May 15, 2022

How To Write Killer Product Descriptions

Product descriptions. The final frontier in your customers’ buying journey—and your final chance of convincing them to buy. 

Done well, they make your store stand out, push people toward the checkout, and boost your SEO. Done badly, your visitors bounce and you’re left hoping for a hail mary from your abandoned cart campaigns. 

Yet for something so powerful, we see so many eCommerce owners overlook the value of writing killer product descriptions. Instead, they copy and paste the manufacturer’s description—and miss a huge opportunity to build their brand and boost their conversion rates.

So, next time you sit down to write your product pages, drop the spec sheet and follow our five steps to writing killer product descriptions instead.

1. Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak

As Elmer Wheeler’s classic sales advice states, “It’s not what you want to say, but what the customer wants to hear that sells.” It was true when he said it in the 1930s, and it’s still true today. People don’t buy products, they buy results.

Instead of describing your product’s features, sell their benefits. It’s the most powerful copywriting strategy you can use and works no matter what you’re offering—boosting sales for even the simplest, most functional products. 

Selling resistance bands? Don’t bore your customers with details about latex. Tell them they can burn 500 calories anywhere, any time. Or LED lights for 4x4s? Sell them access to offroad adventures in the dark. 

Hardware stores in the US sell over one million quarter-inch drill bits each year. Not one of those customers wanted the drills—they wanted quarter-inch holes. So, save the technical specs for the end of your description—or even a dedicated tab—and frame your copy around how your product makes people happier, healthier, or more productive. 

And this leads us nicely into...

2. Talk to one person—with visceral language

Writing to everyone pleases no one. The most effective product descriptions help your customers envisage a better life with your product by speaking directly to them.

For this to work, you need a deep understanding of the person you’re talking to. What are their values, aspirations, and pain points? What problems do they have that your product solves?

Once you’ve got a clear picture of your audience, build trust by speaking to them as if they were in front of you, eye-to-eye. Use simple language, but be visceral with your descriptions. Are you selling a chocolate cake, for example? Or a rich, chewy, mouth-melting ganache, with a deep cocoa aroma? 

We have five senses, and all of them are powerful ways to put your reader directly in the action—helping them imagine what it’s like to own and interact with your product. Use them to your advantage.

Another powerful tactic is to use stories. Stories tattoo important information in your customers’ memory—appealing to emotion by taking the reader on a journey. In the context of your product, there are many ways you can do this. 

Tell your customer about the process that went into making your product, from the original inspiration to the barriers you had to overcome, and any crazy testing methodology along the way.

Keep them short and focused—nobody wants to read anything random or rambling—and cut through your readers’ rational barriers with visceral imagery and emotion.

3. Back your claims up with proof

Now, a word of warning. Avoid cliches (like the plague.) Phrases like ‘high quality, ‘unique’, and ‘revolutionary’ are bland. We’ve heard them all before and your customers will just gloss over them.

If your product really is the best, back it up with proof. Saying your hiking boots are more waterproof than your competitors’ just isn’t credible, but saying 67% more waterproof is far more believable because it’s factual and specific. As long as it's true. 

Even better, back your claims up with social proof. Conformity is a powerful influence over human behaviour—to the extent we even look for approval from strangers over the internet, seeking feedback, reviews, and ratings before purchasing. 

So, look for ways to add social proof to your product descriptions through testimonials and rating systems. You can generate these by reaching out to past customers through targeted email campaigns, with automated triggers to send them out a week or so after purchase.

4. Consider your keywords

Your product descriptions can be an incredibly powerful tool to boost your organic SEO. 

But, you need to avoid using the standard manufacturer descriptions. Not only will they remove the opportunity to introduce your own keywords, but you also end up potentially damaging your search rankings by having the same descriptions as other sites. 

Instead use unique product descriptions to help your search rankings by strategically placing your keywords in your product titles, descriptions, image alt text, and page URL. 

Use natural language, as you would in a conversation—and be careful to avoid keyword stuffing.

5. Create a slippery slide

Page structure is incredibly important to high-converting copy—and product descriptions are no different. 

In our digital world, customers scroll and scan—especially on mobile. So, help them out by making your product pages clear and easy to digest. 

Use bold, descriptive, benefits-focused headlines. Keep your body copy succinct and to the point—while incorporating the visceral language and stories we mentioned earlier—and consider using bullet points for easily scannable, key information. 

The trick is to help the reader get all the key information they need while pulling at their emotions, in the shortest possible time. Doing so, you make them feel like they’re making progress—and can guide them on a journey down toward your Call to Action (CTA). 

To deliver a smooth reading experience, get rid of any speed bumps. Consider using separate tabs for your product specs, FAQ’s, or delivery information—so they can find it if they need it, but it doesn’t slow them down on their journey to your CTA. 

Boost your conversion rates with killer product descriptions

Like any form of high converting copy, you need to combine the anatomy of a great product page with the psychological triggers of consumer behavior. Follow our five steps—from selling the sizzle, to setting up a slippery slide—to get your eCommerce product pages converting like crazy.

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