Product descriptions are one of my most requested tasks at DNC Copywriting. Second only to press releases. So when I decided to stop offering this service, I knew I couldn’t leave people hanging.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the process I use to write product descriptions, so you don’t have to pay someone else to do them for you.
I know writing is intimidating. Heck, when I opened the doors to my copywriting service, I was terrified. I was pretty sure I had the chops, but with every project I just knew I’d gotten it wrong. Until a client came back with feedback telling me how much they loved it.
After a few hundred emails like that, I started to feel less terrified, but I’ve got to tell you. I still get tingles in my tummy every time I send off a finished work.
So know that it’s normal. And embrace the feeling. Because when you’ve stopped feeling terrified of what you do, it means you’ve stopped caring.
So, back to product descriptions. How to write them? What do customers need to read to convert them into buyers?
The answer can be summed up in one word: Emotion. You need to make them feel something.
Some people do this by telling a story. Others think of it more logically and use the “feature-advantage-benefit” copywriting model.
And, in fact, a mix of both of these techniques will get you where you need to go. To hearing that musical “cha-ching”.
So, let’s break it down.
What’s so difficult about writing product descriptions is knowing your target market. That’s always where I start. And, in many cases, our target market is a reflection of how we see ourselves.
So I begin my research. I look at your website, and your social media accounts. I read your About page, and answers to any questions I sent you.
In short, I learn as much about you as I can. Lucky for you, you already know you.
So, start by asking yourself these questions:
- What brands am I attracted to?
- What is irresistible to me?
- What makes me buy?
Personally, I’m attracted to happy brands. I know I gravitate toward smiling faces, and images of relaxed people.
To me, a Starbucks coffee is irresistible. When I have the time and the funds, it’s very hard to not drive down the road for my Grande Hazelnut Latte.
But what makes me buy? The question is difficult for most people to answer because it’s usually an unconscious thing.
You know you love something, you know you’ve just got to have it. Or maybe you bought it on impulse and thought later, “Why did I buy this? What was I thinking?”
Most people buy out of wishful thinking.
I wish I were 20lbs lighter, so I buy that pair of jeans that make me look thinner, or those bright-colored running shoes.
I wish I could have more fun in my life, so I buy the house with the too big backyard, or the sporty car in the commercial driving on the beach.
I wish I made more money, so I buy the next course that promises to double my income.
And I’m not alone. Most people buy because they see themselves with a product, but it’s almost never a realistic thought.
Sure, you needed a new blender, but did you buy any-ol’ blender, or did you buy the newest, sexiest blender that everyone’s been talking about?
I’ve got a Ninja Blender, and I’ve used it maybe twice in the five years I’ve owned it. Why? Because the people on the commercial were happy, beautiful, energetic, healthy, and that’s exactly what I wanted to be.
That’s just how the human brain works. If 10 blenders were put in front of you without any context, you’d be too overwhelmed to make a decision. You’d want, no you’d NEED more information.
That’s all marketing is. That’s all your product descriptions need to be. More information. But not just about what the product is made of, how to use it, or how much it costs (though those are also important).
It’s about identifying with the product. Or rather, helping the product identify with your target market’s hopes and wishes.
Because I want to lose 20lbs, what’s the best way to market anything to me?
Show me a person who has achieved what I want to achieve with the product you’re selling me. Tell me their story about how they struggled with the same things I struggle with right now.
Speaking of story, what would that read like?
I’ll give you an exercise: On any old scrap of paper, write a letter to a friend telling them what you want more than anything right now.
Don’t worry, you’re not going to send it. But be honest. Be long-winded. Be painfully emotional with your words.
Now, if you saw a product or service for sale promising to do exactly what you just wrote, would you be tempted to buy it?
Of course you would!
Now, replace some of those works with keywords you know your customers are using because you used the Google Keyword Tool. Change out some repetitive words with a synonym, and you’ve just written your pitch.
And here’s where you seal the deal.
Include the testimonials and data that back up your claims.
You see, by the time a customer has gotten through the emotional part of your sales pitch, they’ve usually made up their mind.
They made a decision, an emotional decision. Now, they want to justify that decision with facts and figures. They want you to confirm what they already believe.
The Ninja Blender will help me lose 20lbs. Why do I believe this?
Emotionally, the person selling the product personified my hopes and wishes. They showed me what my future could look like. Their story is filled with struggles just like mine.
Logically, they gave me testimonial after glowing testimonial from people who really have lost 20lbs while using the Ninja Blender. They even include a recipe book to make it easy to use the blender for my purposes.
Logically, that’s not much to seal the deal, but emotionally, I was simply looking for a reason to say yes. I was looking for a reason to justify the cost. So I bought it.
So, the biggest lesson when writing product descriptions is to know your target market. Truly know them.
- Understand their needs, desires, hopes and wishes.
- Show them those wishes fulfilled in the images you use and the story you tell.
- And provide testimonials and factual data to help them justify the decision.
Your customer is already in the market for your product. Help them make a decision. Help them choose you.