A mistake I see too often is ecommerce stores with just a list of features for a product description, which isn’t compelling. Learning how to write product descriptions is an art. But it’s a skill you can develop.
If you haven’t written a product description before, don’t worry. By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid framework that will allow you to create compelling SEO-optimized product descriptions that will rank in Google and convert visitors into buyers.
It might take you a few edits and revisions, but you can become a better copywriter. Plus, if you understand the mechanics of how to write product descriptions, you’ll find working with a copywriter is far easier when you have the budget.
Why Product Descriptions Matter
Converting visitors into customers involves persuading them to take action and part with their cash. So, even if you can’t improve your SEO visibility due to competition in the market, you still need to worry about your copy.
Poor product copy will force your visitor to make a logical choice rather than an emotional one. So it’s critical to have copy that creates an emotional reaction and leads to action, and not one that leads to comparison.
Too many store owners focus on getting more products online and not on optimizing the products they already have live. This approach could harm you in the long run and mean you have a lower conversion rate.
So it’s worth tweaking what you already have and seeing if applying some simple tips can drive more sales from your existing website traffic.
Do We Need Keywords?
While ranking on Google might not be a channel you’re currently exploring, you need a keyword plan for multiple reasons.
Firstly, if you decide to improve your search engine visibility later, having a keyword plan will put you far ahead of not having one. Imagine having 3,000 products in your store and no keyword plan. It’s an unbelievably tough challenge to face and one we’ve seen many times.
Secondly, if you have an internal search function, your visitors will use a keyword to search for products. Without a keyword plan, they’ll find it harder to find products quickly and will bounce off your website to a competitor’s.
Third, understanding keywords and having a plan will allow you to build category relevancy that will make your brand more memorable and make ranking pages easier when you come to work on your SEO.
Basic Framework For How To Write Product Descriptions
If you’re writing loads of product descriptions, you’ll need two things: frameworks and templates. In a previous article Basic SEO For Ecommerce Stores, I gave you a simple framework for writing product copy. Let’s revisit and expand it.
Basic product copy framework
Start with Features, Benefits, and the Sweetener.
Features are what the product is. For example, a 1/8 inch drill bit.
Benefits are what you’ll use the product for and why someone should buy the item. For example, you might buy a drill bit to allow you to put up a shelf that you use to display family photos
Sweetener is a reason they should purchase now. It can be as simple as Free Delivery or Free Gift wrapping. It’s something extra that tips the visitor over the edge!
The best product descriptions create a story that includes the item’s features, benefits, and closes with the sweetener.
This framework should give you a good starting point. But how can we make it even more compelling?
Getting the tone right
If you don’t have a brand style guide for your business, it’s worth starting there. Creating this document will help you solidify your ideal customer, how to talk to them, and how not to speak to them.
Writing copy is easier if you know who you’re targeting. You can use phrases and slang they’ll “get” while providing a compelling reason for them to buy. So don’t skip this step!
And if you struggle getting the tone right, remember copywriters spend hours and years refining their writing so that it connects with their intended audience. So, be kind to yourself if you don’t quite get the tone right on the first attempt.
Make the buyer the hero of the story
If you have hundreds of product descriptions to write, finding something interesting and unique for each will be a challenge. However, you should be able to craft a story that makes the benefits exciting and move beyond just a list of features.
There are a few essential places to put your keyword to ensure the page has a fighting chance to rank. Your keyword should be in the title, URL, meta description, and product copy.
You only need to include your keyword 2 or 3 times within the product copy. Just make sure it reads naturally and doesn’t come across as forced.
How long should product copy be?
There’s no one size fits all. I’ve seen product copy of under 100 words that hits the spot and is compelling enough to convert. That said, I’ve also seen equally effective copy that’s close to 1000 words.
It really depends on what you’re selling and what you feel the visitor should know before making an informed buying decision.
I’m a big believer in starting with the minimum copy possible and expanding it over time. You can use customer feedback to add new paragraphs or sections. It’s better to have a few lines of semi-persuasive copy than a list of features that convinces no one.
Part of writing copy at scale is having a robust framework. Next, it’s worth building a few templates that are a better starting point than a blank screen. Having a strong starting point allows you to be more creative as the basics are covered.
Before you can create templates, you’ll likely need to write 10 or 12 product descriptions to get the hang of writing this particular type of content.
Writing With Your Flow
Even if you write blogs and copy daily, you’ll have days when it feels easier. I’m a big believer in working with your flow. Within reason, of course!
What I mean is those days when writing feels natural, and you get lots done, keep writing! Seriously. Stay in the flow and try to get more written.
Don’t sweat when you have days where you feel like you’re stuck in the mud and everything is difficult. On such days, switch tasks to something repetitive and simple.
By harnessing your flow, you’ll achieve more overall and with less effort. Of course, you’ll have weeks where you have deadlines to hits and you’ll have to force yourself to keep going. But where possible, work with your flow.
Don’t Forget To Write A Meta Description
Yes, meta descriptions still matter. Google will keep displaying them for every search result for years to come. And while they might rewrite some, you should still take the effort to write a good meta description.
Thankfully, we can use a template and framework to help us!
We have 160 characters. So it needs to be punchy and include our keyword. I’d also suggest adding our sweetener in there too.
Simple framework for meta descriptions
Try to start with a benefit followed by the product title (your keyword), and end with your sweetener.
For example, if you’re selling Swiss timepieces and offer free shipping, you could write:
Combining timeless style with precision, the Blancpain men’s Villeret timepiece is exclusively available at Watchfinder. Free next-day delivery as standard. [157 characters]
As a first attempt, it’s quite good! I’m sure after a few tweaks, it will pull potential visitors onto our page from the search engines.
Even with our basic meta description, we can turn it into a template.
Combining Benefit and Benefit, the Product Title is exclusively available at Retailer. Sweetener.
Pretty simple stuff, really. Well, once you have gone through the pain of writing a few, it becomes fairly easy.
Uploading Product Descriptions To Your Ecommerce Platform
After writing your title, URL, product descriptions, and meta description, you need to upload them onto your ecommerce platform. You then need to add a price and the quantity available. Finally, add them into a product category/categories and set them to live.
Whether you’re using WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento, it’s worth having a checklist that helps you add new products to your store. It doesn’t need to be fancy or long, just the steps you should follow when adding a product.
Both Shopify and Magento are built-in SEO options, allowing you to easily modify the URL, Title, and Meta Descriptions. As WooCoomerce runs on WordPress, you’ll need an SEO plug-in, such as Rank Math or Yoast to edit this information.
Update Your Keyword Map
Your long-term plan should be to rank for the majority of keywords you target, so having a keyword mapping document is vital. We sell a course that teaches you how to quickly build a keyword map.
If you have one, every time you add new products or update old ones, your keyword map should also be updated to reflect these changes. Keeping this document up to date ensures you track your progress and see what pages require attention.
When To Review Your Copy
After learning how to write product descriptions, the next step is to have a review schedule. It’s worth each month analyzing the top 10 pages that bring in sales and the bottom 10 performing pages.
You should see trends between the top 10 pages that you can apply to the worse-performing pages. Plus, you might spot a few tweaks you can make to the best-performing pages to make them even better.
Part of maintaining a strong ecommerce store is excellent product descriptions. The more time you can invest in updating your current copy, the better as you’ll see more sales.
Don’t write some product copy and leave it for a year, only to wonder why you haven’t sold a single one of those items! Constantly invest in your copy and marketing, and watch your results improve.
Should You Hire A Copywriter?
While learning how to write product descriptions and compelling copy, in general, is a worthwhile skill, when you have the budget, invest in a copywriter.
Hiring a copywriter might seem like an expense you can’t afford, but I’d argue it’s an investment in your business that will boost sales and provide a good return on investment.
We have several excellent copywriters on the team who are ready to work with ecommerce brands that are looking to scale. They can take your existing copy and tweak it to ensure it’s magnetic.
Simple Process To Getting Started
Even if you have a better idea of how to write compelling product descriptions, you still might struggle to know where to start. There are a few options to consider.
You could focus your efforts on new products, ensuring their product copy is excellent. Another option is to start from the top and rewrite everything and then add new products, once you’re caught up. Finally, you could do a mixture of the two.
If you don’t have a keyword map, I’d suggest rewriting all existing products and add them to the document. After you’ve got some structure in place, you can start to add new products and write compelling copy for them.
Whichever route you take, go slowly, reward yourself, and track the progress of your efforts. Next time, we’ll look at category descriptions in depth. And before you ask, yes you need them!
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