized while the interfacing and double-stitching ensure this bag will stand up to heavy use.
Wear this laptop bag any way you like to avoid those kinks in your shoulder.
- One long adjustable strap to wear messenger style or as a shoulder bag
- Two short handles to carry as a handbag or over your forearm
This bag is made in a classic moss green, durable jacquard material with gold hardware on the straps, zipper and pockets.
It has been featured in the style section of Fashion magazine’s spring edition, along with the matching clutch (link to clutch would go here), which can organize your personal belongings inside the laptop bag or used as a purse when you want to leave the big bag at your desk or in your car.
Add this laptop bag to your shopping cart and it will be shipped the next day using priority shipping to get your package to you in 2 – 5 business days.
If you sell products such as jewelry, greeting cards, etc. your description may be shorter. You can still follow the same template, however there may be less to say when it comes to the features and benefits.
Not every description requires a story or multiple paragraphs. But do be sure you keep it interesting, show shoppers you put effort into every aspect of your business and find a way to get them excited about your product.
That completes the Product Descriptions that Sell series! Did you find it helpful? Any areas you’re still feeling stuck on? Share in the comment section below.
- Product Descriptions that Sell: the 2 Reasons People Buy
- Product Descriptions that Sell: 3 Answers you Must Know