Making a product listing that sells is hard work!
You have to make the product, take some great pictures, figure out your pricing, and then you have to promote it.
For many shop owners, writing the product description is the last thing on their minds–some even skip it altogether.
But you know this is important, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this post.
So today, I’m going to break down some of the most common mistakes I’ve come across when writing product descriptions.
I’ll cover just how you can transform each description into a sales-making machine.
Hi, my name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists, and designers make a living by selling their handmade products online.
1. Too Short of a Description
When it comes to writing product descriptions, the first mistake many shop owners make is having too short descriptions, or worse, no description at all!
While it’s true that having good photos of your products is probably the most important thing, your product descriptions are the second most important thing.
Many shop owners do write out a description, but you can usually tell when it was just thrown together as an afterthought.
I see this all the time– there may be one or two sentences listing the material or color of the product, but nothing that really engages with your customers.
It’s tempting to “let the product speak for itself,” and in some ways, that’s a good tactic, but in today’s competitive online market, it’s not quite enough.
You know how awesome your products are, but everyone else doesn’t, and it’s your job to convince them.
A good photo will grab a person’s attention at first, but it’s the description that keeps them there and ultimately, turns them into a paying customer.
I do have a video that talks about what you need to include in every product description, and you can watch that here.
2. Confusing Jargon
The second mistake I see in many descriptions is writing with a lot of confusing jargon.
As a maker of your products, you’re passionate about the quality of your work and you should be!
But sometimes, when it comes to product descriptions, this passion can lead many makers to “geek out” over the processes and specialty materials they used to create their work of art.
On its own, jargon isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it can help establish some credibility.
Think back to a time you spoke with someone about a subject you weren’t familiar with.
Maybe it was a mechanic, telling you what was wrong with your car.
It was probably clear that the mechanic knew what they were talking about, but at a certain point, you just stopped caring.
While there are exceptions, most people don’t want to know how their car works–they just want it to work for them.
So while jargon isn’t necessarily bad, if you use too much, you do run the risk of alienating people who aren’t as familiar with the terminology.
In your product descriptions, use jargon sparingly, and focus more on what the product will do for the customer.
Whenever possible, make the features relatable rather than technical.
3. Trying to Talk to Everyone
Mistake number three I often see is the trap of talking to everyone.
This one is very common because it goes against all of our traditional wisdom.
Most shop owners assume that it’s better to write descriptions that appeal to a wide variety of customers.
It’s easy to think, the bigger the net, the more fish you’ll get!
It makes sense on paper, but in reality, it actually does the opposite.
This is why it’s absolutely crucial that you identify your ideal customer–even before you write a single product description.
Your ideal customer is someone super-specific.
Before making a listing, take a few minutes to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes.
See if you can find them on Instagram so you can take a peek inside their lives for a bit.
- What’s important to them?
- What do they care about?
- Do they use a lot of emojis when they write?
- Are they super zen people, or are they edgy?
By the way, this concept is so important that I made a whole video on it so be sure to check that out here.
When you’re trying to write to appeal to as many people as possible, you run the risk of sounding generic.
Generic sounds boring!
You’re not going to get people’s ears to perk up and ultimately, to buy your work.
When you know exactly who you’re selling to, you can make the description relatable to their exact situation.
You don’t just want to tell a story, you want to tell their story.
Do that, and you’ll have a customer for life!
4. Product Descriptions That are Too Long
The next common mistake is writing product descriptions as walls of text.
While a short description doesn’t do much good, an overly long description may actually turn customers off.
This is especially true if the description isn’t formatted in an aesthetically pleasing way.
When people visit your site, they make split-second judgments that can either cost you a customer or win you a sale.
While you put painstaking effort into each of your photos and descriptions, the reality is that visitors skim through very quickly.
The best thing you can do is to make it easy for them to make their decision.
Break up your description’s text with bullet points and short paragraphs, highlighting only the most relevant benefits for them.
Notice how I said the most relevant benefits?
It all comes back to relating to your ideal customer, and how your product will impact their life.
As you write your descriptions, always keep in mind that you have very little time to make an impression.
When you do that, your writing will automatically become streamlined and easy to read.
5. No Call to Action
Big mistake number five is one that’s easy to forget, and that is omitting calls to action.
At its most basic level, a product description isn’t really a description at all–it’s a sales pitch.
Of course, you want to describe what the product is, but always in a way that makes it easy for your customer to see how it will make their life better.
With a great product description, you’ve hooked your customer.
Unfortunately, many shop owners forget to write a call to action that will reel them in.
This can be something simple, like writing “Order your necklace now ” at the end of your description.
It can also be time or quantity-sensitive, like “add to cart now; these won’t last long!”
Whatever the case, it’s important to tell your customer what to do and why they should do it.
It may seem sales-y, but it’s extremely effective.
Without a call to action, it’s much more likely that your customer will procrastinate their purchase–sometimes so long that they forget about it altogether.
And there you have it, the reasons your production descriptions are so crucial!
If this post was helpful for you, or if you have any questions or mistakes of your own that you’ve seen a lot of, let me know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel where I share even more tips on how you can take your handmade business to the next level.