Write Product Descriptions that Sell

by Carolyn Edlund

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Maybe. But using clear descriptions of the products you are selling on your art website will help you close more sales.


Write Product Descriptions That Sell


Artists and makers sometimes make the mistake of believing that their work will sell itself, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the crowded online marketplace, there is a lot of “noise” and millions of items for sale. To stand out, you must engage customers, give them a compelling reason to buy, and provide an easy and safe way to make a purchase.

Outstanding images are essential to give professional presentation. They add to your credibility as a serious artist. But visual information is not all that is needed. Written descriptions are vital to enhancing the shopping experience and increasing sales. Customers need information to be able to make buying decisions, which leaves it up to you to describe your work clearly.

Visit any major shopping site, Amazon for instance. Look at product descriptions and see how they are specifically written to help customers understand exactly what they are buying, down to the smallest detail. You may even see questions answered about products on those commercial website shopping pages. Why are they there? Because they work. They inform the customer, increase buying confidence, and sell more product.

As an artist, you must also share detailed information about the work you are selling online. And there is no better placement than in the product description which shows up on the page with your artwork, your price and the “Buy” button. Those descriptions should be carefully written to achieve several goals that lead to the sale:

Write for your target customer

Do you know your ideal customer? There is no substitute for having a working profile of the shoppers you are targeting with your descriptions. What motivates her? Why does she buy? Is she looking to feel fabulous and receive compliments when wearing your amazing handmade jewelry? Is she creating a sanctuary in her apartment with artwork that reflects her unique style? Does she need to purchase a very special wedding gift that will impress the recipient with her taste and generosity?

Artists who produce messages that really speak to their ideal customers are more likely to get traction, because they make an important connection and reflect what the customer wants.

Tell a story to create emotional resonance

People buy for emotional reasons. It’s been said that people love to buy, but they hate to be sold. So skip the sales talk, and instead make a connection by using emotive words in your product descriptions. Paint a picture of how she will feel when wearing your handmade scarf, or holding your hand blown wine glass. Can you describe where she might be, and even tell a story about it?

The J. Peterman clothing company has long been famous for telling incredible stories related to everything in their catalog. Read some of their product descriptions, and you will appreciate their over-the-top copywriting that is fun and compelling. It’s easy to see why they have been successfully selling clothing and accessories for decades. You can also use this strategy to write paragraphs about your work that transcend the descriptive and take the shopper to an imaginary world, leading them to decide that they simply must own what you make.

Share features and benefits

Features are characteristics of the work for sale; benefits show how they affect the customer. Features are things like size and weight, whether a painting is ready to hang, if a piece of jewelry comes in a gift box, or the materials that a piece of art is made of.

Benefits are things like how convenient it is that your painting is ready to hang, the fact that they won’t have a reaction because your jewelry is hypoallergenic, or that your handmade sweater is super soft and warm and well as being beautiful. Writing about benefits involves lots of adjectives, and it speaks about the customer themselves, just like those J. Peterman stories.

Play up every one of your selling points, stressing those that are a perfect fit for what your ideal customer wants and values. Then, add a few more reasons to own your work. Create that emotional buying experience by writing copy that taps into their feelings about the joy of owning your work.

The results of using emotionally-charged descriptions versus none at all should be dramatic improvement. Your job as an art marketer is to show how your products enhance your customers’ lives, and make them look forward to the purchase.  That’s where you can use your ability to communicate to influence buying decisions and increase your sales.


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