Write Better Product Copy. Now.

Wanderlust’s vibrantly dyed organic cotton lasts and lasts. Or does it?

Previous posts have stressed the revenue benefits of great product copy. Great copy increases conversions and reduces returns: it’s why brands choose names like “Va-Va Las Vegas” over “Red #471.” Great product copy also builds credibility: if your customer gets exactly what she expected, she is more likely to post a positive review, tell a friend, and most importantly, purchase from you again.

But what makes great product copy? Here are five tips to developing outstanding copy, with an eye on boosting sales.

1. Lead with the WHY?

The #1 mistake ecommerce sites make is wasting precious space telling a customer WHAT they’re buying. Remember, the most precious real estate in writing is the first two sentences: don’t waste that space with mundane descriptions like “Dark wash, denim, capri jeans” or “A set of cotton sheets, including 2 pillowcases, a flat sheet, and a fitted sheet.” These facts are largely self-explanatory, not very inspiring, and usually provide information overlap with your photos.

Instead, engage your customer’s imagination by sharing WHY she needs your product. Don’t be afraid to jump right in and tell her how you’re different from your competition.

“Roll up your hems for a day at the beach, or wear these jeans long for a night on the town. These babies were made to turn heads everywhere you go.”

“3 cents a night is all you’ll pay for the world’s best sleep on the world’s softest cotton.”

By using the most valuable space to showcase your brand’s narrative, you accomplish two goals. First, you create a more engaged customer who is more likely to like and trust your brand. Second, you turn every product page into a branding opportunity that helps your business gain a stronger market identity.

2. Speak to your audience.

While you’re brainstorming how to tell the WHY of your product, don’t forget to keep your audience in mind. You may want to spend some time and money figuring out who buys your products. Or, at the very least, you should sit down and think about who you WANT to buy your products. A target audience of 25-50 year old women is going to respond to a different narrative than 18-30 year old men.

Women 25-50

“Don’t be surprised if your friends ask what your secret is! JavaPlus antioxidant-enriched coffee might just brighten your smile and put extra pep in your step”

Men 18-30

“New job? Big presentation? Don’t blow your big day by running out of energy. JavaPlus antioxidant-enriched coffee can help you feel more energized and focused all day without the crash of sugary energy drinks.”

3. Exude authority.

You’re the expert on your product, so say it like you mean it! Customers who shop online often seek education and information, not just tangible products. If you make your site informative, engaging, and fun to shop, they’ll return time and time again just to read what you write. You may not make a sale every time, but you’ll gradually build a loyal base of long-term repeat customers and brand ambassadors.

4. Invite your customers to be your marketers.

Don’t leave product reviews to chance. Reviews from verified buyers can increase your trustworthiness or destroy your credibility. Imagine a product with the glowing promise of “Wanderlust’s vibrantly dyed organic cotton lasts and lasts.” Which of the following reviews would you want to appear on your product page

”My t-shirt faded after one wash.”

“Backpacked through Europe with nothing but Wanderlust T-Shirts, and they’re still going strong!”

One review basically calls you a liar, while the other helps dispel doubts about your claim.

Your ecommerce analytics should allow you to systematically follow up with customers and personalize your communications based on product and purchase date. The goal is to increase the probability of winning a positive review, and then prominently feature these reviews on product pages and across social media.

You can go a step further by actively seeking out your best customers. Invite them to share stories on a “Our Customers Love Us” page, be featured in a promotional email, write a guest blog, or post photos to your social media pages. The more customers you can encourage to participate, the stronger your branding and customer loyalty will become.

5. Don’t forget the details.

At the end of the day, however, customers still need to know what they’re buying. Yes, sparkling product copy will sell more than boring descriptions. But after you draw customers in with the uniqueness and desirability of what you’re selling, they will want to double check that it’s a solid purchase.

That’s where traditional product copy comes into play. It’s still important to give customers information like size, color, materials, care instructions, etc. With fashion and apparel items, or big-ticket purchases, guarantees and clear return information can often make or break a purchase. Great product copy helps customers overcome their fears and minimizes the risks associated with online shopping.

Changing up your product copy is a quick, affordable and fun way to provide a better customer experience. Give it a try, you might just see an uptick in sales!