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How to write great product page copy

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One of the most common questions I am asked is “How do I write great copy for my product pages”, in fact I was asked it only yesterday.

There are many motivators for the question : SEO, CRO, merchandising ...

I have written up here some pointers and factors to consider.

Best Practice
AO.com do very well at product descriptions. The anatomy of the page is perfect for a commodity product.

 There is concise copy, lots of social proof, a good specification section, clear feature bullets, plus an illustrated and snappy benefits section -  which is unusual for a white goods site. The page ticks all the boxes in terms of strucuture, interest, tone of voice, detail, SEO friendly (not least of which because it is engaging) and benefit driven. Dare I say it - it is the perfect product page in my opinion. 

Tone of voice
Some organisations have a set of guidelines that describe their tone of voice. If you don’t it is worthwhile creating a document that helps you express what is unique about your brand. The document will often describe soundbites, a manner of writing and examples. There are plenty of examples on Google.

The tone of voice must match your brand - be distinctive if that is the voice of your brand. So for example the National Trust would be Welcoming, Warm and Inspiring whilst the NHS would be Professional, Clear, Respectful. Get your tone aligned with your brand and your customers will respond.

 

How do competitors describe a similar product
Do some research into how your competitors are writing about your products or similar products - are they including information that you aren’t. Can you learn from their mistakes?

 

Keyword Research
Very often you can’t change the name of a product. But a useful starting point is to google the product name that you have. This will show you where you are on the search engine results page in comparison to your competitors. From this you can spot synonyms that they are using that could benefit you too. Plus it might inspire you to change the order of your words and put the most important keywords towards the front of the description.

The biggest mistake is to stuff your product page with keywords. Google knows what you are up to and so do your customers - and it will turn both of them off. Get your tone of voice right and the rest will follow.

 

Terms and conditions
The product page is the main page that the buying decision is made from. Make sure that you cover issues such as delivery price, availability and returns. Transparency at this stage will not only increase your conversions but will say something about your brand - that you are efficient and easy to do business with. Reassurance is key.

 

Benefits
I love the marketing phrase - “sell the sizzle, not the sausage”. Making your product pages benefit rich is one of the key things that you can do to differentiate yourself. Sell the dream, sell emotively. The AO.com site is a great example of this - it would be so easy to sell a washing machine on Tech Spec alone. Their difference is to visually pull out the benefits.

 

Think about structure
Break up your product description - don’t just make it long paragraphs. Think about useful subheadings, videos and pictures.

People will scroll if the content is interesting and easily broken down. They will take from your descriptions what they want to and subheadings and pictures enable people to flick up and down your page in a non-linear manner - don’t bore them and make them read it all from a to Z - because they just won’t.

Think about the order of your structure - a site selling luxury goods would not start with a list of featured bullets. It would tell a story, talk about provenance and describe opinion formers that also liked the products.

 

Think about context
One of the reasons that fashion sites increasingly show you Look Books or Edits is because they want to show the product in context. Good fashion sites show an object shot and then a model shot - let's say showing the clothing being worn. Really good fashion sites show the product being worn as part of an outfit or look. The same should be true of washing machines - this is how good this product makes your home look.

 

Good luck with your product pages - you will make them better by embarking on a journey. Remember to measure conversion and you will see that simple changes will impact you bottom line.

 

e-commerce,

By Simon Crisp (Google+), Director, Edward Robertson Limited

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