Silk Roses

Writing articles is easy. Writing a blog isn’t that hard. Tweets are short, hubs and lenses, well, they’re pretty much like articles. Press releases are something you get the hang of once you know how they’re done, so really, content creation is  a bit of a breeze. All except for one thing.

Articles, tweets, blogs, hubs, PR’s and lenses are all designed to bring traffic to your site, but that’s not enough. If you want to make money from the your webstore, you need to convert visitors into customers. The last link in the content chain is your sales pitch and the weird thing is that this is often the aspect of ebusiness which attracts the least attention.

Every product page in your webstore is a sales page but what does that mean? If you follow the example of the internet gurus, you’d need an eye catching headline

A few disjointed lines, probably in red

Some testimonials from customers anxious to report how your product changed their life.

and paragraph after paragraph designed to overcome your resistance to the sales process.


no price – just an add to cart button of enormous proportions.

Of course no-one in their right mind would write a product page that way.

So what should you do?

The usual advice is exceptionally  general.

Concentrate on the benefits of the product, rather than its features.
Use words and pictures to show how the product fits into, and improves, your customer’s life.

And there it usually stops. Some gurus then insist the product description must come before the ‘buy’ button, while it seems just as many say it must come after.

Some experts say the description should be detailed, others that simple bullet points are best.

The truth is that most of the ‘guru’s spend their time selling courses and information and not physical products, and even if they do, they don’t sell the same physical products as you.  Surprise surprise, not all markets are the same.

it’s time to do some research
and apply some common sense

Visit some other stores and look closely at their product pages. Go shopping. Find out what annoys you and what you find helpful.

Above all, remember that this product page is quite likely the only page of your website your customers has ever seen.

Try to provide all the information the customer needs in order to make the decision to buy. Try to think of all the questions a buyer might ask and make sure all of it is available, preferably without having to click at all. If you do have information the customer has to to click to get (like a size chart) have it appear in a separate window, not on a separate page.

As a minimum you need to explain how the product solves your customers problem, and in order to do it briefly you need to apply what is known as the Trifecta Neuro-Affective Principle.

See the problem from your customers point of view. Build your sales text around three points

  • Relate to the customer
  • Redefine the problem with reference to the solution offered
  • Address the most common objection(s) to purchase

Most product pages concentrate on the second point, ignore the first and rely on other web site pages and graphics to address the third.

Here’s a possible example. Lets say you sell artificial floral arrangements and you have determined that your customers value these because they beautify their home without providing any maintenance problems, but they are often concerned that shipping costs will be high.  You might put a shiny graphic on your page saying ‘free shipping’ but you need to be sure your customer knows it applies to him/her.

You can get straight to the point with a headline which connects with the customers because it addresses those points and uses emotional trigger words like beautiful and elegant.

This beautiful arrangement of roses and peonies will add elegance to your home without the maintenance of fresh flowers and at a fraction of the cost.

  • Ready arranged so you don’t have to. No drooping flowers, dropped leaves or water marks on the furniture, just bright beautiful flowers every day.
  • This arrangement is 15 inches high by 21 inches wide, in a quality porcelain vase and is very realistic.  Your friends will never know your flowers are artificial.
  • Free shipping makes even the largest arrangement affordable.

or you could write this, which I copied from a similar website.

Rose and Peony Silk Flower arrangement

  • 15″H x 21″W
  • Crackled Finish Porcelain
  • Designer Silk Stems

I know which one would persuade me to buy.

How about you? What do you think is the most difficult part of writing a product description?

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10 Responses to “How to Sell Products on the Web – Write Good Product Descriptions”

  1. Ali Mujtaba says:

    Hello Lesley, another great article!
    The most difficult part is getting people to actually be interested in that product and appealing to the right kind of people…

  2. lesley says:

    Yes, that’s true, but even if you do find people who are interested, and bring them to your site, if your product description is bad and the product is available elsewhere, they wont buy from you.
    But I do agree, sometimes when you have a product you know can help people, it is very frustrating to find they’re not interested! Thanks for commenting.

  3. I wish more people would write blogs like this that are really fun to read. With all the fluff floating around on the net, it is rare to read a blog like this instead.

  4. Richard says:

    Personally, I think that on most product pages the image of the product is the better selling point than the copy. Good quality images are probably far more important than any text content to show off a product.

    That said, badly written content can make a shop look untrustworthy, so both should be as good as possible, it’s just that I think a product can sell on image alone, but is less likely to sell on text alone.

    Of course, it might be possible to combine the two in a well written video demonstration!

    • lesley says:

      Richard, sorry to take a while to reply to your post, it seems my spam guard is a little over protective.

      I agree with you. Pictures are very important, but consider two points.
      Not all products are photogenic.
      People process information in different ways.

      I, for example, am a flower nut. I buy flower arrangements on the web and I rarely read much of the description. Most of what I need to know, other than the size, is there in front of me in the picture, and the quality and size of the picture is very important.

      But, when I buy something for my home, or something like a computer, for example. I need to know it’s specification, and I need to know that in terms of what it can do for me, as well as absolutely terms. So, it has lots of memory – what does that mean it can do as opposed to what one with only a little can do?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  5. Maria Pavel says:

    Hi Lesley,
    I feel that when you want to sell something, two things matter most: a good and representative picture of the product, and a short but powerful description.
    As client, i really don’t feel like reading for 20 minutes all kind of stories and praises. I just want to know what it does and how it does it.

  6. lesley says:

    Hello Maria, thanks for another comment! What surprises me is that most people know what they need in product description, what it can do, what it looks like and how much it costs. the weird thing is that when we sit down to write those descriptions, that’s often not what we come up with. And those long long sales pitches that just wont tell you how much the item costs drive me mad.

    The key word in your comment is ‘powerful’. A powerful description will tell you what the product can do for you, a wimpy one just tells you what it is and doesnt do anyone any favors.

    Thanks for stopping by again!

  7. Adam Gardner says:

    No matter how catchy your title is, people will still read the descriptions to have a batter insight. What your description should contain? Its an easy answer, go to ebay and see some stuff you need badly, and point down what description fields would make you buy that! As simple as it sounds!

  8. lesley says:

    Adam, I think I’d rather note down the features of products I don’t need, but found I wanted to buy after reading the description. Those are the ones that know how to sell. If you already have a need, you’ve done a lot of the sellers work for him.
    Thanks for your comment!

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