Sam Rose - Head of Content

Sam Rose

25th April 2014

Creating Content: Writing Effective Product Descriptions

If you're an online retailer, one of the most important types of content on your website will be your product descriptions. Product descriptions are of course a vital tool in persuading your customers to purchase from you, so they should be more than a picture and a couple of lines describing what the product is. Here are a few tips for writing the best possible descriptions to entice your customers into clicking that "add to cart" button.

1. Don't copy competitor's product descriptions.

For SEO purposes, content on your website should be unique, so whatever you do, make sure the words you choose have flown out of your fair fingers and haven't been copy-pasted from the manufacturer or one of your competitors. After all, if both you and your competitor have the same copy on your site, how will Google know which page is more relevant to the user's search? Copying content may be a fast solution to getting products on the site, but it isn't a solution for climbing up the search rankings.

Besides that, your content should have a consistent tone across all pages of your site to reflect your strong brand identity. Product descriptions should be no exception, but they won't fit in with your brand's voice if you haven't written your own copy.

2. Put yourself in your customer's shoes.

What does your customer want to know? Provide plenty of information about the product and make sure you don't miss out anything important that a customer would use to influence his or her purchasing decision. Even if you think something is obvious and doesn't need to be said, say it anyway, just in case that's the information the user is looking for.

3. Don't rely on pictures alone.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in the case of accurately representing your products, words are just as important. So, as above, don't skip bits of information just because you think the customer can already see it from the picture. If a user's device is having trouble loading images, they may not see the image at all. Even if they do, not everyone's screen displays colour in the same way, or the photos themselves just might not portray the product very well. I once bought a t-shirt which looked pink on my computer screen, and when it arrived it was actually red. Something to bear in mind particularly if you sell clothes, accessories or other items that customers will buy partially or even wholly based on colour.

4. Keep your target market in mind at all times.

Who is your customer, anyway? Who these people are, what they want and what they intend to do with your product will shape the way you talk about it. For example, if you are selling high-end PCs in a business-to-business environment, you may want to point out that the PC comes with a dedicated graphics card. In the case of B2B sales, you'll more likely want to tell your customer that this will be great for video and image editing, rather than for playing games.

5. Think benefits, not features.

Concentrate on the benefits users will gain from your product. It's important to talk about features, but the customer needs to understand why the product's features will be useful to them. Put two and two together in your copy so the customer doesn't have to. You're selling a PC that comes with a solid state drive? Great, why should anyone care? Well, SSDs are more durable than regular old hard drives because they have no moving parts, making them more reliable for people who take their laptops on their travels. Add that to your copy and you'll be clearly addressing your target market - the business person on the move - while showing them the benefits of the product.

Or maybe you sell a camera that comes bundled with a waterproof case. Paint a picture of a nature photographer trying to protect their equipment from the elements and your customer will say "Hey, I take a lot of outdoor pictures too - this sounds perfect for me!" In both cases, you are essentially demonstrating that you understand both your product and the person who's reading, rather than simply listing the features of the product.

6. Be helpful.

If you sell a range of products all with different benefits and technical features, it's a good idea to help the customer to choose one, whether you do so within your product descriptions or in a separate knowledge base that you link to from your product pages. If your customers are confused and don't know what to buy or what it all means, you should help them - if you don't, they will look for another site that will. If that different site is another retailer, will the customer navigate back to your site to make the purchase, or will they stay where they are and buy from the site that helped them?

On the other hand, if you have some helpful content and it's search engine optimised, any users searching for buying guides or technical information can find you, get the advice they need, and maybe even make the purchase with you.

If you would like help with writing content for any part of your website, please get in touch with SilverDisc and we'll be happy to help.

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