When people view your product, they form their initial impression within just a few seconds. Once you’ve captured their interest, you have mere moments to convince them to buy your product. To stand out from your competitors, you must connect with them emotionally.
That’s where your copywriting skills come in. A powerful product description is more than a sales pitch. It’s a concise overview of your product’s benefits and features that makes your ideal customer think, “Yes, I need that!”
So, how can you craft a compelling product description — especially if your space is limited? Read on to learn the secrets of high-converting product copy.
What is a Product Description?
A product description is the summary of an item for sale. It provides basic information about the product while also persuading the reader to buy it. This is a tough balance to strike. Here’s how to write descriptions that do much more than “describe.”
Step 1. Know Your Audience
This is basic marketing, but it’s worth repeating. Before you start writing your product description, you must understand your ideal buyer and their motivations. Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s important to them in a product? What are their deal-breakers?
- What problem are they trying to solve? What’s their primary pain point they want to relieve?
- How do they want to feel about a product? What experience do they envision after buying it?
By answering the above, you’re essentially reverse-engineering their decision to buy. Their purchase happens when they believe a product will solve their problems, suit their tastes, and help them achieve the experience they desire.
Step 2. Determine Your Tone
Your brand’s tone of voice is how you talk to your ideal audience. In Step 1, you identified the kind of experience they want. Now, you can start a dialogue to make that happen.
A product description should never be a clinical summary of something. Always think of it as a conversation: speak directly to the buyer. Use the word “you.” From there, write in a way that reflects your brand’s personality. If you’re a clever, “hip” brand that appeals to young people, feel free to use more casual language. If you’re more sophisticated and well-established, speak with authority.
Step 3. Hook Your Reader
Immediately make an emotional connection with your potential customer. You can tell them a short story illustrating the product, share an interesting fact, or speak directly to their pain point. Draw upon your knowledge of your target audience and what motivates them. Don’t make your opening sentences too “fluffy”: be concise and engaging.
For example, take a look at this description from Firebox, which makes the Fizzics DraftPour device for home bars:
“Nothing beats a freshly pulled pint in your favourite pub—except maybe a freshly pulled pint in your very own home.”
It’s relatable, direct, and intriguing, The reader instantly envisions something they enjoy, then learns they could enjoy it in the comfort of home.
Here’s another example. This product description for Pela Case reads:
“Beautifully designed and eco-friendly, Pela cases are the world’s first truly sustainable phone case. They are durable enough to protect your phone from drops and scratches and are also 100% compostable!”
Pela Case’s target audience is discerning consumers who are interested in environmentally friendly products. From the outset, this product descriptions lures them with enticing adjectives, then reveals an interesting fact. Then, they immediately get into the benefits of the Pela case for both the customer and the planet.
This brings us to Step 4…
Step 4. Focus on the Benefits
Your products’ features are important, but your potential customer is only interested in how those features will affect them. This is especially true for technical products where customers may not understand all the jargon.
Instead of selling features, sell an experience. You can do that by describing the benefits your product offers:
- How does it make your customer’s life easier and/or more enjoyable? Think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: food, comfort, companionship, shelter, etc.
- Which of their goals will your product help them achieve?
- What social or psychological perks will they attain? e.g. prestige, confidence, beauty
In short, invite the reader to imagine life with the product. Paint a picture for them rather than simply listing your product’s bells and whistles.
Here’s a great example from Dr. Squatch for their Pine Tar soap:
“Made with real pine extract, this all-star bar is as tough as a freshly cut bat. A true MVP of the shower, this heavy-hitter knocks out grime with its gritty composition and ultra-manly, woodsy scent. Toss in the exfoliating oatmeal and the super-soothing shea butter, and you’ve got a bullpen of natural ingredients that will strike out any stink.”
The copywriter immediately speaks to the target customer (a rugged guy who needs to clean up after a day outdoors). They describe an experience (taking a shower with this soap and getting rid of stink). Notice that while they mention the features (oatmeal, shea butter), they put the benefits first (exfoliating, super-smoothing). The overarching baseball metaphor ties it all together into a compelling story.
Step 5. Choose the Right Adjectives
Generally speaking, adjectives clutter your writing. However, product descriptions can be more effective if you use adjectives that resonate with your reader. In the Dr. Squatch example above, the copywriter includes “real,” “tough,” “gritty,” and “ultra-manly.” These are perfect choices that reflect the brand’s target persona more than the product. (Can soap really be “tough” and “gritty”?)
Caution: Try to avoid clichéd or sales-y adjectives such as “innovative,” “breakthrough,” “miracle,” etc. Your audience has read those words in countless product descriptions. Also, they seem inauthentic, and your goal is to make your reader feel acknowledged and special — not one of hundreds of people you’re selling to.
Step 6. Use Power Verbs
Finally, put your potential customer in the mood to take action by using active language. As mentioned in Step 2, writing in the second-person (i.e. “you,” “your”) or imperative voice (e,g. “Indulge your senses”) helps engage the reader’s imagination.
Then, focus on power verbs. (This is a good tip for all copywriting.) Instead of filler-type words such as “get,” “have,” etc., find words that have some kick to them. Here are just a few examples:
You can get creative with these verbs as long as they make sense. Aim for unexpected pairings. For example, check out this example from TRX’s BandIt fitness tool:
“Add precision to your resistance training. With an ergonomic handle design, the TRX BANDIT literally gives you a grip on your strength band to improve how you perform a movement—no more stretchy plastic digging uncomfortably into your palms.”
Instead of boring verbs and clunky phrasing such as “Make your resistance training more precise,” this description gets straight to the core benefit with active language. Then, it paints a picture of how the product works, speaking directly to the reader.
Writing strong product descriptions is an art. It takes time to refine your skills. When you follow these steps, though, you’re well on your way to success. Remember: tell your potential customer a story that helps them envision life with your product. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Your goal is to excite the reader, not bore them with details! Imagine that you’re starting a conversation with them. That will help you avoid the tendency to be “sales-y” and make an authentic connection.