Product Writing Basics, Part 2: Judgement Day
By: Taylor Daine
Before I get to the good stuff, make sure to check out Part 1 of product writing basics, or else you won’t be able to keep up with all the intricate characters and interweaving plotlines in Part 2.
Now that we’re all on the same page, welcome to Part 2 of how to write great content for product pages. I could rehash all of the things I said before about how important product pages are, but I’m not going to. You know why they’re important, I know why they are, so let’s not waste time.
What I wrote about in Part 1 were some of the most general and broad techniques to writing product page copy, but in this installment I’m going to get more into specific strategies to employ on your pages. Some of these strategies will help in generating your content, and some will help in presenting it in a meaningful and compelling way. Without further ado, I present The 4 S’s of Sweet Product Pages.
In Part 1 we learned that we need to avoid “fluff.” So we’re going to lose our boring copy that describes our product as “high-quality,” “durable” or whatever boring adjective we had before. But what do we put in its place? What kind of language is going to get potential customers excited about us? Appeal to their senses. You can write paragraphs telling your customer what your product does or you can focus on how it will make them feel.
Picture this: you’re in the business of selling sporting goods. To write copy that will engage, activate all their senses: make them see the arena or field, make them hear the roaring crowd and bodies shuffling, make them smell the fresh pine tar, make them feel the sweat on their brow and adrenaline pumping. Activating your readers’ senses will get them thinking about using your product themselves, a pivotal step in the purchase decision for any product category.
A while back I wrote about the effectiveness of stories in your content, and I’m back to preach the good news to your product pages.
Though you may not realize it, most product pages already use storytelling. Take for example, a product page for a kitchen blender — the copy “Mix your favorite fruits together for the perfect smoothie!” is in itself a story. Though that phrase by itself is ok, it’s just ok. A great product page takes that story further, informing the experience (there’s that word again) of using the product. Maybe that smoothie is being made after an arduous workout to replenish energy, or maybe it’s made on a beachside cabana with the sound of waves in the background. Whatever story you make, the product you’re highlighting needs to be an integral part of it, as that’s the experience you want to get your readers in the mindset of.
In case you were asleep during Psychology 101, or if it’s just been too long since that lesson, let me give you the skinny on social proof. In a nutshell, when presented with an ambiguous set of choices, people will generally assume the behavior of their peers.
“But Professor Taylor,” you ask, “What does that have to do with my product page?”
I’m glad you asked. Because your product page can be one of many different stops in a customer’s journey in a purchase decision, it’s the kind of perfect storm in which social proof tends to have the strongest effect. The most common form of social proof businesses utilize on their pages is the testimonial, and lots of businesses have discovered the power of it, so give yourselves a pat on the back! However, many businesses forget one specific part of that definition of social proof when including testimonials, the word “peer.” The people we’re most likely to be influenced by are people who are similar to us. So when choosing a testimonial to include on your product page, be sure to select one from somebody who represents your ideal customer.
Ok, I admit it, I made that word up. But “The 3 S’s and 1 V of Sweet Product Pages” sounds kind of lame.
The point is, if people have to strain even the slightest to absorb the content on your product page, they’re either going to skim through it and not get the full effect, or they’ll just simply leave the page. So how do you make product page copy that’s easy on the eyes? A lot of it is simply common sense design: don’t use harsh contrasting colors, use proper spacing for legibility, ensure your layout works on multiple devices. Some facets of see-ability are more geared specifically to product pages, however:
- Proper delineation — if you have a page dedicated to one specific product that is part of a larger product line, be sure you’re exact with where the qualities of the specific product ends and the larger line begins.
- Proper density — decide exactly how in-depth your product page copy needs to go. For less expensive products, people will tend to invest less time in reading — thus, make sure your copy is short, sweet and scannable.
So there we have it, we defeated Cyberdyne and prevented the robot apocalypse. Now Sarah and John Connor can — oh wait, wrong Judgement Day.
So there we have it, 4 facets of creating compelling, interesting and effective product page copy. With these techniques and what we discussed in Part 1, you’re closer to reaching and influencing your potential customers than ever before. And if you’d like to close that gap even just a little bit more, check out some of our upcoming seminars and classes where you can receive more hands-on training in developing your marketing.