Writing product descriptions shouldn’t be hard, but so many companies seem to get it wrong. Of course, it’s easy to point out all the good selling-points of your product, but writing to sell requires more than just “bullet-pointing” out the good bits. In this article we’re going to look at how to write product descriptions that sell and optimise your conversion rate by altering your content. There are some bonus SEO house-keeping tips at the end of the article.

Buyers Guilt

Buyers Guilt is that feeling you get when you’re just about to buy something and then convince yourself that it’s not worth it; maybe it’s out of your budget, maybe you don’t feel like you deserve it. Whatever the reason you’ve concluded, buyers guilt can cause conversion rates to drop.

Using well-written product descriptions and other CRO techniques can help squash buyers guilt, which should significantly increase sales. The more excuses you can give the customer to justify the purchase, the more likely you are to remove Buyers Guilt. Most of the tips in this article are based around removing as much of the buyers guilt as possible.

FOMO is a MOFO

The “Fear Of Missing Out” is a great sales driving tool and it comes in different shapes and sizes, allowing you to fit it into your sales model. Use FOMO to let your customers know you’re selling out quickly and you need to buy them now. Letting the customer know that all their friends either have, want or will soon have your product increases the likelihood of inducing FOMO.

Using UGC (User Generated Content) in product pages and across social, invoke FOMO.

Essential is essential

Your product is essential. Obviously this is not the case with all products, but this is where your creative side comes into play. Use a thesaurus and build your case around why your product is essential. An essential product means the customer isn’t “treating” themselves, which reduces buyers guilt.

It’s not expensive

Following on from making your product essential, make sure it’s worth every single penny. Advertising your product using phrases like: “splashing out” or “treat yourself” will only reinforce buyers guilt. Try to avoid words that make the customer question if they’re worth it.

Multi-Use

If you can describe your product in different settings, used in different ways, then do so. If your product can be used in more than one way then there are less reasons not to buy it. Even if it can’t be used in a different way, try setting the product in a different scene.

Setting the scene

You’re selling a lifestyle, not a product. That’s why you need to set the scene, use phrases like: “you’ll be the envy of the party…” or “perfect for summer BBQs…”. The customer wants a certain lifestyle, and if your product is associated with that lifestyle it becomes a justified purchase. Spend sometime researching your target audience and create buyer personas. This will give you some ideas on what the user wants to read, their lifestyle goals and how your product can fit into it.

Product Description Template

Depending on your buyers personas and your target audience, you’ll have different content templates. Make sure each product follows that template style to create consistency. A great product description will grab the users attention and intrigue them into reading more. Once you’ve got their attention, set the scene and placed your product in their lifestyle, you can introduce the features and benefits, followed almost immediately by your call to action.

Product descriptions are used to convince the user to buy. Using genuine customer reviews alongside an optimised description is a winning combination.

Words to avoid

There are some words and phrases you should try to avoid when writing content for product descriptions.

  • “Nice” is the worst word in the history of words, don’t use it, unless you’re selling biscuits! (This one might be a personal preference, but I have a platform to rant)

  • Don’t apologise unless you’ve done something wrong, avoid the word ‘sorry’ in product descriptions. How many websites do you see: “sorry, this product isn’t in stock”. Don’t apologise for selling all your stock, celebrate. (Use the out-of-stock scenario to grow your email marketing list)

  • Lazy adjectives; like ‘stunning’ or ‘beautiful’ – make it unique! Here’s that link to the thesaurus again.

  • Don’t write how you talk, by that I mean avoid: ‘erm’, ‘so’, ‘just’, ‘actually’ – it doesn’t make your brand personal or even friendly, it just looks lazy and makes your content unnecessarily longer.

Power Words

Words that are powerful enough to trigger an emotional or psychological response are called “Power Words”. These should be used carefully and sparingly (a page full of power words looks like an old-school sales funnel).
Once you’ve got a content plan and an idea of what emotion you want to invoke, you can use power words to increase conversion. If you’re looking to curiosity you might use phrases like:

  1. Be the first
  2. Behind the scenes
  3. Secret sale

Tips for writing SEO friendly product descriptions

Sometimes you can have a conflict between writing for search and writing for the user. When this happens, you need to have a look at your long term and short term marketing goals and make a strategic decision. I’m constantly contradicting myself when I talk about writing for the user vs writing for search, as you’ll see in this list of SEO product description tips:

  1. Don’t copy and paste
    If your supplier has given you some product copy, you need to either delete them or re-write them. Google will see this as duplicate content, and you will be penalised for plagiarism (even if your supplier said you can use them).

  2. Don’t stuff
    Years ago you used to be able to write the same keyword over and over again and Google would put you right at the top of the search results. Not anymore, Google wants to see quality content, not content stuffed with keywords. Be careful that you don’t accidentally stuff.

  3. Use semantics
    Using semantic or long-tail keywords will help you drive more traffic. Longer keywords are easier to get but have less traffic. Doing keyword research will reveal quick wins to slowly build up traffic.

  4. Readability
    It’s super easy to end up writing really long sentences that end up being rants. Google likes easy-to-read content, a quick way to deal with this is make sure your sentences aren’t too long. Use short paragraphs as well, Google wants to see you displaying your content in digestible sizes.

Caveat

In the SEO industry, we’re constantly being told that you can’t trick search engines and that SEO is dead. I agree partially with this statement, Google’s goal is to display the most relevant content to the users search request. As such, it’s closing the gap between writing for search engines and writing for users. SEO isn’t about tricking Google into displaying you first, it’s about optimising your content to make it as high quality as possible in order to be first. By understanding Googles emphasis on quality content, we’ve taken a holistic view to SEO. This allows our clients to grow as authority leaders online and offline, and produce consistently quality content.

If you have any questions around SEO for eCommerce sites, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

AUTHOR

Will Lynch

Will is Head of Marketing at ELS Media. He can be found fixing Google penalties, optimising eCommerce sites and creating automated email marketing strategies.