copywriting

Improve Your Handmade Product Descriptions in Minutes

Got a few extra minutes of time to devote to your handmade biz? Spruce up your handmade product descriptions with these quick and simple tips!

Wrench Charms
Wrench Charms from Qutie Supplies

Handmade sellers have many “plates” to spin: product design, copywriting, product photography, marketing, customer service, etc. You’re busy.

Extra pockets of un-scheduled time are few and far between, but when they do come along, I have an idea for you: use that time to make some improvements to your product descriptions.

The following tasks take just a few minutes of time but can have a lasting impact on your customers (and your bottom line).

Add Testimonials or Positive Feedback (10 minutes)

Handmade artisans who sell their products online already know the importance of social proof.  A great way to include social proof in your online shop is to include testimonials or positive feedback in your product descriptions. If you sell similar items, gather testimonials or feedback you’ve received about those items, and include them in the product description. Customers love to read about others’ experiences with your products, and some won’t make a purchase if they can’t find any positive reviews.

If you sell on Etsy, you have access to your customer feedback in your account, but you’ll need some sort of system for tracking and/or gathering your product testimonials.

Testimonials often arrive in the form of:

  • Comments on your business Facebook page
  • Emails from customers
  • Convos from customers on Etsy

Create a document called “Customer Testimonials.” Copy and paste testimonial wording into the document (along with the name of the customer, if desired), and keep it handy for including in your product descriptions.

Answer some FAQs about the Product (10-15 minutes)

If you’ve ever received an email or an Etsy convo with a question about the product, consider including that question (and your answer) in the product description! If one person had a question, it’s likely that others will too!

Creating a section in the product description called “FAQs” draws the potential customer’s eye to that section. If the product details are buried deep within the description, the customer might skim right over them. Pull out the important details in an FAQ section.

Add Upselling Links (5-10 minutes)

I’ve talked about upselling here and here on my blog, but in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, upselling is linking customers to other products you sell that are similar or complementary to the product you are currently featuring.

There are two ways to include upselling in your product description:

  1. Add links to coordinating items (think matching pieces).
    1. If you sell necklaces, add links to matching bracelets and/or earrings.
    2. If you sell pillow covers, add links to the pillow inserts that go inside the covers.
    3. If you sell tablecloths, add links to the matching napkins.
  2. Add links to items from the same category/section in your shop.
    1. Use wording such as, “Click here to view the other ___ in my shop.”

Remember that on Etsy, links to other Etsy listings or shop sections become clickable, making it easy for customers to click over and view your additional products. Your goal should be to keep customers in your shop as long as possible.

Organize Your Product Description Layout (10-15 minutes)

Customers can easily become overwhelmed by a lengthy product description. In fact, if your description is long, they might just skim over it or not read it at all! Yikes!

Organize the description however you wish, but here are a few sections to include:

  • keyword-rich description of the product
  • product details (dimensions, materials, etc.)
  • FAQs
  • your creative process (if desired)
  • your inspiration (if desired)
  • upselling (links to other products in your shop)

You could even use characters to separate the different sections of your product description. I like how this seller sets off certain parts of her product description with lines above and below the sections:

JillianReneDecor Pillow
Pillow from Jillian Rene Decor

NOTE: Avoid using creative characters in the beginning of your product description. Remember that the Google snippet comes from the first several characters of your product description, and you don’t want to waste that SEO juice with nonsensical characters! Read more information about the Google snippet for your handmade product listings.

Proofread Your Product Description (10-15 minutes)

We talked about proofreading in this post, but just to re-cap, a product listing with errors could cause potential customers to doubt the quality of your product. Check your product listing for wording errors by using a free online editor such as PaperRater or Hemingway Editor.

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I’d recommend that you schedule a regular check of your product listings. Create a monthly calendar and update one listing daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—whatever you have time for!

The next time you have an extra 10-15 minutes to devote to your handmade business, use this list of tasks to improve your product descriptions. You’ll be glad you did!

Juliebio

Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

The Reason You Simply Must Proofread Your Handmade Product Listings

Vintage-ErasersVintage Eraser Tops from The Newton Label

Want to know how to make your handmade product listings more attractive, persuasive, and easy-to-understand? Brush up on your proofreading skills.

Before you head for the hills screaming, “Oh no! Not a grammar lesson!” – hear me out.

You already know that a fabulous product description is crucial to selling your product. You’ve spent time thinking of descriptive nouns, persuasive adjectives, and vivid verbs to describe your product. You might have even completed a product descriptions course and used the tips to improve your copywriting.

You’re not finished yet. Your product listing needs one extra layer of tender loving care before you send it out into the world to help sell your product: proofreading.

Want to know why proofreading your product listing is so important? Here’s why:

A product listing with errors could cause potential customers to doubt the quality of your product.

What in the world does a spelling or grammar error have to do with the quality of my product, you ask? I know, I know. It doesn’t seem fair that people would think less of your handmade product because of a wording error, does it? But they might.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a grammar whiz to be a good proofreader. Read on for the areas you should check.

Basic Proofreading for Handmade Sellers:

  • Spelling
    • Remember that spell check doesn’t always catch errors such as their/they’re or its/it’s.
  • Punctuation
  • Grammatical Structure
    • Are you familiar with the Grammar Girl website and/or podcast? She approaches English grammar in a fun, easy-to-understand way.
  • Conciseness
    • Say just what needs to be said; don’t be too wordy.
  • Spacing
    • Look for extra spaces between words, sentences, and paragraphs. Keep it consistent.
  • Jargon
    • Remember that just because your wording is free of grammatical errors doesn’t mean that it is clear to the customer. Do you use jargon (terms that apply to your niche but that your average customer won’t understand)?

Your product description isn’t the only shop wording to proofread. Here are some others:

  • Shop announcement
  • Seller profile
  • Shop categories
  • Tags
  • Message to buyer (automatically sent after customer makes an Etsy purchase)

So what is a non-grammar whiz handmade seller to do? The following reminders will help you improve your proofreading skills:

  • Read your product listing (title, description, tags, etc.) for errors and then leave it for a while.  Come back to it later when you have “fresh eyes” to spot errors.
  • Copy and paste your wording into a text editor of some sort. Fix any errors that you find.
  • If you know someone who is a grammar whiz, beg, plead, or bribe (☺) them to read your wording and point out any errors or unclear wording.
  • Take your time when checking your product wording. Product descriptions that are written hastily are more likely to contain errors.

Okay, confession time. Which of the following proofreading styles best describes you?

(a) I carefully proofread all of my product listings and feel comfortable correcting the errors myself. I’m pretty good at proofreading.
(b) I struggle with proofreading my product listings. Customers sometimes point out mistakes that they find in my wording. I need to work on this skill.
(c) Proofread? I’m supposed to proofread my product listings? ☺

Tell us in the comments, will you?

Juliebio

Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

How to Sell on Etsy

hspricetags

It’s Lisa here, and you know me as a monthly contributor for Handmade Success. What you might not know is that I’m also owner of the Energy Shop on Etsy: a spirited little spot where I sell gemstone jewelry and Feng Shui supplies. In that, I turned $100 worth of supplies into thousands of sales and a second income for my family. When I opened the Energy Shop, I soon realized that I loved the business side of my shop as much as I loved making the products that I sell. I devoured marketing strategy, and I turned my hobby into a successful small business.

I love to talk shop!  And as time passes, I find that I have more and more to say on the subject. Therefore, and in honor of the Energy Shop’s third year of business, today I’d love to share and discuss how to sell on Etsy.

While there are mention-worthy alternatives in the world of handmade marketplaces, nothing has taken off the way Etsy has. When I started in 2010, there were approximately 400,000 active sellers on the marketplace. Today, there’s more than a million and counting.

Here are some tips for getting a head start when building your creative business on Etsy …

Take fresh photographs

Be sure to make your pictures bright, crisp, and clear. Without good photography, your products simply will not get noticed. You can follow a few guidelines for top-notch product photography, such as:

  • Use models (when possible).* 

The better you can help your customers imagine using your product, the better your sales conversion will be. In general, when people are considering any purchase, they imagine that product or service already in their life. If that’s an appealing idea, they buy the product.

Models show your piece being worn or used, giving the customer an even clearer mental image of where the product would fit in their own life.

*I’ve heard some sellers say that they’re not fond of products photographed on models because it makes the product look used. Most sellers taking shots on models are professional enough not to sell things that have been worn – I give the product away to the models who wear it (and so do the other sellers I’ve interviewed). You may want to disclose in the listing whether the stock for sale has ever been worn.

  • Simplify backgrounds and backdrops.

A simple background directs the customer’s eye to the product for sale. A creative or busy background forces people to search for the product for sale, and most potential customers won’t take the time to find it. Try to keep the photographs clean, clear, and bright. Remember: The more professional it looks, the better your overall presentation will be.

If you have an already simple-looking product (such as dainty jewelry or white porcelain dishes), experiment with different scrapbook and stationery papers.

Finally, make sure your backdrops and backgrounds have a matching theme and that every picture helps to strengthen your brand identity. For instance, I try to capture an earthy, slightly magical look in every product photo. I find that three to four different (but matching) backgrounds keep my shop looking cohesive, yet add variety to my listings.

  • Lighting matters.

Lighting is the most important aspect of product photography. If you can find the right natural light to shoot your product, you will save yourself hours upon hours of photo editing. Experiment with both indoor and outdoor lighting at different times of day to find the perfect shot.

For example, if your shop is romantic, model shots could be taken at golden hours (sunrise or sunset – when the sun is golden and appears soft and diffused). As I said before, my jewelry is shot in high, direct sunlight, and this often leaves distracting shadows in the picture. However, it saves me time in editing because I’m always pleased with the exposure (the brightness and vividness of the picture). You can defuse strong sunlight by shooting a product through the window or outside under cloud or shade.

  • Patience is key.

Give yourself all day to take the photographs you need because it’s the first thing that’s going to matter to your future customers. There’s a lot to learn and adjust in product photography: lighting, exposure, backdrops, focus, etc. Take deep breaths and allow yourself the space and patience it takes to improve your skill.

Write proper listings

One of my favorite lessons in creative business building is on complete copywriting. Copywriting is what you might already be calling a “listing” or “description.” It’s when the text you use helps to advertise your product, and your listing should absolutely help you make the sale.

Remember: (1.) Your customer can’t touch the product, so you have to describe the physical experience for them, and (2.) If you don’t take the time to list your product properly, you can’t expect the customer to give you the sale.

I see too many Etsy shop listings that look like they belong on Craigslist, i.e.:

5″ x 11″

Black with white trim

wood frame

No – n.o. Your visitor won’t go for this! Welcome them into your shop by pretending that you had a physical storefront, and a potential customer just asked you for more detail on this particular item. In actuality, that’s what they’re doing when they click on a picture in your shop, and you need to take the time to properly respond to their interest.

Start spreading the word

Again, this is all part of building your creative business, and we’ll discuss this further in some upcoming posts. In the early stages of a shop, time is most certainly on your side. Start a blog by the same name (or if you already have a blog, start a shop by the blog’s name), and use Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Set up all of your social media accounts and invest some time establishing them now, so that when you get busier (and time becomes harder to come by), you can choose which social media outlets are most enjoyable and beneficial to your small business.

Create an experience for your customer

Think about your favorite booth at an art show. It’s an experience. It has atmosphere and ambience, and it compels you to take a piece of it home. That’s what we’re going for inside your Etsy shop.

Think of what your brand represents: Is it warm? Magical? Cozy? Bright? Exciting? Innovative? Informational? Dainty? What adjectives describe it best? And once you’ve identified those adjectives, does your shop send that message upon arrival?

What might you do to create an atmosphere and ambience that compels your visitor to take a piece of your business home?

Start now

Just for kicks, have a look at my first sale. (For the record, my heart just swells every time I see that picture, and I broke many of the rules I preach today.  Why did I take pictures of my bracelets on a cell phone? I have no idea.) Please realize that your business will evolve, and you’ll refine your approach as you grow. I wish you all the best in your endeavor!

lisawashi

Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity

Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be … you.

The Best Way to Make Your Shop Totally Irresistible (plus a giveaway!)

A couple of months ago, the husband and I ventured out on our first date night in over a year.

We have two small children, and escaping the revolving door of potty training, clean-ups on aisle everywhere, and refereeing who hit who first is few and far between.

I researched several dining sites for an urban, cool, yet romantic spot for me and the husband to gorge our faces on good food and good (adult) conversation. After about an hour, I had a top three list of restaurants with great ratings, serving American/European cuisine, awesome locations, and the grown- and- casually sexy vibe I was going for.

(Yes, a ‘casually sexy vibe’ is totally a real thing.)

I had before me three restaurants that sold virtually the same product and service, had a site with beautifully styled photos of entrees and appetizers, and a bouquet of testimonials to back their awesomeness. So how did I choose?

I went with the restaurant that gave me the ‘this is so me’ factor.

The ‘this is so me’ factor is exactly what it sounds like. You stumble into a store or group, or onto a website, blog, or online shop. You start to browse, take in what they have to offer and what they have to say, when you realize (all wide-eyed and giddy) that this is so me! and you pretty much can’t get enough of.

Great web copy gives your right people their ‘this is so me!’ moment. It flirts with your senses, your wants, and what matters to you most, drawing you in to the point that

You wouldn’t think to buy a handbag, necklace, or home décor from anywhere else.
It differentiates you from every other person selling virtually your exact same product or service.

Here’s how you can start creating a ‘this is so me’ factor for your right people:

1. Know who you are and what you stand for—what’s your message? Your why? The reason you started and believe wholeheartedly in what you’re doing

2. Know who you’re selling to—the fancy phrase is ‘target market.’ Understanding your market and what makes them tick helps you create that moment for them

3. Create an experience—using your product, tell your customers a story that they can relate to (e.g. how an accessory can make you feel when getting dolled up for your mate on a hot date night)

As a free gift to everyone, check out the worksheet 6 ways to rock your creative business’ website for more ways to make your people feel at home in your shop.

And for 2 lucky winners, my book Read All Over: the Creative Girl’s Guide to Writing for her Business Website will show you the intricacies of writing (and reading) online, help you get clear on who you are, who you’re talking to, and the best way to communicate with them.

To enter, leave a comment telling us about what you struggle with most writing for your online shop or website. The giveaway will end Thursday, August 16th at 6pm PST.  Winners will be chosen randomly and announced on the blog Friday, August 17th.

Thanks so much for this awesome gift, Tiffany!!!

 

Tiffany Clarke Harrison — Blah Cubed

Tiffany Clarke Harrison is a copywriter for women entrepreneurs creating businesses and lives they adore through their talents. Her goal? To help you gain a better quality of life and business by making you sound even more amazing online than you already are. You can find Tiffany at blahcubed.org, @blah_cubed on Twitter, or on Facebook.

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Invocations and Instructions to Buyers: How to Write A Product Description That Sells

Last month I talked about how to develop your storytelling skills (because everyone has a story worth telling), and this month I’m going to teach you how to apply them to your product descriptions.

japanese paper-wrapped pencils – vintage wallpaper from maoiliosa

Product descriptions are generally less intimidating because you’re telling the story of whatever you’re selling rather than your personal odyssey.

But first, we’re going to start with the magic of invocation. 

Long ago in college, I was an ancient Greek mythology major (When people ask me how you become a copywriter, I tell them you start by majoring in the thing that is least likely to get you a job). We read a lot of plays, and they all started with an invocation: a “command or conjuration”. In the beginning of any Greek play, the chorus gets together to set the tone of the play. Since the ancient Greeks had no conception of spoilers, this can be a giveaway if you want to be surprised, but it’s a quick and easy way to get your audience in the same mental space as the characters.

For me, writing product descriptions has always felt a lot like writing an invocation. After all, product descriptions have the same purpose. You want your audience to feel a certain emotion as they’re introduced to the pictures of your product. If you’ve done your research right, this emotion will help convince them to click the button and buy your product.

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