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When it comes to online sales and customer conversion, connecting with your potential customers and describing your products persuasively is one of the most important parts of selling online.

That’s because after your product photo, your product description is the information people turn to when trying to make a buying decision. And with Amazon a click away, the story you tell about your products (and your business) is your best chance at convincing people to buy from you.

In fact it's a mission critical piece of the online sales puzzle.

Here are five techniques to make sure your product descriptions (and business story) get people clicking the 'add to cart' button.

1. Discover What Makes Your Product Remarkable

In his book, My Life in Advertising, advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins tells the story of how in the 1920’s he used a new advertising campaign to propel Schlitz beer from fifth place in the beer market to being tied for first.

After being hired for the job, Hopkins toured the brewery to get to know the product. He discovered an elaborate filtration process in which the beer was sterilized and cooled in a special way over frigid pipes - all in a plate glass room in which only filtered air could enter. When he asked why they weren’t telling people about this he was told that ‘every brewery filtered beer this way’.

His response? “But others have never told this story.”

Schlitz rolled out their new ‘filtration story’ and marched forward to beer brand dominance.

It’s Toasted

Another example of discovering what makes your product and business remarkable can be found in this scene from Mad Men:

To discover the remarkable benefits of your products and business, try asking yourself questions like:

  • What materials is your product is made from?
  • Where did those materials came from?
  • How are your products manufactured and assembled?
  • Who are they manufactured and assembled by?
  • What are the unique benefits your product offers?
  • What’s your personal story and how does it add value to your products?

For example, Dodocase doesn’t just make iPad cases. They make handcrafted iPad cases while preserving traditional artisan bookbinding techniques in the city of San Francisco.

And if that’s something you want, you can only buy from them.

2. Persuade With Video

These days product descriptions don’t just have to come in text form. Video can be an incredibly persuasive medium that takes you from simply claiming your product is remarkable to actually demonstrating that it is.

Video lets you tell a visually engaging story that adds emotion and transparency to the online shopping experience. It creates trust by showing that the product is real and so are the people that make it.

Another good example of a company using video to tell a story and sell is LIFX - a new smartphone enabled LED lightbulb company who have just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Let’s take a look at some of the copywriting and persuasion techniques at play in the LIFX video so that you can adapt them to your own product descriptions and videos.

3. Resonating and Empathizing with Potential Customers

After a brief introduction, the first thing the makers of LIFX do is make some statements about traditional light bulbs in an attempt to resonate and empathize with you as well as get you nodding your head in agreement and starting to say yes.

“I was thinking one day that the light bulb is amazing and is probably one of the greatest inventions of all time.” Yes.

“But it hasn’t really changed much in the last 100 years.” Yes.

“Not to mention how annoying it is when they blow out.” YES!

In other words, you’re trying to get your customer in harmony with what you’re saying in order to create the right buying environment.

The other factor at play here is empathy. Empathy establishes rapport with your visitors and lets them know that you understand their problems and their pain. It also positions your product as the solution to that pain.

4. Sell with Emotion, Justify with Logic

When it comes to making a purchase, people buy on emotion and justify with logic. As copywriter Joe Sugarman points out in his book Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, people may tell their friends that they bought a Mercedes because of an impressive list of technical features, but really they just wanted a prestigious car that would allow them to belong to the crowd that drives luxury vehicles.

Creating emotion comes from explaining the benefits that your product offers. In the case of LIFX, that’s:

  • Having a cool light bulb that you can show off to your friends at parties.
  • Being environmentally conscious.
  • Making your kids feel safe (nightlight).
  • Being a tech savvy early adopter.
  • Saving electricity and money.

The actual features of your product are the logical points people use to justify an emotional purchase. 

  • Dim and change colors via your smartphone.
  • Turn on one bulb or a group of bulbs.
  • A 25 year lifespan, notifications, night light functionality etc.

In other words, appeal to emotion (benefits) and back it up with logic (features).

5. Risk Removal

Once you've got your potential customer in the right buying environment and emotionally connected to your product, the last step is to remove any risk with a solid guarantee. Every potential purchase comes with some risk for the buyer and adding a money back guarantee backs up the promise that your product is making.

The goal here is to remove any lingering doubts in your customers mind.

When it comes to describing your products and business to potential customers, there is no one size fits all approach but employing all or some of these strategies should help to make what you're selling more compelling.