Running a business online presents some unique challenges that don’t really come up in brick-and-mortar stores. In a physical location, your customer can typically get an idea of your product through sight, sound, and touch; they can ask questions and decide whether they want to buy. Online, they are stripped of that sensory capability, and it falls to the business owner to effectively describe and sell the items using just words and pictures. And that’s no easy feat.
There’s a reason why companies hire for professional tourism copywriting; creating effective written descriptions is a challenge. You don’t have to drop cash on a freelancer, necessarily, but your product descriptions should not be a last-minute thing; they should be a fundamental part of your marketing efforts, and subject to continuous testing and improvement. Convincing product descriptions are especially important with accommodation/event based purchases as you need to overcome this key conversion barrier: it’s much harder to get your time back than your money. How do you persuade prospective customers, sight unseen, that you are the best choice? Here are three tips for writing effective product descriptions.
Know your customer
Is your target market retirees with cash to burn? Young families who like being outdoors? The coveted 18-29-year-old male demographic? Your product descriptions should reflect the type of person you’re selling to; the very best ones will directly address that ideal customer on a personal level. What’s their sense of humor like? What kinds of words does he or she use, and which ones turn them off? Write the description as if you’re having a conversation with your customer, and make them imagine what it’s like to book with you. An accommodation targeting older couples should write in a more formal, straightforward manner; a tour aimed at twentysomethings should emphasize the energy, fun, and can’t-miss excitement.
Writing product descriptions can be very tiring and time-consuming, especially if you’ve got a lot of products to sell. But if you don’t provide enough information to entice the customer, then they’ll go somewhere else. Even though this aspect of e-commerce is so vital, many sites just have a few bare-bones describing what’s for sale.
When purchasing online, customers want to know as many details as possible. Provide those sensory elements that they’re missing; describe your products or services in terms of what customers will see, smell, taste, or feel. Avoid generalizations like “excellent quality”; be specific about what makes your stuff so great.
Sell an experience
Dryly describing your products or services isn’t enough; it’s very easy to get entrenched in technical language, and that becomes quite boring to read. The key is to sell the experience of booking with you—and this is especially important for reservation-based businesses which rent out items or provide tours. If you rent out kayaks, don’t just copy-paste the hardware specs; customers don’t really care about that. Sell the experience of renting that kayak, and taking it out to sea. Emphasize how much fun it’ll be, what customers will get to observe, and how great they’ll feel after a challenging day in the waves. Customers are far more likely to buy or book if they can imagine the experience.
Product descriptions are challenging; you need to effectively convince your customers that they should buy something sight unseen. Don’t just spit out the basic specs of your product or service; sell the experience, provide details, and tailor your writing to appeal to your target demographic. The better your descriptions, the more persuasive they’ll be when it comes time to buy.