5-Step Formula for Writing Handmade Product Descriptions that Sell
The Aristocrat Open Edition Print by Janet Hill Studio
This is a guest post by Julie Corbett of On the Dot Creations
Wouldn’t it be great if our handmade product descriptions were so spell-binding that customers couldn’t wait to buy our products after reading the details? Sounds like a dream, right? Perhaps you struggle with writing descriptions and feel like your product details don’t have the “pop” they need. Is there a foolproof formula that can help handmade sellers write fabulous product descriptions?
In short, no. There is no “perfect” item description. There are, however, some “best practices” for writing a product description that will influence your customers to buy. Want to know the formula? Read on.
Step #1: Get to the Point (a.k.a. Consider the “Snippet”)
Unlike those dreaded essays that we used to write in school, in which teachers told us to introduce the subject of the paper gradually with an introductory paragraph, Etsy product descriptions must be a bit more straightforward.
In the first few sentences of the product description, we must tell the customer exactly what the product listing is for. Why be “blunt” so early in the description? Because only the first several characters of the description appear in the search results of sites like Google and Bing.
For example, let’s say that I’m looking for some fun soaps to display in my son’s bathroom. If I type “novelty robot soap” into Google or some other search engine, I might find some cute soaps like these from LoveLee Soaps on Etsy:
Here is how this soap would appear in the Google search results:
You’ll notice three colors in each search result:
Blue – the item title
Black – the “snippet” (brief description of the item)
Green - the link to the product page
The black “snippet” is perhaps most important, because it should tell the customer exactly what the product is. Notice that the “snippet” wording comes directly from the first several characters of the Etsy product description. Notice that seller Leeana’s “snippet” is very effective: “These retro robot soaps are made . . .” Those words retro, robot, and soaps are important keywords.
Now we can see why the beginning of the product description is so crucial, right? If a seller uses unclear, flowery language at the beginning of description, a person reading the search results might be clueless as to exactly what the product is!
Take away tip: Make sure that the first few characters of your product description include the basics of the item and entice the customer to read further for more details.
Step #2: The Specifics
Next comes the fun part of the product description: the specifics! Because our customers can’t see our products in person, we must describe them in great detail. I used to tell my high school English class students to write item descriptions as if there were no photo to accompany the description. Could your customers get a mental picture of your product if you had only words to describe it?
Use strong nouns, descriptive adjectives, and vivid verbs to describe the item. Of course, our customers have the benefit of a product photo right above or beside the product description, but challenge yourself by pretending that the photo is missing, and you must convince the customer to buy without seeing the product. How do your product descriptions measure up?
See this fabulous Etsy forum thread for 20 Questions Your Buyers are Asking. You’ll find some GREAT tips here!
Take away tip: Draw vivid mental pictures with your product descriptions so that customers could visualize your products even without seeing the photos.
Step #3: Your Inspiration
Next in your product description is an important mention of what inspired you, the handmade artist, to create the item. This personal touch might not be appropriate on some product descriptions, but for a handmade piece, I believe it is definitely appropriate!
Many of your customers didn’t just stumble upon your handmade goods . . . they looked for a handmade option on purpose. Reward them by explaining your inspiration, your process, and your love for your craft.
Step #4: First Person Pronouns
Going right along with point #3 above, some handmade sellers choose to use personal pronouns like I, me, we, etc. in their descriptions. Other sellers take a third-person approach, describing the products in a more straightforward “salesy” manner.
Of course, whether you use personal pronouns in your item descriptions is up to you, but remember that many customers like to hear about your personal experiences with your products. If you decide not to use first-person pronouns for your listing wording, just stick with that same approach throughout your entire shop. Be consistent.
Take away tip for Steps #3 and #4: Don’t be afraid to let your customers know that your handmade products were created by a real, live PERSON!
Step #5: Upselling
Upselling is the “secret weapon” of successful handmade shops! Upselling is the process of linking to other products or pages in your shop so that customers will remain on your site longer (hopefully producing more sales).
Think of other items in your shop that coordinate with your item:
items that are similar in COLOR
items that are similar in PATTERN
items that are similar by SEASON
items that are similar in WHO who would use/like them
Let’s refer back to the robot soap example again. Leeana didn’t use upselling in her robot soap listing, but here are some ways that she could incorporate this trick:
Since customers might search for robot soap for a little boy’s bathroom, let’s consider other soaps that boys might like:
At the end of the robot soap product description, Leeana could say, “If you like these robot soaps, you might also like these other fun soaps in my shop.” (link)
“Looking for other cute soaps to display/use in your child’s bathroom? How about these fun options?” (link)
Remember that anytime you link to other pages/listings in your Etsy shop, those URLs become clickable links.
Another idea here is to look through your shop and see if you sell any items that coordinate with the listing you are describing. For example, do you have a bracelet that coordinates with the necklace that you are describing? Your customers might not know that you have a matching bracelet if you don’t tell them.
Take away tip: Encourage customers to check out other items in your shop by sharing links to similar products.
Now that you know the 5-step formula, compare it to your product descriptions. You’re probably already implementing many of the steps, but are there some that you can improve on? Let us know in the comments which step you are going to start working on today.
After obtaining a degree in English Education, I taught high school English for nearly fifteen years before leaving teaching to care for my young son. Shortly thereafter, I discovered the world of blogging, and my family blog Corbett Capers was born. My blog On the Dot Creations came next, where I combined my love of polka dots with my admiration for all things handmade. I scour the web for the cutest polka dotted items I can find, and I also enjoy posting tips for handmade sellers, especially in the areas of product photography, item descriptions, and communication with customers. I hope to share my passion about effective communication with Handmade Success readers.
I live in North Carolina with my childhood sweetheart Jon, my six-year-old son Mason, and my dog who thinks she’s a human, Daisy. Hobbies are taking photographs, singing in church, dabbling in graphic design, and reading books with my son.
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