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Writing product descriptions that sell


“Photography sells products, not words”. Yes we live in a visual age, but product descriptions still have the power to persuade people to buy products. Here are five steps to generating powerful copy, without the tears.

1. Make customers feel comfortable

When you’re writing for your brand, your tone of voice needs to appeal to your target customers. So get to know them and how they speak – and mirror this in your copy. Want to reach young urban professionals? Or retired people? Or adventurous travelers? Learn about your audience and make sure you use words and phrases that signal you are in the same tribe as them.

If your target customers are in a similar demographic to you, then you’ll find it easy to speak in a voice that resonates with them. But if your customers are different from you, you might need to adjust your voice accordingly.

2. Consistency is key

A consistent approach in your writing signals professionalism and gives customers confidence in your products. To achieve this, first decide on how you want to style certain terms (numbers, dates, capitalizations etc) – and write up a list of ‘writing rules’ for your brand. Give these guidelines to everyone who writes for your online shop, and make it clear that all copy has to follow the same approach.

3. Use a product description template

To write descriptions quickly, it helps to have a template. This will remind you to focus on the things that matter most to your customers. Here are three headings that you might find useful in your template:

What is the product’s core purpose? This is about getting to the essence of why a product exists. The one thing that matters most. For example, maybe the product is the warmest fleece jacket ever, or the gooiest chocolate cake, or the most colorful piece of décor. Get to the essence of why this product exists.

How will the product make customers feel? Our eyes are drawn to emotional words. So don’t forget to describe how the product will make your customers feel. Cozy? Indulgent? Safe? There are so many emotional words you can choose from – make sure you press those emotional buttons.

Why are you proud of this product? Give your customers a peek behind the scenes. Maybe this item is based on a family recipe? Or took ages to develop? Or uses sustainable materials? Find one reason to be proud of the product – and share this with the world. This is your chance to sprinkle delicious seasoning on your copy.

4. Embrace your weirdness

The robots are coming! Yes, AI tools are here to make copywriting simple and painless. But here’s a secret: AI-generated copy is usually quite boring. Do you want to bore your customers? Of course not! So make sure you bring your own personality into your writing. Itching to use an unusual expression? Try it. Tell stories. Share secrets. Make cultural references. As long as your writing is authentic to your brand, there’s not a lot you can lose. Being boring is a risk. Being interesting is an opportunity.

5. If in doubt, speak it out

Does writing website copy fill you with dread? You are not alone. Many e-commerce entrepreneurs will go a long way to avoid writing product descriptions. So here’s a simple trick to speed up your writing: first, say the words out loud. If it helps, imagine you’re talking to a friend. Just open your mouth, and let the words flow out. Most of the time, this will get you ‘unstuck’ when you’re struggling. Once you’ve said it out loud, write it down, then edit it. Simple as that.

6. Make sure your copy passes the ‘glance test’

Most people won’t read all of your copy. It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked on it. Given that people tend to ‘glance over’ copy, avoid big blocks of words – which take longer to read. Use headings, subheadings, bullets, quotes. Break up the text and make it easy to skim through.

7. Edit and eliminate

The final step in a product description is to cut away every unnecessary word and/or sentence. Shorter is always better. As Mark Twain said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long letter”.

Make writing your superpower

The more you write, the easier it gets. So seize every opportunity to write. Start blogging. Comment on socials. Jot down ideas for product descriptions. Make writing part of your daily life, and it will stop being a chore and become a joy.

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