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How to Write Product Descriptions

Quality product descriptions are a key part of your online store

Product descriptions serve three important goals when selling online

  • Persuade customers to buy your product by showing why it stands out from competitors and what solutions it provides. 

  • Help customers understand if your product has the specifications they need. 

  • Act as a surface for search engine optimization so customers can find your product.

In this article, learn how to write product descriptions that accomplish all of those goals and help you make your first sale

Write for your target audience

Your product description should, above, all, focus on why your product is the solution for your audience’s needs. That’s the most important thing that your product descriptions should accomplish, but before you can write customer-focused product descriptions, you have to know your target audience. 

Make a list of your audience’s characteristics that might affect how they feel about your product. What do they like? Include details like their sense of humor, their lifestyles, identities, and values. Your customer-focused product descriptions will be most successful if you understand not only who your audience is, but who they want to become. Anticipating your customer’s aspirations helps you to tap into how your product can support them in their journeys and improve their lives. 

Once you get to know your target audience better, you’ll be able to incorporate that knowledge into how you write product descriptions. Your product descriptions shouldn’t sound like a dry recitation of product details — your voice in product descriptions should feel seamless with the voice you’ve defined in the rest of your website copy and marketing channels. Be consistent with language that resonates with your audience. For example, use language that your target audience relates to. When you’re talking to people who get it, relevant slang or product jargon can be effective. 

Highlight product benefits

Now that you know more about your target audience, you’re better equipped to answer the question: What problem does your product solve? Because the best way to write product descriptions is by focusing on how your product benefits your audience, not just on what features your product has. 

Think about the features that make your product stand out, then make it clear what those features do for your audience. The benefits of your product could be concrete, like a knife that makes it easier to slice vegetables, or abstract, like a bullet journal that helps cultivate gratitude. You can appeal to practical needs, emotional needs, or both. For example, if you’re selling an air fryer, don’t just write about the compact design and simple settings. Write about how those features help your audience stay organized and save more time than when cooking with any other appliance. 

As you’re trying to write product descriptions, look up how other businesses in your field write about their products. That research will help you figure out how to write your own product descriptions that differentiate from competitors. Keep an eye out for common concerns around products like yours, including product details like fit, durability, or origin. How does your product address those concerns? 

For example, imagine you sell hand lotion. A common concern of your target audience is feeling embarrassed about dry hands and cuticles, and many are looking for hand lotion that will actually moisturize without feeling greasy. 

Here’s one way to describe your product that doesn’t address all of those concerns: “Nourish your hands with our 100% organic hand lotion.”

And here’s one way to describe that same product in a way that does address all of those common concerns: “Our hand lotion is the refreshing antidote to a long year of reapplying hand sanitizer: Feel confident in soft, smooth hands with our lightweight, long-lasting 100% organic formula.”

The second product description example is more effective because, instead of only focusing on features, it appeals to the more emotional benefits of purchasing a hand lotion that works. 

Describe products with storytelling

Much like focusing on benefits over features, your product descriptions will be more compelling if you show why your product is the best, instead of simply saying that it’s the best. 

For example, if you sell handcrafted scarves, don’t describe the product with empty descriptors like beautiful, amazing, or great. Instead, use specific descriptors that evoke the senses. For a scarf, this could include textures that evoke a feeling, such as buttery soft, feather light, or cozy. 

Storytelling is an effective tactic for how to describe a product. Stories help to show your audience the product in a way that takes their senses and imagination along for the ride of how it feels to use your product, any tastes or smells associated with it, or the origin story of how and why the product was created. 

Be honest about product details

Showing the story of your product in a personal and compelling way will capture your audience’s attention more easily than vague superlatives. That tactic also helps to keep you honest and maintain your brand’s integrity by describing what you actually deliver. 

In addition to leaving out words like “great,” your product descriptions will be stronger when you stay away from claims like “the best” or “the fastest.” Instead of saying your illustrated planner is “the best planner,” you could be specific and honest about why your planner stands out: “The planner that’s helped customers triple their weekly productivity.” 

Sharing social proof also helps support the integrity of your product descriptions. Customer testimonials are an effective addition to product descriptions, especially if they mention a specific benefit or problem that the product solved for them. For example, if you include a product testimonial for your hair product that says, “My hair is so soft after using [this product] — and no more dandruff!” that customer’s words will hold more weight than your own. People tend to trust other people’s experiences, more than they trust claims from businesses. 

List product details

Your list of product details should be a lot more straightforward than your persuasive product description. Product specifications don’t need to be exhaustive, but it’s important to highlight the product information that isn’t apparent from looking at the product photos alone. 

Think of the times you’ve looked at product listings and clicked away with questions that the seller left unanswered. What sort of product details were those? Can you call out similar details for your own product descriptions? Depending on your audience, you’ll want to include more or less product information. 

For example, technical audiences for computer hardware or photography equipment need an exhaustive list of specifications. Comprehensive product details help those audiences feel confident in their major purchase and how it functions with the rest of their equipment. But other products, such as plain t-shirts, might only need a short product overview that includes the fabric type, country of origin, and a couple of other product details. 

This section of product information is less about being persuasive, and more about presenting the facts. It helps to protect your business and your customers, as sometimes it involves information about product safety, allergens, or other details that your audience needs to know in order to securely make a purchase.

Optimize product descriptions for search engines

No product description is complete without optimizing for search engines. Do your keyword research and optimize your metadata for product descriptions that have a better chance of reaching your target audience. 

Research keywords for your products

Here’s the easiest way to do keyword research for your products: Go to major ecommerce marketplaces, and search for the core aspects of your product. For example, you could search for “women’s running shoes.” From there, the search bar’s drop-down should suggest commonly searched details, such as “women’s running shoes blue size 9 wide.” 

That longer keyword phrase is what’s known as a long-tail keyword. These tend to be keywords that are less competitive. You’ll have a stronger chance of ranking for them in search results and making a sale when the right customers find your product. There are also free SEO tools online that can help you find the best long-tail keywords for your products. 

Update your product descriptions and metadata

Once you know what keywords are best for your product, incorporate them into your product descriptions in a way that reads naturally. But your product description optimization doesn’t end there. You should also write and include keywords in the following areas for each product in your online store: product URL, alt text for product photos, product meta title, and product meta description. Learn more about these terms in our guide to how to improve SEO on your Squarespace website

Make product descriptions skimmable

Once you’ve drafted all of the moving parts and optimized your product description, it’s time to make it as easy to read as possible. 

This should be the general structure of your product descriptions: 

  • The first thing your audience should see is the product’s photo, name, and price. 

  • After that, lead with your persuasive customer-focused product description, including any storytelling and customer testimonials. 

  • Round out the product description with your product details overview. 

Once you’ve built that structure, make sure the copy is skimmable with these tactics:

  • Get to the point. Even if your description is long, make it skimmable by organizing your points with headlines. Leading with main points, then expanding on those within each paragraph or sentence, puts the most important information at the beginning of each line. 

  • Use bullet points wherever lists are involved, especially for the specifications in your product details section. 

  • Avoid text overwhelm by balancing your text with negative space, letting your paragraphs breathe. 

Always proofread your work and have a trusted friend or colleague read it before publishing. That will help you test whether or not it’s persuasive, readable, and inclusive of all the most important information. 

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