In praise of colourful language.

Descriptive words build value.

A well-written product description defends your price, differentiates your product from other similar choices and delights customers who feel they have just found what they’ve always been looking for! The cool thing? A well-written description costs no more than a badly done one and can actually boost sales!

Smart advertisers have long known that the big difference between “Chocolate” and “Finest Belgian Chocolate” is that the Belgian stuff sells at a far higher price. Retailers like J Peterman* and Sharper Image know it too. They’ve long been known for their lengthy, and sometimes downright evocative product descriptions that transform cotton button-down shirts and clock radios into highly sought after items. Don’t believe me? Read a few shirt descriptions on J Peterman and tell me you don’t want one.

You should try it too!

Review the Peterman and Sharper websites above and look for similarities between the approaches they use on different items. They sometimes include stories, usage suggestions and always feature lots of detail about how the item is made.

Tell the story of your jam or tool or software product as if you just made it for the first time yesterday. Why did you want to create it? How is it better than anything else out there? What sorts of things are made better by having your product? And what adjectives would you use to describe it?

Not all adjectives are the same when it comes to building value, however. Here are a few tips to help get you started on building value through your product descriptions.

To be effective, the descriptor should:

1. Speak to a Special Process or Technology
(ie. “Cold-Filtered Miller genuine Draft”, and “Heat-Treated Carbon Steel Edge”…)

2. Highlight a Region known for Excellence in that Product.
(ie. Irish Cream Whiskey, Belgian Chocolate, Swiss Design…)

3. Lend a Degree of Exclusivity.
(ie. Limited Edition of 200 Bottles, signed and numbered edition of 500 copies, by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen…)

4. Highlight the Addition Of or Exclusion Of Something
(ie. Whole Grain, Fat-Free, No Sodium, Whole Kernel…)

It’s so painfully obvious when it’s done badly. So run your idea past a few friends before releasing it out into the World.

A few things to avoid:

1. Don’t use Irrelevant / Bogus Claims
Like gluten-free oranges or dolphin-friendly cheese. The addition of or exclusion of something is only a benefit if it usually HAS that thing in it typically. Gluten is in wheat and wheat products. Not fruit. Ever.

2. Don’t Make Something Ordinary Sound “Special”
McDonald’s claims their eggs are “hand-cracked”. How else would they be opened? And who cares? And Tim Horton’s makes a sandwich with Canadian Carved Turkey. If the turkey is in anything but its whole-strutting-around-the-barnyard state. It’s been killed then cut or carved or sliced. By someone from Canada or America. Again. Who cares?

3. Exclamations Do Not Equal More or Better. Just Louder.
Watch it with the use of grandiose, superlative and boastful language. It sets off BS detectors in just about everyone. If your product was really THAT good, I would have heard of it by now. And by what measure can it claim to be “The World’s Best”? That tactic seldom works for long. Better to be real.

4. Mind the Greenwashing.
If your company has “gone green”, then, by all means, celebrate it! But watch out for exaggerated or misleading claims. Nothing looks worse than watching a company be shredded on Twitter for making false claims. Be sure you can back up any claims you make and be ready to share the specific sources used to measure your claims.

*Yes. the store from Seinfeld is real and at www.jpeterman.com


Like to get some help improving your messaging?
We’d love to help. Get in touch!

2018-06-24T12:46:05+00:00

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