Ecommerce Product Descriptions: Optimizing for Conversions | Maddy Osman | Skillshare

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Ecommerce Product Descriptions: Optimizing for Conversions

teacher avatar Maddy Osman, SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      What You'll Learn in This Class


    • 2.

      #1: Products Descriptions: The Basics


    • 3.

      #2: Product Images


    • 4.

      #3: Videos & Other Media


    • 5.

      #4: Ecommerce SEO Basics


    • 6.

      #5: Social Proof


    • 7.

      #6: Selling Product Descriptions as a Service


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About This Class

Don't settle for the swipe copy a manufacturer sends you or a few haphazard sentences you wrote just to get the job done. Engaging product descriptions involve so much more than text—they incorporate SEO best practices, multimedia (not just static images!), and provide customers with answers to the questions they need in order to convert. Join Maddy Osman, SEO Content Strategist from The Blogsmith, in a session focused on creating engaging eCommerce product descriptions that actually convert.

Meet Your Teacher

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Maddy Osman

SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith


Hey all! I'm Maddy Osman, or as my clients know me, The Blogsmith. I write for high-authority publications like Search Engine Journal, GoDaddy, WPMU Dev, and Sprout Social.

Check out my new book, Writing for Humans and Robots: The New Rules of Content Style. It's an essential reference for online content creators and a modern-day homage to The Elements of Style.

It's hard for me to sit still, and I'm the co-organizer of WordCamp Denver and the Denver chapter of Freelancers Union. I'm also on the board for BMA Colorado in charge of social media.

After a few years in sales, I was feeling unfulfilled and decided to go out on my own. Thanks to many years of blogging and web development (and networking!), I started my freelance career off with a bang, and ... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. What You'll Learn in This Class: hello, skill share and welcome to my newest class, which is still about content but touches on something a little bit different than what I usually talk about, which is e commerce. And so the reason that I'm sharing this class with you is because I originally put the material together for an online event called Wu Sash, which was all about woo commerce, which is a WordPress e commerce plug in that you can use to turn any WordPress website or block into a fully functioning store. And so, um, something that I have recently been doing a side project of sorts is my own e commerce business. It is a travel sort of a peril like funny Travel Sings website called Tanks that get around dot com. Um, and it is also based on Wu commerce. It uses that specific plug in. But what I've been investigating recently is part of launching this brand is how to create product descriptions that compel people to convert that make sales. And so, um, this presentation this class will go over a number of factors to consider not only when you're writing product descriptions, but some of the media that you could incorporate, in addition to the actual words, um, you know, plug ins and sort of different integrations that you might want to consider. Teoh additionally inspire people to convert, and also, at the very end, I'll touch a little bit on if you want to add product descriptions to your existing offerings, say if you're already ah, freelance copywriter, how to go about selling these things and how it's kind of different than traditional, um, copy sales or writing plot posts and things like that. So without further ado, I will leave you to check out the class and look forward to seeing what you come up with after you check it up. 2. #1: Products Descriptions: The Basics: So let's go ahead and start with just the very basics of what you need to know to create legitimately good product descriptions that can sell. Really, The first thing to keep in mind is that if you have access to some sort of pre written copy may be provided by the manufacturer or drop shipper, you don't want to use that. So, for example, of the screenshot represents the copy that's automatically provided when I use a product generation tool for a printing company that I use for. My website thinks that get around dot com and you know it's not. There's nothing wrong with that, per se. It kind of gives you the details of the product itself, but there's nothing unique about it. If somebody else is using this copy to which I would imagine they are, since we all anybody who uses a service print full has access to it. It could be a duplicate content issue, and for a search engine, if it's noticing duplicate content done, it's less likely that your website is going to be range for whatever you're given. Keyword is on that page. It could also turn into an actual penalty that herds the rest of your website from being able to rank. Besides that, it's just it's just boring. There's nothing compelling about it. There's nothing that makes me want to buy. So even if you were to use aspects of this description, for example, you might use like the information about the blend listed here, you know, 50% polyester, etcetera. You should still be creating other texts around that. So, you know, no matter what, it shouldn't just be that you copy and paste whatever description you're provided with for a couple of reasons. So another thing to keep in mind. Ah, lot of this will be a lot of one of them that tell you is gonna be fueled by actual stats and, you know, numbers that support what I'm saying just so that you get the best idea of what works. So here was a specific study where service survey respondents return an item bought online because it didn't match the product description on the website. 50% of those surveyed respondents said that, And so another problem that people make a Z evidence here with their product descriptions is that you know there's some sort of mismatch between what people expect that they're getting based on what they're reading and the product description and what they're actually getting. So no matter what, you want to make sure that, however you position your product description and any of the media that supports it, that you're not misleading people, because at the end of the day it's just going to create a frustrating experience for them. It's gonna probably result in a return on your side. So, you know, lost money in the long run. Um, you know, do do the best you can to represent your product as it is. So another thing to keep in mind, the less familiar users were with an item, the more detailed information they wanted before deciding whether to buy it on. This is another study I just forgot to with Lincoln, But the idea here is kind of like it's it's comparable to like buying technology, right, because when you're buying a new phone or a new camera, or maybe a new speaker system, for example, these are all things that you want to know a lot of information about you want to know if it's going to be compatible with some of the stuff you already have. You want to know if you know the tech specs justify Theo extra spend and so not only technology, but say you're releasing a totally new product to market. You wanna take the time to really over explain it to people because otherwise they're just not gonna buy it because they have no idea what to expect. And this is another case where drawing in other types of media would also be useful. But we'll talk about that shortly. So finally we have erections, a couple more things, but one of the major things that will help you actually shape the writing of your product description and is answering the five W's and H just like you would. You know, if you're creating, like a blogger, tickle or even a book or something, you want to be thinking about all these things. So this is just in adapted list to help you to start thinking about what you need to include in your product description to make it compelling, but also help with some of those things we just talked about that might get in the way of somebody buying or keeping an item that they bought. So make sure to answer who the products for What are some of the features that we need to know to make a purchasing decision? When would you use this product on this is, you know, definitely applicable. If it's something seasonal, Um, where would you use the products? You know, if it's like like for my travel, let's say I might say, Like, you know, here are specific places that this is relevant to, um why you should use the products. So talking about features versus benefits or why Also, um, sees me. If your product is something similar to something that's already on the market, what makes it better than the other brands is worth touching on. And then finally, either talking about and or demonstrating how to use the product, especially if it's something that's not familiar to people, will be important. So when it comes, Teoh the structure, what you're writing for your product description. One thing that seems to be really helpful with product descriptions in particular is using bullet points. As you can recall back to my example here. Not that it's the perfect example, but it's easy to communicate that information about, um, you know, like, what's in the blend? You know what What are the size is what are the different materials that go into it. Listing it by bullet is effective. Not that you want the whole product description to be in bullets, but maybe those finer details. And then, um, you know, listening out the tech specs is also important at this time on explaining what they mean helps you toe have expert authority over what you're talking about and to reassure people that you know what you're offering is good. And then at the end of the day, also to make sure that whatever you're writing isn't so focused on the technical to the point where it takes away from your branding, you know your specific voice and style that people could find, you know, not just on the product descriptions, but on other pages of your website on your blogged, and also use it to tell a story of why this item might be relevant to someone. Um, you know, at this point, it helps to also be thinking about your competition. You should have, even if you don't have an exact two competitors to look to. You should have an idea of who your in exact competitors are, and it helps to have tools that help you compare your website to There's some Rush, which is pictured here, has a really great sort of competitors, er analysis a whole dashboard or tools. Honestly, Aziz well, as a trust is another s CEO focused tool that can help you to see you know, what the camp competition is up to you, how they kind of right compared to you and also how they're using their voice. Teoh distinguish their products. That could be some ideas of how to do that with yours. Not that you ever want to directly copy anybody, but just things to keep in mind if you're low on inspiration. So next we'll talk a little bit more about product images and other media to help support your writing. 3. #2: Product Images: in the modern digital world. Copy alone isn't going to sell your product, especially because consumers air now so used to the idea of seeing, at the very least, supportive images. So let's take a look at a couple different types of media that you might want to incorporate on your e commerce website in order to sell products. So the 1st 1 that you might consider is lifestyle photography. So you might also like how you have how you might have manufacturer provided copy. You might also have manufacturer provided stock photography, and while you should certainly use those pictures or pictures similar to it if you want to shoot them in your own style, um, you also want Teoh use life self photography to kind of tell the story of the product. Didn't use. Having product phone photos alone is kind of focusing on, you know, the clinical details of the product, which people want to see. But in order to connect the gap to get them to want to buy it, you've got to show them what it would be like to see people like them wearing those products where they would use those products etcetera so Here are some lifestyle images that we've taken for my brand tanks to get around dot com the one in the top right of a friend. Colorado photo dot com took and also the boomerang under it. But then we also take our own life. South Photography pictures. Um, whenever we go on hikes because we live in Colorado, so many beautiful backdrops. And since we're all about, like, travel and things like that, um, if it's nicely so you know, it's cool to get professional photography done when you have that option, and and obviously we've taken it. But, um, you know, it's also okay to be, you know, doing your own life South photography if it's complimenting photos that you already have, So I just want to show you this boom ring. If it'll let me, I don't I don't know if it will go here ago. So, you know, stuff like this is fun to not just still images, but having images that move like a boom oring or gift or something like that. That's something that you could also be repurpose ing for ads like I'm Facebook or even just like your social media, Really no matter what? Um, the point of having lifestyle photography or what I was going to say is it doesn't just have to live on your website. It can also just as easily be repurposed to your other channels. Email, social, etcetera. So let's let's keep moving on. Um, one thing to think about with at least some of your photos again. You know, I talked about how we took some of the lifestyle photos ourselves and granted, you know, I just got a new iPhone and the cameras grades better than it's ever been. So the pictures look nicer than what my natural photography ability is. But image quality really is something that you want to be concerned with when it comes to using images to sell your products. Because 63% of consumers I think that the quality of the products image is more important than product specific information. So what? This might also mean besides, just like the raw material of whatever images you have to work with, is, um, that you want to make sure that if you're using like an image optimizing tool on your website to help speed it up, which is something associated with improving S CEO. You want to make sure that it's not taking quality away from your products photos, you know, even if that means it's going to take a little bit longer for your pages to load that have product images. Because if it looks great and if it looks like crap, then that's going to take away from people's trust and interest in buying from you. So just another thing Teoh be thinking about as you're creating various types of imagery to help sell your products. So here's another thing that's kind of interesting and is sort of a new trend in, um, product descriptions and to the media that accompanies some 360 degree images or videos. So according Toa Omni Vert on average, using 360 degree photo as a display ad banner increased conversions by 410%. That's no small thing. I highly, um, I would guess that it's just because people can get a little bit more tangible with the items that they can mess around with in this format. You know, e commerce is still not as big as it could be just because so many people are afraid to buy stuff online and, you know, have that expectation mismatch when it finally arrives on their door. And so this this singular feature makes it a little bit closer to the retail shopping experience, where you can see and open things up and touch time. I mean, I know it's not exactly that, but it's certainly a lot closer closer than a one dimensional product photo. So another thing to consider when you're creating a product photography and, um, this image that I linked tears from WP solver, I'll provide a link Teoh, where you can find various WordPress plug ins that you can use to implement on 360 degree images and videos. So speaking of videos, we're going to talk about those a little bit next. 4. #3: Videos & Other Media: depending on how many products you sell, creating videos where each one might not be reasonable. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't explore using video really some of your products because videos, well, pretty flame. Right now, according to an Emoto, 73% work videos are visitors who watch product videos will buy. It's kind of hard to argue with that stat, but let's dig in a little bit more as to why. So, Um, one of my favorite examples of a brand that's really effectively using video to sell more product is app. Sumo and AF Sumo is one of my favorite websites. They sell lifetime software deals that are geared towards entrepreneurs. So people who are either single users or who might have a small team and for every video or for every product that they sell, which changes like every week, every two weeks we'll have new stuff up, and they're cycling through their product offerings every time they have a new product to sell. They create one of these videos. That's kind of an overview. It walks you through the tool. It gives you some use cases, you know, you get to see it in action. And so, um, you know, the idea is that it's reducing the, um, confusion you might have about a product before buying it. It's familiarizing you with It's definitely, you know, showing off its best features, which makes you want to buy it. So here's another interesting stat. According to Wise Owl, 69% of consumers believe a product demo bestest system when making a purchase decision. So absolute does that really great? If you're looking Teoh, have an example of someone that you can work off of for your own stuff. You know, it's this is more be to be focused, whereas a lot of e commerce sales, um, especially those focused that need product descriptions are more b two c in nature. But I still think that it's a great thing, a great tool to use in terms of helping to inspire your own product demonstrations. You know, it might physically look different than how this video turned out, but the idea in terms of how they're showing off different products is is definitely worth um, learning from. So another thing to keep in mind when it comes to these moving images is yes, so dolls First give centered email campaign resulted in 103 conversion rate increase 103%. Excuse me, and so you know it's not. Every campaign is going to be that great, but it just goes to show that there is something to be said about images that move and images that capture attention this way. And, you know, in this case, it wasn't a gift that lived just on a product page. It was something that was used in email to then connect to that final sale. So be thinking about how these different types of media can help you throughout the sales process. Not just that, the point of purchase, Um And so that's kind of my last point here that these things aren't just for your e commerce website that can just as effectively be leveraged on social emails, etcetera. So next we're gonna talk a little bit about e commerce SDO basics to keep in mind while you're crafting the copy and otherwise for your e commerce shop 5. #4: Ecommerce SEO Basics: because so many sales will be one AM according to how effectively your coming up in search for one of her key words that you're trying to rank for. It's worth time. Talking a little bit about e commerce S seo basics, at least is they relate to product descriptions. So one of the first things to No, I guess, is that 50% of queries, um, are more than four words long, meaning that people search for specifics over generalities. So just to give you an example here, a search for women's felt great loafers is probably going to be more likely. And it's definitely going to lead to a more relevant result than just somebody who's typing in low for So you want to be thinking about What are my customers searching for to find, You know, these uber specific things? Um, you know, on the long tail what it would be called off the keyword where we're going into three and four plus words. In order to figure out what keywords you're going to be able to effectively rank for, you're gonna want to use a keyword research tool like a traps, like some rush, which we've already discussed very briefly. So far, a tool like this can tell you things like how much search volume is it getting over, right? Relevant regular basis. Excuse me. Um, and it can even tell you how popular and item is in different countries. So say, for example, you are selling the example here is men's black suit jacket in the United States. That would be a good country to be optimizing for because it gets a global search volume or a sari. A United States volume of 250. Search is usually this is by month, but this looks like it might be more closer toe lifetime data. I'm not I'm not 100% sure. Usually a trust shows you by month, but anyway, um, compare that to if you were selling things only two people in Canada where it's only 10 monthly searchers, and you can see that that might not be the right way to go about it. If that is your market. So it's important to be driven by data. The other thing that you want to keep in mind. One of the other, most important things here is keyword difficulty, and so eight drafts tells you you know you'll need back links from less than 10 websites. Drink in the top 10 for this keyword because the queue were difficulty is zero. But what happens is keyword difficulty eventually gets more and more difficult as you get closer to 100. So if you saw something with 100 keyword difficulty, it would be exponentially getting more difficult the closer it gets to 100. So this is a really good keyword because it has pretty much no difficulty, at least according to this historical data. But you'll notice any converse that certain words are very competitive. And so you kind of have to pick your battles. Here, um, one last thing to look at here. Besides, you know, digging into the tool and using it to find other potential keywords, which is a topic for another time, is the clicks data. So this is based on pay per click, and it can give you a little bit of an idea of, you know, the commercial intent of a searcher who is looking at that term. So, like in this case, it says that people are worth 90 cents a click. Um, Yeah, this data is a little bit harder to interpret unless you're involved with paperclip campaigns. But, you know, having some money associated with that versus happened. No money associated with that as a good sign that you're on the right track in terms of your e commerce purposes. So after you've done your keyword research for your product pages, you also want to be thinking about how to use keywords on other pages, like your category pages for your products and also your black posts and then your category pages for your blogger posts. Um, because all of these pages are different, different potential ways that somebody could be coming into your website. And so you don't want to rely on your products alone when there's so many other opportunities to be advising for keywords that are, you know, related in some way. So when we're talking about product descriptions specifically the way that you're gonna want to use keywords are ages strategically, we've them in so that it doesn't sound awkward. You know the goal is to be natural, and so it helps to have your key word before you start writing product descriptions so that you can fit it. And as you go along instead of trying, Teoh sneak it in at the last minute and trying to make room for it. Um, while you're writing it, you also to make sure to highlight key features which we talked about earlier. But just, you know, a friendly reminder, Um, used simple language because you don't want to talk over a person you know, try to avoid jargon, even if you are like a specialized needs. Just talked to the human being, um, and define you know, any like abbreviations or any lead. Complex words give people reference points for that. And then at the end of the day, although you want to be weaving in Spoto your product descriptions to make sure you come up in search, there is a way to do that, but also right for humans, because at the end of the day, they're the people who are actually going to buy your stuff, not the bots who are recommending your content. Another thing to consider with Seo is the CEO of your images. And so whatever keyword that you've determined to be ideal for that specific product, you want to make sure you're incorporating that into the file name before you upload it as well as the all tag. So next we're going to talk a little bit about how to use social proof on your product descriptions to increase sales. 6. #5: Social Proof: It's not just the content that you create that can help to sell your products. It also helps to be considering content that other people are creating and finding ways to lose that in on your product descriptions on your product pages. So one of the things that you might want to consider is including some sort of review component. And so the stat here is nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase . I know I do. I'm sure if you were to examine your own process, it involves at least basic consideration of what somebody else has said about a product if available before you buy it. If you're like an early adopter, this might not be quite as important. But at the same time, you know most people want somebody else to bet something before they go for its called social proof. If you've ever read Robert Chaldean Ease Book Influence, a very important book about marketing and about different factors that get people to take action, you'll you'll recognize this concept of social proof and how it fits in. Here's another interesting stat about reviews, expensive items with customer reviews, how the 380% increase in conversion rate versus a 190% increase in conversion rate for lower price items with customer reviews. So basically what this is trying what what this is saying is that it's going to be easier for you to sell higher price items if you incorporate customer reviews versus the same idea on lower price items. Because again, people want to make sure that what they're getting fulfills expectations. And it helps if somebody has already vetted you on their behalf before. Um uh, besides your views, another thing that you can use to create more content and to also create that idea of social proof is a user generated content. So this example here is from one of my favorite websites, my favorite e commerce websites. I should say bobble bar and bobble bar lets you upload pictures where you're wearing jewelry, you know, showing it off in your daily life in your style so that it creates kind of a more, um, more got lifestyle photography idea that we were talking about earlier. It helps to tell the story of the actual people who used these items and so another stat to keep in mind. Nielsen Global found that 42% of consumers are more likely to trust the recommendation from another person over branded content. So user generated content is certainly a great way to invoke that idea of trust through somebody else. So then finally, we have this tool called Foam. Oh, Romo's really cool. I recently invested in it myself, and what it does is it basically creates these pop ups that sort of Dr Urgency, and I don't know if that's the exact word, but that's another one of the Principles of Influence by Mr Dr Robert Chaldean E. Um, you know the idea that maybe there is a limited quality quantity of things you can use foam Ode to demonstrate that to say, you know, x amount of people bought from the store today or in this example, you know, a specific named person bought a specific names product in a specific place, so there's different ways you can convey figure it. But the idea is that you are using, like things like urgency and social proof to drive more sales, and it's it's a tool that seems like it was tailor made for e commerce. So finally, after this, we're gonna talk about one more thing, and that's selling product descriptions as a service once you nail these other elements. 7. #6: Selling Product Descriptions as a Service: so hopefully by now you have a pretty good idea of what a successful product description looks like. You might have even started to try some of these principles and have created some product descriptions for your own e commerce website. But the next question is, if you're, you know, finding that you enjoy creating product descriptions or you know that you're good at it. You know, being able to sell that as a service is another great way to make money, right? So, um, you know, the first thing that you want to be able to dio in terms of being able to sell these at a good price is demonstrating value. So here's like a stat that could demonstrate how you were able to help a brand. Um, you know, assuming that you have access to analytics data and things like that, which you should absolutely go for if this is something that you're interested in doing, so the stat is Overstock dot com increasing organic traffic by 84% after a month by optimizing product descriptions on the top 10% of pages based on conversions. This said, also can maybe help guide you towards where your efforts are best used. So you know, when you're working with a new company and you want to done through your value, it might be a good idea to, like Overstock focus on whatever the top converters already are, or even the opposite of that, whichever one's air converting the worst because that will be the easiest. Teoh be able to demonstrate changes with, um so but But here's kind of the meat and potatoes of this specific topic how you're going to be able to successfully sell this to another person. First of all, I have found that pricing bywords scales nicely because with product descriptions, you're gonna have some that are, you know, 50 words long, but you might have some that are like a whole page of text. And if you're just getting started, this is an easy way. Teoh, you know, be able to quote somebody quickly. You might change this some more of a project based pricing in the future, but until you know what the regular workload is, I've just found that this scales the bus. Um, like I said before, it helps to track and share conversion successes that you've had with past clients. So having access to the Google Analytics data, which hopefully also is hooked up Teoh like e commerce gold data. And even if we're not talking about past clients, we might be talking about your own e commerce efforts on your own website. I think that's still totally ballot. And that's something you should definitely track and used to help people understand how you could help them. In general, it's gonna be most useful to you most profitable to you to focus on enterprise e commerce businesses. They're the people who have new products. Every week, you know they're gonna have the highest volume of needs. Ah, smaller website. Maybe they need help one time, and that's not worth ignoring. But it's not someone who's going to be able Teoh by a monthly retainer package, which is my next suggestion for you of structuring your offerings as a retainer will help you. Teoh, you know, stay in the loop with them as they get new products, but also to be able to consistently make money off of that specific business venture. Um, just something to keep in mind. You don't want to be always chasing down clients and you shouldn't have to if you're working with an enterprise, e commerce, business or maybe several enterprise e commerce businesses. So that's a good way to make sure that ruins on the same page. Just a final tip. Graham Early is your friend using some sort of spelling grammar editing tool is necessary if you're right and copy for anybody, even if it's just yourself on e mails. Honestly, um, so he's Graham early. I used the paid version of Graham early because it kind of acts. Is that second check? You know, I'm I'm pretty good at fixing grammar and spelling yours on my own, but this is just a great final check. And so with that, I think you have, ah, what to use to help build a great product descriptions that sell supporting them with media and social proof. And now, you know, maybe even selling this services somebody else. So thanks again for taking this class, and I'm anxious to see what you come up with.