They say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. This is mostly true, except when it comes to your product titles and descriptions when selling online.
That’s not true! These are often sadly neglected as many designers think it makes no difference. They need to be well crafted and enticing if you want people’s interest in your products to turn into sales. And this holds true for pretty much anything, from cupcakes to coasters. There is no such thing as a boring product, only a boring description.
So, here are 4 ways to improve yours:
- 1. Sell the result (not the product)
- 2. Tell stories
- 3. Use keywords
- 4. Don’t neglect the boring bits
Look at the images below from the famous Asterix comics. When average good guy Asterix drinks the magic potion brewed by the village druid, he develops superhuman strength to fight roman soldiers barehanded.
If you were to sell that potion, you wouldn’t do it by saying, This potion is delicious, and it makes you strong. You’d say, “Want to kick some Roman soldier ass and be a hero?!”.
Ultimately, the potion is not what you are selling. You are selling the superhuman strength and a shot at stardom. Another way of putting this that you may have heard it: Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.
You’ll find this tactic in all big brand ads. It’s why you always see a gorgeous woman sidling up to a man after he’s shaved with Gillette razor blades. They sell what the guy hopes he’ll become after using the product, and not the actual razors. (Although to be fair, that one is actually true. I use Gillette and my wife is smoking hot.)
Remember: people do not buy products, they buy better versions of their life. You are not just selling an LBD – you’re selling something that will make a girl feel confident, classy and beautiful at her next work function, date, party, whatever.
Those beauties above are from these designers: First row: OkaMbali, Claire Fourie Designs, VKG, Trend In Style Fashion Boutique. Second Row: Threadz Clothing, Langa Eclate La Mode, Trend in Style Fashion Boutique, Marique Yssel
You’re not selling baby clothes – you’re selling how the parents feel when they hold their bundle of joy in your cute outfit, and all the adoration that comes from people liking the pictures on Instagram.
This is what you must do with every product you sell – no matter how mundane it may seem. Find out what it is you are really selling and describe that.
Stories are incredibly powerful. It’s part of human nature. I can remember many stories from my childhood and recall them without any reference, but I’ve already forgotten what that email from yesterday said. As humans we are wired to respond to stories – they used to be how we passed on histories and traditions; they’ve been used to teach us lessons; and in advertising they are incredibly helpful for creating images of the lifestyle you’re using to sell your product.
Shop for the dreamy items in our picture at: Dreamcatcher by Wild Minds; Engraved Wooden Spoons by Swagger Collective; Pastel Gingerbread House Decorating Kit by Annie’s Baking Club; Woodlands Combo by La Fede; Rose Gold Palm Tree by Lens and Hues Handmade; Straight-Cut Lace & Mesh Stretch Dress by Hoiden; Black & Gold Protea Cheeseboard by Create Ceramics; Gold Rutilated Quartz with Moissanites in 9ct rose gold Ring by MD Jewellery Design.
So, tell me a story about your product and how it will change my life (think of tip 1 above).
It doesn’t have to be a novel! If people can write amazing stories in 6 words, then you can pull a few good sentences together.
Give people a frame of reference behind your product photo. Is it a vintage typewriter? Maybe someone used it to write love letters long ago. Is it a pair of earrings? Maybe they were inspired by a dream, or something beautiful you saw. You could even make up a little fictional backstory to go with your piece.
Give your product life. Make the buyer feel something. It takes your product from being just an object to something with intangible value.
You want to give yourself the best shot to come up in search engines, both on Hello Pretty as well as on Google. To do that you must have the right words – keywords – in your description. This is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
But, don’t worry, you don’t need to know the technical stuff to make it work for you. (Most geeks don’t even know how it really works – but shhh, don’t tell them I said that.) All you need to do is make sure you include words that you think people would use if they searched for a product like yours.
If you think your rugged scarf will make a great gift for a guy, then don’t only use the words rugged and scarf, but also things like guy’s gift, boyfriend, help your boyfriend dress better and so on.
Never overdo these words, and make sure you work them into your product description in a natural fashion (see tip 2 above). Throwing words in and making a paragraph soup won’t be helping your customers.
An update from 2020: Google has an amazing tool that you can use called the Keyword Planner. Use that to help you find nice descriptive words that will help your product descriptions blosson.
Having said all that, the boring bits are still important. We’re talking about things like sizing, colours, dimensions, materials used, waiting (lead) times and so on.
Think of when you buy a new laptop. The RAM and processor and so on are important, and we consider those things when buying. However, deep down, what really sold it was that we cannot wait to get home and open that sleek new laptop. But if that laptop didn’t live up to the specs we thought we were getting, we would return it!
Describe the shape, size, colour and material of your product. Make sure people know exactly what they are buying. If the colour will change over time, then say so. If it’s made to order and will take at least two weeks, let them know. Make it clear and concise and unambiguous.
Ultimately, these are not the parts that you use to sell. The details are the steak, and what you sell is the sizzle. However, the steak is what the customer finds when they open the parcel you sent them, so you need to make sure it lives up to their expectations.
How you describe your products is how your customers will view them. You’re passionate enough about what you create to have built a business out of it. Take that passion, and make potential customers feel the same way.
By way of example, Apple is in the business of thrilling people with design, not laptops.
What business are YOU in?
With grateful thanks to Menno Gazendam for generously providing this advice for Hello Pretty sellers. Menno is an engineer by day, launches side projects by night and travels in between. He is often described as “intense”. Read his blog here or follow him on Twitter at @mennogazendam.