How to Write Product Descriptions That Sell

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

NY TIMES SMALL BUSINESSI’m sure you have heard of the popular blog, Apartment Therapy. One of my favorite sections there is Maxwell’s Daily Finds, for many reasons. But as a marketer, one of the reasons I like this section is because Maxwell writes product copy really well. Let me explain.

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If you think people want to read a ton of copy about all the virtues of your product, they don’t. Not at first anyway. When they are ready to make a purchase they may want more details, but to initially hook them you have to keep it short and sweet. You have about 100 words to emphasize the main value of the product (what problem does it solve), convince a person why they need it and have a closing line that gets them to buy.

Here are two good examples of product copy on Maxwell’s Daily Finds & why they works:

how to write good product copy

Provendi Rotating Soap Fixture

“I love these so much we used to sell them through our little online Apartment Therapy store years ago. They were hard to find, but leave it to Anthro to solve that problem. Designed for public schools in France, the ‘sweetly scented, softly foaming vegetable-based soap’ rotates and slowly wears down. New soap replacements just get screwed onto the ‘spike.’ It’s a great solution for kitchen sinks, bathrooms without a lot of counter space OR beside bathtubs or outdoor showers. Oh, and it’s a conversation starter as well.”

So in less than 100 words, Maxwell made this product very appealing.

Why It Works

  • Solves a problem (when there is no space for a soap dish)
  • It has an European chic appeal – “designed for schools in France”
  • It has eco-appeal – “vegetable-based soap”
  • It will last a long time – “slowly wears down”
  • It can go in multiple rooms “kitchen sinks, small bathrooms, outdoor showers”, so encourages buying more than one
  • It is  a cool product – “conversation starter”

product copy examples

Original Antonioni BLOW UP Movie Poster

“I love original European movie posters to wake up a room and make a statement. This is one of the best, and I originally saw it used in a Ralph Lauren showroom in NC. Huge (55×79), vintage from 1967, perfect in its raw style and brilliantly red, it’s aspirational in price, but worth it.”

Why It Works

  • Solves a problem – “wakes up a room and makes a statement”
  • It has vintage appeal – “vintage from 1967″
  • It has European chic appeal – “original European movie posters”
  • It has cache – “used in a Ralph Lauren showroom in NC”
  • Yes, it’s expensive but it’s “an original”,  “huge (55 x 79)” and “one of the best movie posters”

When writing product descriptions, the key is to solve a problem, give multiple reasons to buy, and leave with a closer that addresses any doubts a buyer may have.

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© 2012 – 2014 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  1. Good day I am so happy I found your website, I really found you by accident, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great job.

    Reply
  2. As always, good advice! Thanks!

    Reply
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