As a web content writer, I’m often asked to write – or rewrite – product descriptions for e-Commerce websites. The ultimate goal is to sell the advertised products or services to people searching for them. To succeed in today’s hyper-competitive online environment, content must be findable and compelling. It should also be targeted, original, optimized and persuasive if it’s going to outperform the competition and appease search engines.
I like to break sites that sell services and/or products into two separate categories – branded and non-branded. By that, I mean those that sell branded products to consumers who already have a brand name in mind, for example The Schticky, as seen on T.V. – and those searching for generic (or non-branded) products.
For now, let’s focus on 5 factors that make a generic product – everyday products with no specific brand affiliation – appealing to both consumers and search engines while also generating revenue.
1. Write targeted product descriptions – Who are you writing for? Men, women, families? Once you’ve determined who your audience is, create a ‘persona.’ Ask yourself, “What does my ideal customer want? What do they expect? What motivates them?” Find the answers to these questions and answer them in your product description. And, as much as you can, personalize it.
2. Write original product descriptions –Duplicating product descriptions across an entire site; using the manufacturer’s product description word-for-word or over-optimizing (keyword stuffing) just won’t cut it. Do so at your peril. Put simply: differentiate, don’t duplicate. Product differentiation is especially critical if you are competing with other similarly-featured products, so:
- Research your competitors – look for gaps in their offerings – are they hitting on all of the product’s features and benefits?
- State similarities; emphasize differences – i.e., product size, performance, price, delivery, availability, specs, and customization options.
Look for the gaps and fill them.
3. Optimize your product descriptions – You’ve done your keyword research. Now, it’s time to put it to work. Start with a winning headline for your product. Based on experience, the most effective headlines and product descriptions are a combination of smart marketing and ‘SEO’. Draw them in. Create a ‘benefit’ and ‘keyword-rich’ headline and/or sub-headline for your product description. Write for readers, but also use relevant keywords when possible. As tempting as it is, don’t over optimize. That can make it sound silly and it may work against you in search engines. When in doubt, remember this: search engines don’t buy – consumers do!
Tip: place your keywords in your URL, (h1), (h2) and optimize your product images using keywords (liberally) in ‘Alt Tags’ and captions.
4. Write persuasive product descriptions – The more you tell, the more you sell, so answer frequently asked questions – do you? can you? – either within the product description itself or directly on the product page. Deal with privacy, return and warranty policies. Talk about terms and conditions; satisfaction guarantees; forms of payment; contact numbers (local & international if you’re global); addresses; reference memberships and affiliations with industry-specific organizations. Encourage customer reviews and testimonials and display them on the product page. When you do that, you build trust and break down potential ‘barriers’ to completing a purchase.
You can address some, if not most of this information in a ‘boiler plate’ statement on the product page.
5. And finally . . . Ask for the Order! You’ve done your homework, you’ve written a targeted, original and persuasive product description. The consumer has found your site/product in the SERPs. Now, ask for the order! Don’t let all your hard work go to waste!
Tip: Create a sense of urgency:
- Special Promotion!
- While supplies last!
- Offer good until . . .
- Price reduced!
It’s a fine line to walk; a balancing act between being found and selling a product. A good rule of thumb: When you’re writing your product descriptions, always keep the end – and the consumer – top of mind.
Guest Post by Ray Litvak – Ray gets his daily fix of Writing Content as the owner of Writing Web Words in Toronto, Ontario. He understands the art and science of Writing for the Web and discovers and places the right words in the right places on your website to increase rankings and conversions.