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Guide to writing compelling product and service descriptions

1 March, 2019 · 9 min read·Content creation
Guide to writing compelling product and service descriptions
Explore key ways to make your product or service description stand out and help you convert more visitors to customers.

You may not realize how important your website’s product and service descriptions are to conversions, but it’s imperative that they’re appealing to potential customers. These descriptions are your opportunity to emphasize why your product or service is the right solution. Focus on the benefits to the user rather than just features or functions.

Writing the perfect product or service description isn’t easy. It’s part science, part creativity. You need to be brief while also offering a level of granularity that makes visitors think your solution could make their lives much easier.

Let’s explore some key ways that you can make your product or service description stand out and help you convert more visitors to customers.

What is a product or service description?

Let’s start with the basics. A product or service description can be defined as marketing copy that tells the visitor why they should buy. This description can include details, features, and benefits.

When developing product or service descriptions, put yourself in the position of a possible buyer. What would this person want to know? How can you highlight what makes you unique or what your competitors lack?

Many of these can be written by looking at the tenets of a unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a specific factor or consideration of why your product is better. Its focus is on what’s unique. While your company as a whole may have a USP, each product or service should as well. Every detail that comes after the USP in the description should support it.

Why are these descriptions so important?

Ultimately, they can be the difference between a sale or no sale. In fact, an ecommerce study found that 20% of purchase failure is related to unclear or missing product information. No matter what you sell online, you have to make it clear what it is, who it’s for, and why it matters to them.

With better descriptions that are strategic in nature versus written off the cuff, you could see an increase in your conversions.

Focus on your ideal buyer

If you write a description with the masses in mind, it won’t speak to anyone. It’ll be too general. The most successful descriptions are written for your ideal buyer and almost seem personal.

Frame it as a conversation you'd have with the buyer. Ask and answer questions so the buyer gets the information they need. It’s also important to use the second person or “you” within the content, so it feels personal. You might start by imagining exactly what you’d say to a buyer if you were talking to them in person about a product or service.

This, of course, works best if you have a complete buyer persona and understand the needs, wants, challenges, and objections of a buyer. Focus on the type of language they’d use to describe their problem.

Let this inform what you write so it resonates with your audience. If they think you get them, they’ll be more likely to want to hear more.

Engage buyers with benefits

As mentioned earlier, it’s a good practice to think about benefits in your descriptions rather than just features or functions. At the end of the day, your copy should tell a buyer how much better this product or service is going to make their job or life.

You’ll also find that when you begin to write the description, you have some bias. You know exactly how it works. But your customers don’t!

Engage buyers with benefits

Buyers aren’t so caught up in features — they’d rather learn the benefits. For example, if you sell software, you’re probably inclined to list out its features and specifications, which do matter. But don’t forget the human element of how the software will save them time, reduce costs, and enhance productivity. They want to know the end result rather than the bullet points for features.

Benefits can be positive like these, or they can illustrate what the customer would no longer have to deal with, such as struggling with outdated programs or technology. Don’t just sell a product or service, sell an experience!

Forget filler words

Every writer has a tendency to use filler words. These are mostly adjectives that don’t add any substance to the description. Calling the excellent quality or the easy-to-use dashboard is just fluff. No company describes quality as so-so or a dashboard that’s difficult to use.

You have to strip out this language that doesn’t mean anything. If it’s not supporting your USP, it should go. When you go on and on with superlatives, you actually become less persuasive because the buyer doesn’t see any concrete reasons why they should care.

It’s important to be specific in your descriptions. What can you say about the quality that’s substantial? Is the quality highlighted in how many happy users you have? This adds credibility.

The points you make can follow an easy template of a feature plus a benefit. Describe how a particular feature delivers a much-needed benefit.

Give superlatives credibility

Superlatives are completely insincere if they can’t be supported. Simply saying you’re the best, fastest, or most advanced isn’t enough. You have to make a case for your superlatives.

For example, if you’re claiming a device is the most advanced of its kind, then you need to inform the reader as to why this is. This could be a series of features that make it the best, like long battery life, higher resolution, and better contrast.

Using numbers here is a good idea. You can’t simply define a device as better because of its long battery life — how long is it? How does it compare to others? So, you could say something like: “The device has best-in-class battery longevity at 40 hours, which is three times longer than similar products.”

This type of language is all about proof. No one will believe your claims if you don’t back them up. When you have proof, you’re more likely to gain trust from buyers.

Appeal to imagination

Since your content is on a website, the buyer can’t physically hold it if it’s a product, nor can they immediately begin using it if it’s a service. So, you’re going to need to appeal to their imagination. Consider the best ways that you can do that in the non-text part of your description, like imagery and video.

Appeal to imagination

For the text, get the user to imagine using the product. Give them a sneak peek into how their life would be different with your product or service. You may find that telling a story here gets the information across. The key here is to express what using and owning such a product or service will feel like.

Use stories to break barriers

Stories are a great way to make your descriptions stand out. They also can lower a buyer’s rational barriers. What this boils down to is that the reader should forget the buying process and fall into the story.

How will you know where to start? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who makes the product or service?
  • What was the inspiration for the product or service?
  • What obstacles needed to be overcome to release the product or service?
  • How has the product or service been tested?

These questions will help you draft a short story about the history and goal of the product or service. By showing others that the product or service does offer the results your buyers need, they’ll be more inclined to actually convert.

Include sensory words

Sensory words can increase sales. Restaurant marketing has used this tactic for years because it engages the brain. It makes sense to use these words in product or service descriptions.

Sensory terms are usually adjectives that depict some type of sense: sight, sound, feel, and taste. This is an area where adjectives are okay as long as they add to the meaning of your sentences. When invoking the senses, you’ll want your readers to truly be able to imagine that sense.

We recommend words like bright, smooth, velvety, and glowing.

Attract with social proof

We’re back to proof, and social proof is huge in product or service descriptions because it’s a real customer sharing their feedback. Hopefully, the feedback is very specific and leans heavily on the benefits they’ve experienced.

If possible, you’ll gain more credibility with a name and picture of the customer. This also makes the online buying process more personal. It’s real people sharing their stories versus the company telling its buyers how great it is.

Another way to leverage this idea is to mention in the review that the item is popular. People love to buy things that are popular because it appeals to their fear of missing out.

Make descriptions scannable

Let’s face it — not everyone enjoys reading big blocks of text. With so many things competing for our attention, any information you provide should be scannable. Write a brief intro followed by bullet points. Then you can feature reviews or other value-added copy.

Use headers and subheaders as much as you can to break up the content so a buyer can quickly spot helpful information. You’ll also want to include plenty of white space so the page doesn’t feel crowded, which makes it hard to read as well. Consider increasing font sizes to make it scannable.

Stay on tone

Your brand should have its own tone and voice. It sets the parameters for everything that’s written about the company. Don’t stray from it in your product descriptions.

You have a tone and voice for a reason — so that you have a consistent way of talking to customers. It would be odd if your entire website had a professional tone, but your product or service descriptions included slang. Be cohesive in your descriptions and the rest of the content on the site.

Optimize for search engines

Last but not least, your copy needs to be optimized for SEO. So while you’re addressing humans on your website, your copy needs to appeal to search engines like Google too. Determine which keywords are most important to potential customers who may be searching for your product or service so Google can rank your website higher in the results.

Then you need to use those keywords strategically on the page as well as off the page with your meta title and description. As a rule of thumb, two or three keywords per description is more than enough.

Keep tracking your SEO efforts to look for improvement and make adjustments. It’s not as easy as it sounds, so a lot of businesses opt for professional SEO services like B12 SEO to develop and maintain a fully integrated SEO strategy.

Better descriptions await!

Now that you know everything that goes into a product description, you may feel overwhelmed. Don’t worry — B12 is here to help! We offer copywriting services aimed to boost your website’s conversions. Get started with B12 today to give your descriptions the refresh they need to make your website more successful.

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