The deciding factor between someone looking at a product and clicking ‘add to cart’ can often be the product description. Without one, there’s no information or persuasion for the customer to make the choice to purchase.

Businesses that use an online shop should know the importance of product descriptions, but they can still be overlooked or not optimised. In this article, we’ll cover how to write effective product descriptions that sell by using the following rules:

  • Know the target audience
  • Focus on the benefits
  • Use natural language
  • Finding effective ‘power’ words
  • Make it easy to scan
  • Optimise for search
  • Show not tell

Know the target audience

First, you need to understand the target audience to choose the features to write about that will be most interesting for your potential buyers.

Use Google Analytics to look at the people who are already looking at your website. You’ll find information about them in the audience tab, where you can look at age, gender, and other interests. This should give you an idea of areas you can use in your descriptions.

For example, let’s say you sell handmade crafts and organic candles. Your target audience is mainly women, but you see on Google Analytics that a percentage of your website visitors are male, with ‘gift ideas’ in their related interests. You might also notice that of the women using your website, you might see they have ‘weddings and events’ as a related interest. So now you know what areas your users are interested in, you can use this in your copy by mentioning that your candles and crafts make great gifts or wedding decorations.

Focus on the benefits

The way to persuade customers that this is the right product for them is to leverage the benefits. They might not be interested in every feature of the product in a lengthy description, but they want to know how it can improve their lives or solve a problem.

Identify the main benefits that your target audience would find most compelling, and write these into the description with any relevant features. For example, an electrical product coming with a charger is a feature, not a benefit. A benefit of this product would be that one charge can last up to 50 hours. Always lead with the benefits and illustrate how the product features will benefit the customer.

Use natural language

Instead of using a lot of technical language about the ins and outs of how the product works or was manufactured, use natural language. The description should feel conversational, making it easier for the customer to read and resonate with.

Finding effective ‘power’ words

Some certain words and phrases have more ‘power’ in a real conversation, which would make you sit up and notice if your friend used them when telling you about a product. 

These descriptive words are usually associated with emotional reactions, like ‘uplifting’, ‘powerful’, ‘breathtaking’ or even ‘sensational’. Try to identify which words would be a good fit for your products, and use these in your descriptions. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Amazing
  • Blissful
  • Daring
  • Delightful
  • Exciting
  • Eye-opening
  • Magical
  • Mind-blowing
  • Miraculous
  • Spectacular
  • Stunning
  • Surprising
  • Wonderful

These might sound extreme when out of context, but try to pepper your descriptions with a word or two to make the reader feel like there’s an emotional reaction to the product. Too many can have the opposite effect, so use with caution.

Make it easy to scan

Research shows that online users rarely read a whole page, and in fact, only 16% read a page word for word.

With this in mind, your page and description need to be easy to scan. The reader should be able to see the information they need quickly to choose to buy.

So keep descriptions to less than 150 words and include bullet points if possible, as this will make it easy for the reader to scan and see if it’s a good fit for what they are looking for.

Optimise for search

You’ll likely be familiar with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and keywords if you run an online store. In a nutshell, keywords are the words that searchers type to find products using a search engine. 

So, first of all, find out what your main keywords are. These will likely be the names of your products, such as ‘organic candles’, ‘vegan makeup’, ‘iPhone charger’ or ‘men’s belts’. 

Try to take context into account too. For example, users often search for the ‘best product for a specific purpose or the most ‘long-lasting’ version of a product. So, if you sold garden equipment, you might have ‘strong garden shovel’ and ‘best pruning shears for small garden’ on a list of keywords you want to appear for in the search results. 

So always include your keywords in your product descriptions and the title of your product page. It makes your description more relevant to the searcher and more likely to appear for someone looking for that product online.

Show as well as tell

While this tip isn’t about writing a product description, it can add to the effectiveness of the text on your website.

Try to show the product alongside the product description. Have more than one picture, and use several angles to view the product and potentially some of its features clearly. We’ve all seen those 360′ rotating images of products online, and these have a 27% more chance of converting than just a standard 2D image.

Use videos of a product from all angles and it being used, if you can. More imagery could be the difference needed to get a shopper to move it to their basket, as they can see as much of the product as they would in a physical store.