Why Product Descriptions Are NOT an Afterthought

Viewed as the last stop, the very “bottom of the funnel“when it comes to communicating with consumers, the lowly product description is often overlooked. Considered the necessary but dullest ingredient in the marketing mix, product descriptions are, in fact, vital players in online sales. Like that bland-looking yeast powder you put into bread dough, product descriptions don’t look like much, but when added to the rest of the components, they make magic happen.

Any online shopper is familiar with less-than-satisfactory product descriptions. They usually consist of a bulleted string of technical details copied verbatim from the manufacturer’s website, or, even worse, a few confusing, jargon-laden sentences. You don’t have enough information to judge whether the product will fit your needs, and you definitely aren’t inspired to buy it (I’m looking at you big box electronics retailers).

Product descriptions can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts in two main ways. Keep these in mind when you write yours:

Search Results

In reality, a product description isn’t the end of line; it could be the first place consumers land when they start shopping for something they need. Just like all the other content on your site, these descriptions can support awareness of your brand and help bolster your organic search results. Take advantage of this opportunity and make sure your content is optimized.

Start out by creating original content and incorporate SEO best practices:

  • The product name should be in the headline.
  • Include subheads.
  • Your primary keyword should be in the first paragraph.
  • Include a bulleted list of key features.
  • Bold or italicize important words.
  • Link to other, logical places on your website.
  • Optimize meta titles and descriptions: Even though they have little effect on search results, these descriptions are one of the few opportunities you have to control what the search engines serve to your audience. Write content that will entice viewers to click.

Getting to the Sale

A product description will almost certainly be one of the last things a consumer looks at before buying. That little piece of content has an important job: close the deal. Make sure it has all the tools to do so.

Before you start writing, think about your audience. Who will most likely be reading your product descriptions and what are their priorities? Is it teenagers looking for trendy hair accessories or mountain climbers buying technically sophisticated gear? Tailor your content accordingly.

Provide your potential audience with compelling information, appropriately targeted, that will inspire them. Give your visitors all the reasons why they should buy your product: remind them what it will do for them. Include an informative description, a checklist of all key features and an example of an application for the product. Avoid cliches or too many technical words and always be accurate.

Properly optimized, well-written product descriptions will increase organic traffic, create a better user experience, and elevate your brand above your competitors. Make sure they are a valued part of your marketing mix.

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