Product descriptions, at the core, are all about brevity. You need to be able to clearly communicate the features and benefits of your product without taking too long. An over-extended product description means your potential buyer loses interest before buying. The key here is finding why word choice is important, as a way to get the most sales conversions and other success for your business.
The Elements of Word Choice
For word choice, we’re going to break things down into a few major elements:
- Customization for Your Audience
- Avoiding Generic Phrasing
- The Nuts and Bolts of Readability
When it comes to step #1, you need to make sure that the words you use are less about what is easier to write, or what you would do if you were explaining it to someone in your field. It’s about reaching your audience. Let’s talk about what it means to put the customer front and center, as explained by Sallie Sherman, co-author of Five Keys to Powerful Business Relationships and expert in helping businesses grow:
“Start by thoroughly understanding the customers’ needs and expectations. Then communicate those throughout the organization before building business strategies and plans. Finally, build and implement processes throughout the organization to ensure the company meets or exceeds customers’ expectations. This sets customer-centered standards and ensures the customers’ needs and expectations are being met.”
Figuring out what those expectations are requires creating a buyer persona, a basic image of your ideal customer and what they like. This can inform the type of word choices that you make. For example, let’s say that you are marketing a baby product for young mothers. Would you use the same verbiage that you would to sell beer? The tone just doesn’t match, and would probably actively repel that young mother.
If you’re struggling to figure out how this works out, try spending some time reading ad copy for some competitors in your niche. Do you see certain words and tones that carry over? These may be some of the elements that will comprise your word choice in the future. At this point, you have a destination in mind. The next step is to figure out how you will get there, by refining your base description concept.
Enhancing Your Product Descriptions
Buyer personas help you establish the tones that you want, but the exact word-to-word nature of your descriptions are a different story. This leads into step #2: avoiding generic phrasing. You’ve encountered this before, even if it doesn’t occur to you initially. Have you ever read an ad where a phrase is used that has you rolling your eyes or saying “of course?” This is generic phrasing. People have heard it so often that they automatically tune out what you are saying, which is the last thing that you want when writing ad copy.
To fix this, let’s go back to that classic concept every high-school English class uses: “Show, Don’t Tell.” For example, if you’re selling a tea-kettle, don’t simply say “high-quality.” Say what the material is and explain how it may be more durable than the average alternative. Avoid using superlatives like “the best” unless you have some concrete statistics that can prove it. Transparency is a premium trait people want from the businesses they use. This is an opportunity you can prove to show you talk the talk and walk the walk.
Now, let’s talk about step #3: readability. Most people tend to skim text when they read online, so you want to write with that in mind. This means getting to the point and frontloading the most important things first. This means that you put your superlatives (proven, of course) early on rather than at the end. Use your most evocative and sensory terms early on, but try to avoid going overboard. Remember, your average product description is still 300-400 words. There will be some exceptions, though. For example, with technical products, you can go longer and buck the traditional structure. Why? Go back to your step #1. The buyer personas for products like these are well educated, and demand that they get all the knowledge they need before buying.
Word Choice and Keyword Choice
It’s important to keep in mind that in many ways, the choices you make in your product descriptions also bleed over into your decisions regarding SEO. For example, we mentioned earlier how you need to get into the mindset of your customer before deciding the right word choice. This not only applies to how they shop, but how they search. At this point, you know that the types of keywords you use are integral to your site ranking. As a result, you want to think of keywords that match what people would search for, as well as product descriptions that would match what people need to know. Be sure to keep this tone uniform as well. From your meta tags to your alt descriptions for images, you want to keep to these three main principles.
There is art to all writing, not just poetry or fictional prose. Interestingly enough, product descriptions share one trait with those two examples: every word counts. This makes it all that much more important that you enlist professional help with a product description writing service to combine the expertise of a professional writer with the knowledge of how to approach your market.
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