With more than 350 million products listed on Amazon alone, and thousands of other competitive eCommerce businesses, product descriptions must work hard to stand out. When you read a truly great product description, something about it reaches out and grabs your interest. You have to read it. And you have to buy it — or you find yourself fighting hard not to buy it.
You already know what doesn’t work in a product description, because you’ve read so many boring ones. BrandNames.net founder Justin Hamel puts it well when he describes a bad product description as “Using boring descriptions that just highlight the product features without drawing a correlation between the product/service and the buyer’s wants and needs.”
Good product descriptions draw a correlation between the product and the buyer’s wants and needs.
Experienced product description writers are masters at connecting products to buyer’s wants and needs and highlighting features and benefits, but that’s only part of what makes a great product description.
So what makes a great product description? A few key elements jump out:
- It resonates with the target audience. A product description for a bass guitar pedal grabs a niche reader, even if it’s almost incomprehensible to a non-musician. Write with your buyer persona in mind and you’re much more likely to help them with make their purchase decision.
- It tells a story. Consumers tend to draw an emotional connection with products that have a story behind them.
- The format is easily digestible. Especially online, people scan instead of reading every word, so use of short paragraphs and bullet points help.
- It uses media effectively. Great product pages focus on selling the product with a mix of media types. Use of images is vital, so the consumer knows what they’re getting. Videos are also a great help, especially when audio is involved (that bass guitar pedal, for example).
- It highlights the most important or unique features first. We already know that dishwashers get dishes clean. Tell me what makes THIS dishwasher different from the rest. Strategic use of power words can help with this.
- It lets the consumer know how the product can impact their life. A great product description draws a picture for the reader of how the item can fill a need or solve a problem. Writing product descriptions that accomplish this can really spike your conversion rate.
- It’s written with search engines in mind. Product descriptions that sell well do all the things above, but they also help you organically rank in Google’s search results. How do you do that? It largely comes down to knowing which keywords to include in key points and understanding what intent those keywords signal so you can write your content to match.
Rachel Genson from BigCommerce.com adds that product descriptions should be “short, sweet and effective,” and cautions that marketers need to learn when to “show and not tell.”
Let’s take a look at some outstanding product descriptions to see how these elements come together.
Taco Bell’s Black Bean Burrito
John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, points out this PD as an amazing example of product description writing that reinforces the brand. It’s whimsical and quirky, and it grabs the reader looking for late night munchies.
The Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to show some personality and style in your PDs. When a PD tells a story and matches the tone of the product, it converts — even for people who don’t like black beans.
Florida Farms’ Gift Basket
This PD surprises by starting with oranges and grapefruits, not the most expected holiday treat. It’s a brilliant choice, making yet another gift basket stand out during the holidays. Appealing adjective choices and the full description let you know what you’re getting.
The Takeaway: Note all those specifics. They let the reader feel confident that this basket is indeed a worthy gift. Of course this PD has a great photo with it, since no one would buy a gift sight unseen.
Think Geek’s Star Wars BB-8 Waffle Maker
Think Geek acknowledges that its readership is part of a special tribe — the tribe that needs something as specialized as a character-based waffle iron. This PD turns a want into a need with clever writing.
The Takeaway: Pull out all the stops to resonate with a niche audience, pulling out the in-jokes and targeted references to let the reader know you “get” them.