In a world of Show Don’t Tell, product descriptions are often wasted ecommerce website real estate when it comes to marketing your business. After all, how many times have you navigated to an online store, looked at the photos, glanced over the product features until your eye caught the reviews, checked the size chart, and added the item to your cart?
Guilty as charged.
Usually, this happens because the product description is quite literally a description of the product (boring!). Or there’s no added benefit to the content that already exists on the page. Or the web manager simply copy-and-pasted the same description for every product on the site (I see this more often than I’d like!).
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
In fact, you can create a product description template for virtually any product or service you offer and sell on your site that ensures your copy is well-written, informative, on-brand and entertaining. All it takes is a little personality and some creative copywriting.
Build Your Own Personable, Effective Product Description Template in 3 Easy Steps
If you’re selling products using an online store, you’re likely offering products that are different versions of the same thing or products that fall under an umbrella category of goods. When writing product descriptions or building your product description template, tackle one category at a time and give yourself a little breathing room to get the project done. If it feels like you’re forcing your product to fit your template (or vice versa), your readers will be able to tell. So take a breather and come back to it later.
Product Description Template Step #1: Identify Your Ideal Customer
I know, I know, this isn’t Marketing 101. . .or is it? The most important thing you can do is identify the person who is most likely to visit your online shop and make a purchase. When you know who is reading your writing, you can tailor the experience to be more enjoyable for that person (and increase your conversion rate in the process).
Let’s look at KnitPicks, an online yarn store. There are two types of people in the knitting world. People who believe knitting with “cheap” yarn is a waste of time. And people who are just trying to knit a Hogwarts-inspired scarf for their Harry Potter-obsessed nephew that will likely be put through the wringer and not well cared for (not that I have any experience with that or anything).
KnitPicks knows its audience contains mostly budget knitters, so talking about the value of the yarn along with how soft it is and the wide range of uses is key.
Also, I love that they making washing instructions crystal clear, which leads us to our second step…
Product Description Template Step #2: Point Out What Matters
When you know your audience, you immediately have a leg up on the competition because you know what matters to them. When you know what matters to them, you can easily point out product features that will grab attention on your product page.
Take Bath and Body Works, for example. They know they are writing to women whose primary concern is what Kitchen Lemon hand soap smells like, especially since they are buying it online. That’s why Fragrance is the first thing you see under the call to action. By leading with the fragrance and not the overview, BBW is removing an obstacle to the information readers really care about.
Also, please note the fragrance doesn’t simply say “lemon and bergamot.” No, it goes the extra mile to say it’s zesty, sparkling and Italian. This tiny upgrade tells the reader the scent is a little more luxurious than grocery-store brand hand soap.
Product Description Template Step #3: Jot Down Your Descriptors
Now that you know your audience and understand what matters to them, you can begin to make a list of adjectives and descriptive phrases that apply to your product and product pages that your audience will care about. This list will be nice to have on hand when you’re writing your fifth product description and it feels like you’ve said everything there is to say about what you sell.
Here are some questions to help you think of words that will pull double-duty describing your product and keeping your customer engaged:
- What problem does your product solve?
- What’s the most common feedback you get about this product?
- Is the origin story important to your audience? If so, tell us about where you make the item and the materials you use.
- Is there an inside joke your audience will appreciate about this product?
Armed with these three steps, you can build a product description template for every product on your website.
- Who are you talking to? // Begin writing with this in mind. If you’re talking to a group of scientists about a product for their labs, they probably expect a certain level of professionalism in your copy.
- Why do they need this product? // Lead with the solution before diving into the details. You might be writing about a denim jacket, but before listing the materials, try saying it’s the one jacket that goes with everything in their closet.
- Why should they care? // Add in the unique benefits of your product (and leave the generalities at home). This is a spotlight on your product, so don’t be afraid to let it shine.
If you’re running short on time or you don’t have the attention span to freshen up your product descriptions, let me do the heavy lifting for you! I’ve used my product description template method for years with smashing results. I mean I once wrote 65 product descriptions for NBA phone cases and I’ve never watched a game! Shoot me an email and let me know what you’re thinking. I’d be thrilled to help!