Let’s face it: Opening an online shop is intimidating. When I started, I was bombarded with jargon like keywords and SEO and I could never get a straight answer when it came to getting found in search for my chosen platform. In this article, I’m cracking the code to well-written product descriptions that educate, inspire, and convert your customers.
Before You Start…
Know your customer. Think of product descriptions like recommending a movie you love to your best friend. You know your bestie and you know what would entice her to see a movie. Would she want to know about the actors or the content? The set design or the music? In this scenario, the movie is your product and your bestie is your customer. Think about all of the things your specific customer would be interested in knowing about your product and put those front and center in your product descriptions.
Know your product. First, let’s agree that you’re an amazingly talented maker, ok? Now that you have this thing you’re putting out in the world, what makes someone else want it? You need to know your product inside and out so you can sell it to anyone who crosses your path. An exercise I practice before writing product descriptions is setting a timer for 10 minutes and writing down as many attributes of my product as I can. Some things I might include are the size, color, material, shape, who it’s for, what occasion it is most appropriate for, how many units an order comes with, and how it might make someone’s life easier. This list helps me pinpoint the most important features of my product and makes writing descriptions less of a chore.
And Now We Write
Make a template. The more you get into becoming a maker, the more you’ll appreciate streamlining your recurring activities. Having a template for product descriptions not only saves you time, but it becomes recognizable to your customers and makes shopping with you more enjoyable. Try to replicate your product description for each item and keep it consistent across your shop. Some elements your template can include might be:
- Product name
- A 2-3 sentence paragraph describing the product
- A series of bullets outlining the desirable features of the product
- Special offers (bulk buy discount, free upgraded shipping, gift packaging, etc.).
Consider brand specific formatting. Don’t be afraid to play around with formatting in your product descriptions – this can be part of your larger brand strategy. Instead of traditional round bullets, try a lowercase x or a forward slash. Be judicious when adding new paragraphs and when using punctuation. Remember that less is more and create a pleasing experience for your customers.
Place keywords early. Depending on when you’re reading this, the consensus on how far into your product descriptions Google and other search engines read will have changed. Your best bet to get found in search on your chosen platform is to put keywords as close to the beginning of product descriptions as possible. Keywords are the terms and phrases a potential customer would search to find your product. A string of keywords may often look like an incoherent sentence, but that’s how search engines find relevant results. Pull some of the sentences and phrases I mentioned in the Know your product section and plug them in the beginning of your product description.
Keep it brief. A 2015 study found that a third of all e-commerce is done on a mobile device like a smart phone or table. That study goes on to say that mobile device shoppers are skimmers – meaning they search for keywords in text and rarely read text thoroughly. With this in mind, keep product descriptions brief. Romance the customer while still offering the facts in a way that is easy and quick to read.
Edit, revisit, and revise. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you put all of this hard work into a product description then leave it there to rot. Your customer is constantly evolving and your product descriptions should too. If you have a brilliant idea about a new keyword, add it! If your product changes somehow, include that in your description. And if your marketing style changes direction, tweak your copy. Being an online shop owner means always making sure your product descriptions are on point.
Let’s Try It!
Creating a template for my product descriptions was super important to me when I became a full time maker. I learned very quickly that an extra 8 hours a day can feel like nothing if you don’t use it correctly. So templates for product descriptions (and basically everything else!) became my life. Here’s an example of the product description template I’m currently using for my crochet patterns:
This template helps me convey all of the most important facts to my customer in a simple format that is easy to read. Here’s an abbreviated version of how I used this template for my new Adore Shawl pattern:
Notice how every line of my product description serves a purpose and shares information that is meaningful for my customer. How will you use these tips to spruce up your product descriptions? Tell me in the comments!