Five Tips for Writing Product Descriptions for the B2B Market

When people think about writing product descriptions, they often think about cool stuff, like cars or computers or purses. Stuff that’s easy (and fun!) to describe with very attractive selling points.

But what about products for the B2B marketplace?

I’ve written product descriptions for the B2B market for 10 years. Specifically, I’ve written descriptions for professional cleaning and restoration products. Think brooms, dustpans, vacuum cleaners, and urine stain removers.

Sexy stuff, right?

Believe it or not, I’ve made a career out of making a description for a spray bottle sound interesting.

For some products, like toilet paper or hand towels, for example, there’s not really a whole lot you can say to “jazz it up.” And that’s ok.

In the B2B world, product descriptions are more straightforward. Less sizzle, more steak. Less like Don Draper, more like Joe Friday: “Just the facts, ma’am.”

That being said, it doesn’t mean that you can be lazy with your descriptions. You do need to sell the product and help the customer understand it benefits.

Here are my top five tips for crafting winning B2B product descriptions:

  1. Always ask “what does that really mean?”

There are times when all I’m given to write a product description is a list of specifications (specs). It’s times like these that I think of myself not so much as a writer, but rather a translator. My job is to translate spec data into something relevant and relatable to the customer.

I do this by constantly asking, “So what does this really mean?”

For example, let’s say we’re talking about a vacuum cleaner that weighs 8 lbs.

You could just write “This vacuum weighs a mere 8 pounds.” But that doesn’t really help the reader truly visualize the benefit of owning a lightweight vacuum.

So why not say “At only 8 lbs, this vacuum weighs less than a bowling ball!” Suddenly you have an image to compare it too, and that one bit of data is now relatable and understandable.

For another example, let’s say there is a piece of equipment that now measures 16” x 16” x 10”—the older version was 16″ x 16″ x 20″. So what does that really mean? Well, it means you can now fit twice as many on your truck. Twice as many units means twice as many rental opportunities for DOUBLE your income potential.

See what I did there?

  1. You still need a catchy headline.

Even the most boring product can benefit from a good, solid headline. Something to draw the reader in.

I like to lead with a benefit. What does this product do to help the user? Will it help the customer make more money? Does it do things faster, better, easier? Is it environmentally friendly? Is it disposable? Will it save you from back-breaking labor?

  1. Avoid trite phrases.

I HATE it when copywriters use the word “revolutionary” to describe a product. It’s a word that has been so overused that it’s practically meaningless in the marketing world.

You know what was revolutionary? The Revolutionary War. The French Revolution. You know. ACTUAL revolutions.

Most products are NOT revolutionary. Maybe they do something a little faster, a little more efficient, or a little less expensive than the competition. It doesn’t make them “revolutionary.”

Other words that I try to avoid using are “versatile” and “economical.” These words get used a lot, but I don’t think people really understand them. Sometimes, depending on the education level of your reader, they truly may not even know what those words mean.

It’s more powerful and descriptive to say “you can perform multiple tasks” instead of “versatile.” Or that a product gives you “more bang for your buck” than “economical.”

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.

After nearly 10 years working for a major distributor, I’ve learned A LOT about professional cleaning and restoration products. That being said, I don’t know everything, and I often rely others who are much more knowledgeable to help me describe a product.

Usually, I can chat with the product manager or the buyer to learn about the product. But if they don’t know enough for me to write a quality description, I call up the manufacturer and ask them about it.

My best copy often comes from interviews. I’ve even done 3-way conference calls with the product manager and the vendor in which I didn’t say a single word. The product manager knew what questions to ask (and oftentimes learned something they didn’t know about the product), and I sat with my phone on mute, furiously typing away as they talked.

The result was stellar copy that truly told the story of the product. Sometimes using my words, but most often, using words right from the mouth of the manufacturer. Now that’s easy writing!

  1. Optimize your keywords.

Take ten seconds before you start writing a description and jot down the keywords for that particular product.

What are people going to be typing into the search bar in Google to find what you’re writing about?

You don’t need to hit a specific keyword density to be found by search engines. The old advice was that you needed your keyword to appear 4–7 times per every 100 words, but current SEO wisdom is that it isn’t necessary. But your content should use the important keywords at least once or twice.

Best Practices All Around

In general, your B2B product descriptions on the web should follow the best practices for all web writing.

  • Shorter paragraphs are easier to read than longer ones; chunk your content
  • Numbered/bulleted lists make it easier for the reader to quickly scan and digest information
  • Images and video are great for breaking up and keeping the reader interested
  • Language should flow naturally—avoid “thesaurus-speak” and keyword stuffing
  • Active voice is better than passive voice
  • A conversational, upbeat tone connects best with most readers

Do you need powerful, well-written product descriptions for your B2B products? Need to connect with your visitors and prospects to gain leads and grow sales? Contact me today!

Have something to add to this article? Let me know in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s