Product Descriptions that Sell: 3 Answers you Must Know
Welcome to part 2 of the Product Descriptions that Sell series!
In the first part, I explained the 2 main reasons people buy. If your products and their descriptions don’t appeal to at least one of those two reasons, you’re going to have a hard time making sales.
Head over and read that article first if you haven’t already. And download the free printable product description worksheets if you’d like:
In the second part of this series, I want to explain 3 questions you must answer before you start writing product descriptions.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS QUESTION #1 – WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?
I know you’ve heard it before; define your ideal customer and talk to them and only them.
But you’ve heard it over and over because it is that important;)
Imagine I told you to sell your handmade product to a teenager. What would you say? Which words would you use? What would the tone of your description be? What type of features would you point out?
Now, describe that same handmade product to someone in their 40’s. Would you use different words, a different tone, point out different product features?
Makes a big difference right?
Knowing who you’re talking to will help you write powerful descriptions, use keywords that help you get found and point out the product features and benefits your customer actually cares about.
WHERE IT APPLIES
a) Your keywords
The most important aspect of knowing who you’re talking to is to know what they’re searching for.
If I make a messenger bag but people come across my product listing when they search “laptop bag”, that’s important information to know. I would want to change the name of my bag and the entire product description to appeal to someone who’s going to use the bag specifically to carry their laptop.
Which keywords do shoppers enter into a search bar to find your product?
If you have your own website, Google Analytics is going to be your best friend.
- Log in to your Google Analytics account
- Click on “ACQUISITION” on the left side of the page and then “Overview” under that
- Click on “Organic Search” on that page
- You can then see the keywords people type into Google to find your website
These are keywords you can use in your product’s title and description to increase the chances of your product listing showing up in searches.
If you don’t have stats to work off, take advantage of the information Google shares.
You can type your product name into Google’s search bar and get an idea of what people specifically search when it comes to your handmade product.
Check out the other search phrases that load below the search bar or scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find a list of popular search phrases.
For example, if I type “handmade laptop bag” into the Google search bar, these are the related search phrases that load.
If I hit enter and go to the bottom of the page, the following related search phrases are shown.
I may consider adding “messenger” into my title (Handmade Messenger Laptop Bag) since “messenger” is a popular keyword searched with “handmade laptop bag”. In my descriptions, I could also use “messenger” to describe my bag style or how to wear instead of “cross-body” or “long strap”.
I may also consider offering leather laptop bags or making my bags out of vintage material since “leather” and “vintage” are often searched with “handmade laptop bag”. A small change could really increase my chances of being found on Google, which could lead to more sales.
Don’t expect Google to change their search result algorithm or shoppers to start searching different terms based on your product. You must adapt to them.
The other tool Google offers is a Keyword Planner Tool. It’s for choosing the best keywords when you create a paid ad with them. But if you have a Gmail account, you can use the tool without having to create an ad.
- Google “Google Keyword Planner”, sign in using your Gmail account and then click on the “Tools” tab along the top.
- On the Tools page, you’ll see “Search for new words using a phrase, website or category”, click on that link.
- Enter a keyword or search phrase you think your shoppers may enter when searching for your product and click “get ideas” button.
The results will show you the most popular keywords/phrases that are searched on Google.
For example, I entered “laptop bag” into the Keyword Planner Tool. Based on the results, I may want to use the phrase “laptop case”, “laptop bag for women” and “computer bag” in my product title or description.
B) The tone of your descriptions
Pretend you’re having a conversation with someone you know; a good friend or family member. How would you describe your handmade product to them? That’s the way you should write your product description.
Don’t think in terms of the information you need to get in; that’s how product descriptions become lackluster. Think about how you would speak about your product and get another human excited about it.
Share your enthusiasm, your story, your passion; not a fact sheet.
That’s how you get your product descriptions to be interesting, engaging and authentic.
If your niece is a teenager, how might you tell her about your handmade product? The conversation might be more upbeat, relaxed and fun.
If your ideal customer is someone in their 40’s, you may have an aunt or work colleague you can imagine speaking to. That conversation may be a little more sophisticated and professional.
If I were talking about my laptop bag to someone, which I designed with a sophisticated working woman in mind, I wouldn’t say “Green laptop bag. Handmade. 12 inches by 16 inches.” I’d be a little more descriptive in my conversation and sound less like a robot 😉
And I also wouldn’t use words like “awesome” or “so cool”. That wouldn’t be consistent with the sophisticated vibe I want my bags to give off.
Keep your description interesting and in line with your product and brand.
C) Product benefits
I’m going to explain product benefits in more detail but when you know who you’re talking to, it will help you point out the benefits that are important to them in product descriptions.
A teenager is going to care about much different benefits than someone in their 40’s will. Holding that person in mind will ensure you share information in your description that holds their attention and helps you make a sale.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS QUESTION #2 – WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR SHOPPER TO FEEL?
Descriptions should have a purpose when it comes to feeling. Do you feel anything when you read: “Green laptop bag. Handmade. 12 inches x 16 inches.”
Do you feel a connection to the bag, the maker or the brand? What type of person would that bag be perfect for? Someone whose style is bold and quirky, classic and sophisticated or somewhere in between? I certainly can’t tell from the description.
Create an experience for your shopper! Get them excited and feeling something. One photo and one line of text are not enough.
The work you completed into the first part of this series will come into play here. (Product Descriptions that Sell Part 1)
What did you determine was the main emotion driving your purchases? Are you customers trying to avoid a negative feeling or gain a positive one?
Once you know that, you can get more specific.
Which specific negative or positive emotion do you want to evoke?
If it’s a pain you’re helping them avoid, what type of pain? Frustration, embarrassment, stress, etc.?
If it’s a pleasure, what type of positive emotion do you want your customers to feel? Calm, excited, confident, etc.?
Once you define the exact emotion, decide on the keywords you can use to evoke it.
Use those words throughout your description to describe your handmade product or to paint a picture.
For example, if a soap vendor chooses the word “calm” as the positive emotion they want to evoke, “relax”, “unwind”, “serene” or “soothing” are words they can use to describe their handmade bath bombs or to paint the picture of a stress-free bath time.
“When you’re stressed out and ready for some R&R, light some candles, grab a glass of your favorite wine, draw a bath and drop this soothing bath bomb in. The lavender scent will calm your senses while the Epsom salts relax your muscles….”
Don’t write your description thinking about what you need to explain to sell your product.
Write your description thinking about your customer and how they want to feel.
People don’t care about your product (sad face, I know). They care about how your product will make their lives better.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS QUESTION #3 – WHY YOU?
You need to be able to explain in your description why shoppers should choose to purchase from you. Shoppers have a lot of handmade vendors to choose from these days so when you can define what makes your products special, it not only helps you stand out, it helps you sell.
Think about the last non-essential item you purchased at the mall. Whatever you were shopping for, you likely had a lot of options to choose from.
Why did you choose one store over another? This top instead of that top?
Do you love the store’s branding, customer service or selection? Was one item more suited to your taste than another?
Let’s say a shopper is looking for a long necklace to wear with t-shirts. There are a few different handmade vendors she comes across selling long necklaces. One necklace comes in silver or gold with delicate charms. Another necklace is a bold statement piece that looks like a piece of art. And the other is made out of wooden beads, turquoise stones, and suede.
The shopper loves bohemian style so the third necklace is the one she clicks on to check out.
If the product description doesn’t talk about the inspiration behind the necklace, how to get the boho look or shows the necklace being worn with an outfit that is definitely NOT boho, it’s going to throw the shopper off.
The vendor needs to point out how they are THE business to buy from when it comes to bohemian style. They’re not like other jewelry makers, they have a very specific boho style that comes through in every product and every part of their business. They eat, sleep and drink boho. They had a boho vision of how the necklace should be worn and now the shopper can clearly see that vision too.
You don’t need a groundbreaking product to be able to point out why you’re different and why people should buy from you. You just need to point out what makes you, you.
Think about the following areas:
HOW YOU’RE DIFFERENT FROM COMPETITORS
How is your handmade product different from the other handmade products similar to yours?
Take a look at what’s out there. Scope out your “competition”.
What does everyone seem to be doing the same and what are you doing differently? Where do they go high and you go low? Where do you excel when they fall flat?
It’s not about cutting down another business to build yours up. It’s about finding what makes your business different and highlighting it.
It may not be product related. It could be that you provide exceptional customer service, have a strong brand or have found a way to ship your product that makes the shipping costs lower.
If you’re having trouble determining what makes your products unique, think about this:
You started making your products for a reason. Often that reason is that you thought you could provide something different or better than what was already on the market.
Why did you start making your product instead of simply purchasing it?
This may be an important point to cover in your descriptions.
FEATURES & BENEFITS
Shoppers don’t need to hear about every element of your handmade products. Remember, they care about what your products are going to do for them.
Be a little harsh and challenge yourself by asking “Who cares?”
Does your customer really care about a feature you’re about to describe or do you just want them to care about it?
The shopper likely already knows that.
Which aspect of the product being handmade would make the shopper care? Durability? Customization? Being 100% unique – no one else will ever own one that’s the same?
Has interior pockets?
Most bags have pockets.
What’s special about the pockets in your bags that will make the shopper’s life better in some way?
“Handmade bag with pockets inside.”
May turn into:
“Each handmade bag takes me 1 hour to construct as I reinforce each seam, add interfacing to each piece of fabric and add a total of 10 interior and exterior pockets so it’s durable, strong and functional.”
Consider all the key features of your product and what it means to the consumer. How it’s made, the materials/ingredients used, its functionality, etc.
Don’t assume shoppers know the benefits of ingredients, processes, features, etc.
I’ve used the example of cold process soap before. As a consumer who only ever buys handmade bars of soaps at craft shows or online (I literally have 20 bars back stocked in my home right now;), I have never been told the benefits of cold process soap.
There’s an opportunity there for a handmade soap vendor to point out why I should care about my soap being cold processed. Perhaps all soap vendors at the craft show are selling cold process soap but if only one tells me about it, I’m going to assume they’re the only one using the process and I should buy from them to get the benefits.
You may be doing something everyone in your industry does. But if they’re not pointing out the benefits of why something is done one way or another, that’s your opportunity to stand out.
First, decide on the key features your ideal customer will care about.
If I were selling my laptop bag to a college student who wanted something stylish to carry her laptop around in, was big enough to fit all her books in too and was on a budget, do you think she would care about where I bought the fabric?
Some features my ideal customer may be interested in are:
- Interfaced and double stitched
- Interior and exterior pockets
- Adjustable strap and handles
Then point out those features by describing their benefits.
- Interfaced and double stitched – The thick interfacing ensures your laptop will be protected as it gets bumped around on the bus or shoved in and out of lockers. Each seam is double stitched and serged so those book corners won’t wear their way through and straps won’t break.
- Interior and exterior pockets – Plenty of pockets both outside and inside to keep your school supplies handy and organized. A separate padded compartment for your laptop and more room for books and binders. The smaller pockets are sized perfectly for pens, calculators, phones and more.
- Adjustable strap and handles – Wear this bag high or low, over the shoulder, across the body or carry as a handbag. The adjustable strap and two shorter handles allow you to carry the bag however you like and sit at a level that’s comfortable for you.
Those are the 3 questions you should know the answers to before you start writing your description 🙂
Next week’s article is going to share a template you can follow to write your descriptions and examples you can use to simply fill in the blanks and build your description.
I also have a bunch of little tricks to use, that most handmade vendors aren’t taking advantage of, that will help increase those sales.
UPDATE: The series is now complete! You can check out the other articles from it below:
- Product Descriptions that Sell – The 2 Reasons People Buy
- Product Descriptions that Sell – Templates, Examples & Samples
Feeling stuck on any of the 3 points? Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below!
Can’t get enough of your insights! Keep up the good work.
Excellent article with so much useful information! Thank you!
When I look at my Analytics for organic search, I get (not provided). I have to look at my paid search (I run Google Ads) to see what people are searching for.
Thanks so much Claudette! That’s so amazing to hear 🙂
Thank you too Janna! Glad you’re enjoying the info.
Hi Alan! “Not provided” makes up the majority of my sessions in Google Analytics as well but I’m still able to see several search terms below that. If you haven’t already, you should set up Google Search Console also: https://www.google.com/webmasters
Under the side tab in Google Search Console click on “Search Traffic” -> “Search Analytics” you should find a much more detailed list of search terms people entered when your website appeared (impressions) and when people clicked to visit your website (clicks).
The search terms people enter that bring your paid ad up is really helpful information as well.
Do these steps work gor service descriptions as well?
Wow! These 3 postings were the most thorough and insightful in helping me develop Etsy descriptions. I am going to open a shop soon, and I am at this dreaded stage of writing descriptions. Thank you for your insights and wealth of knowledge. You have me excited about writing these because you explain everything in an extremely relatable and easy-to-digest fashion. Going to attempt these descriptions now. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Hello, I can’t tell you how long I have been looking for SEO/descriptions info., that clear, simple, and understandable. Now, I feel, I can review my descriptions and have confidence that I have the skills to increase my sales.
Example: how to describe your customer based upon age. Using different words, i.e., tone. I can’t tell you how I have struggled with this! Thank You