I interviewed an expert in Product Copy, Janna Epstein, a marketing copywriter and content writer who has specialized in product copywriting, and has a diverse portfolio of clients in both B2B and B2C sectors, about how to write successful product copy. Below is the essential information that I gathered from our conversation.
Q: What is Product Copy?
A: Product copy is what we use to specifically sell items to the customers you’re trying to reach. It can be called sales copy because of its function of driving conversions as opposed to engagement or information, but we don’t necessarily want to think sales when we are writing product copy. It’s more a conversation between you and your customers, to sell them your product through an engaging description of your products that therefore differentiates you from your competitors. This includes various features, benefits, and any unique elements that you’re bringing to the table in your product. It’s key to remember that product copy, while it’s describing your product, is not just the label on the back of the box. It’s a marketing tool, it’s a brand tool, and it’s how you sell your product, sometimes in a completely online landscape.
Q: What is the function of Product Copy?
A: When you look at elements of a digital marketing strategy, from a social media presence, ads, having reviews for your products, product copy, the point in all of it is to build trust with consumers. The consumers reading your copy have to choose your company over other comparable companies. The trust that you build through your product copy, brand appearance, and expertise in your field will compel your audience to purchase.
Diving deeper into that trust, remember that product copy serves to create and perpetuate your brand voice or brand identity, something that needs to be consistent for customers. When the consumer goes to your shopify site, Amazon page, or wherever they’re finding your product, or finding your product copy, they need to be able to recognize that you are one unified brand. Especially if they’ve seen ads or your social media. A stronger brand voice creates a stronger and more identifiable brand identity which not only helps present you as a professional company, but builds that trust with your customers to drive higher conversions.
If you think of companies who have had success, they’re typically highly specialized and have been consistent with their identity. For example, Ralph Lauren, a clothing brand, has a brand identity that is so clear through all of its product copy, which in turn creates an even stronger brand identity and more identifiable brand. Just like how you would use certain language that is appropriate for a certain vertical, that aligns with your brand identity, Ralph Lauren has been so successful that you immediately think of certain words when you think of their brand. When you buy their brand, you feel as though you are buying into or a piece of that preppy, upper class lifestyle. They are targeting that audience using specific language, as opposed to the type of language you might use if you were targeting mothers. Like the stroller example, you would discuss safety or comfort over what’s trending, whereas it’d be the opposite if you’re targeting millennials. It’s all about how certain language, sentence structure, and tone will resonate with one audience over another. And then how you can use that to build trust through a consistent, well-established brand voice and identity.
It’s by no means a rule, but your copy should be conversational and create a personalized experience for the customer. Your goal is to connect to your audience on an emotional level, through the attempt to meet their needs or fix a problem. Something to keep in mind is that often this person can’t go into the store to touch or see your product. Therefore, the copy has to do that for them. Effective product copy creates a visceral experience for your customers, to compensate for the fact that they can't physically interact with the product, and that the copy has to be sufficiently engaging and informative to compel customers to convert even though they can't touch or physically experience the product beforehand. You create the visceral experience through the product copy to connect with your customers on an emotional level that stimulates their senses, while offering an explanation of how the product will impact, benefit and enhance their lifestyle.
Q: What are some basics of writing Product Copy?
A: To summarize first, product copy boils down to building trust, creating that experience for the customer, and curating the information to stay in compliance with the platform or marketplace your product is on. You have to understand how your audience is using the platform to find the product. This along with knowing the difference keywords needed for SEO to ensure that those customers are actually finding the product.
In terms of actual language, different products require different words and tones, as mentioned earlier. It’s a combination of specifically choosing the words that align with the brand as well as what will pull your customer in. If you’re offering a beauty product, you may want to think about words such as hydrating, rejuvenating, soothing, all-natural, light, smooth, etc.
The length of the copy varies too, because of the space on a given eCommerce site. Generally the shorter and more concise the better, but what it really comes down to is your audience and your market. If you have the space on the platform, and your audience is one who wants lengthy, detailed product copy, then that’s the route you’ll need to go. For example, while your demographic could be younger, with what most think of as quick attention spans, yet your product is highly technical, then you’re appealing to the sect of that population who need all the detail they can find in order to make the right decision. So, you need to choose the right platform that allows the type of length you need. Or, in turn, you may not need more than a couple of sentences, and any further could be superfluous to your audience. This is true if you’re selling denim. Your customer might just want to hear that your jeans hug their body, yet have a flexible material to keep them comfortable.
Q: When You Need More Length, Are Amazon A+ Pages Useful?
A: Yes, Amazon A+ pages are great when you have a ton of features, or need that extra space to write about your product. The consumer will read the A+ page when they’re looking for that detail that the regular Amazon page doesn’t have the room for. Another way to use an A+ page is for categories. Maybe you have a variety of products that fit into the same general category, so to avoid redundancy not every page will have that further detail. For example, if you sell strollers, one of your pages will have more information about that category of stroller as opposed to that specific one. This is also an opportunity to use more media such as videos or graphics, which elevate your brand identity. Amazon A+ pages can be very helpful to identify while your brand is special and retain that professionalism.
Q: What is the role of research in product copy?
A: Research is a huge part of product copy. You have to do competitor and market research in order to get ideas. Not stealing anything of course, but to glean how similar companies are communicating. What is their brand voice? What features are they highlighting? It can be a good exercise to read what they’re writing not only about the same product as yours, but others in the same category as well even if you don’t sell that other product. If you’re selling the stroller from before, you could read what a competitor says about their strollers and their changing tables.
Market research is invaluable too, because you are an authority of this product. The customer is looking at you to be an expert on the product, so you should be! If you’re a writer, you want to fully immerse yourself in that vertical and understand it inside and out to impress not only your employer but the consumers. Something else you can do is ask questions of the company you’re working for.
Lastly, you have to stay up to date with keywords, SEO strategy, and algorithm challenges with a particular marketplace.
Q: Any Other Tips for Product Copy?
A: Yes, actually, a few! You have to make sure your copy is compliant with the platform you’re using, that you’re crafting it to fit the platform or marketplace. You also want to ensure that you’re using the right keywords and plugging in the right strategies for SEO purposes. Understand the online landscape. Some companies don’t give a ton of explanation of what their product is, while others do. Is your audience one that will appreciate knowing the details of what you’re supplying? Give them what they want in order to make a purchase. Also, if your audience is in a different country, you need copy that is native that country’s language. And finally, grammar and spelling mistakes! This may seem small, but if you’re spelling words wrong or making basic errors with punctuation, your company will immediately lose the trust of a customer. You’ll look unprofessional, which you don’t want.
We hope this was helpful! If you’re not a writer, but are looking for one, we at Firon Marketing can help. Reach out to us if you’re in need of some product copy, or anything else digital marketing related. We also do free no-strings-attached marketing audits!