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October 20, 2014

eCommerce Product Description Writing Driving You Nuts? Here are Six Ways to Describe Almost Anything

There I was – stuck, staring at my computer screen and gritting my teeth. “All these calculators are virtually the same. All calculators add, subtract, divide and multiply.” I huffed, “How am I supposed to write different copy for 25 calculators that are all pretty much identical?”

Ever been there? Ever had several catalog or eCommerce descriptions or pages of copy to write that deal with products that are the same, but different? What’s the biggest problem? Knowing how to identify those all-important differences!

Strategy 1 – Create a List of Methods Used Before
One way to get around this would be to make a list of the different ways you have described products in the past. Then, you can simply refer back to your list for ideas. If you’ve written about USB speakers before, check your copy to see how you described them. Can some of that information be repurposed for current descriptions? Create your own cheat sheet.

Strategy 2 – Problem/Solution
What problem does the product solve? And for whom does it solve the problem? Here’s one example from Sauder:
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Strategy 3 – Inspire
What provided the inspiration for this widget? This plays into storytelling which is a huge factor in persuading people. Look at this copy from LL Bean:
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Strategy 4 – Impress
Did this product impress someone (or a group of people)? Copy like this from Everything Sportsman is a good example.
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Strategy 5 – Celebrate
Is there something to celebrate about this product? These ASICS athletic shoes deliver information that boosts consumer confidence while describing the benefits of the shoe.
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Strategy 6 – Why You?
Why should customers buy from you? With so many choices available online, you need a way to answer this question fast. Dropping hints within your product descriptions can go a long way to building confidence. Here’s an example from Marvolus.com.
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I’d love to take credit for all these product description methods, but I can’t. You see, they come from a well-worn eBook I bought a while back. You can thank Marcia Yudkin for this dose of brilliance.

Marcia is author of the eBook “73 Ways To Describe A Widget.” I bought the eBook on a whim because it was inexpensive and the title intrigued me. Doing that was definitely a smart move. I printed the eBbook and took it with me when I went to a local sandwich shop for lunch. I thought I’d flip through a few pages there then read the rest later. However, by the time I’d finished my sandwich and fruit, I’d also finished the book.

This quick-read doesn’t waste time with long introductions or fluff. It has an easy-to-follow layout that simply delivers idea after idea after idea. Seventy-three of them to be exact. Each idea was backed with a quick example to show you (as well as tell you) how to use the idea. “Why didn’t *I* think of that?!” was frequently mumbled under my breath.

But the proof is in the practice (my version of an old saying). Would I ever actually use any of these bright ideas? Or would this be just another eBook I bought, read and put on my shelf? The test would come about two weeks later.

Just imagine needing to write copy for 20 sterling silver necklaces that are all very similar. After about 10, I started to draw a blank. That’s when I remembered the “73 Ways” book. As I flipped through the pages filled with ideas, the floodgate opened, and the ideas began pouring in. Not only was I getting ideas directly from Marcia’s book, but the inspiration was also allowing me to come up with more ideas of my own. Before long, the project was done, and I was off to celebrate.

As a copywriter with more than 25 years of experience, I have certain resources I keep on my bookshelf within arm’s length at all times:

In just a short time, “73 Ways” has earned its place on the top of my bookshelf. If you own an eCommerce site, this will give you countless ideas on how to connect with your visitors in new ways and write copy that persuades and informs with ease.


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Karon Thackston is president of Marketing Words Copywriting Agency helping Amazon sellers, eCommerce site owners and content marketers rank higher, convert better and make more sales.

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