If you write for a living, writer's block is is very likely the bane of your existence. This is especially so for e-commerce copywriters, who need to take into account product details, target audiences and so on, to convince a reader to buy the product. Most of the time, it isn't that you don't know what to write — it's more likely that you're stumped on how to write it. You often have lots of information about the product you're copywriting for, but the question then is: How do you frame this information in a persuasive way? How do you use these resources to increase conversion rates? This is where the templates that this article will introduce will come in useful!
Here, we'll go into different frameworks for copywriting: the AIDA Model, the Feature-Benefit template, and the PAS(O) Framework. We'll also go through how to integrate your brand voice into these templates. Lastly, we include a quick fix that would lift the burden of writer's block entirely off your shoulders. Read till the end to find out!
This is likely the most common framework people associate with marketing and product descriptions. It refers to a four step process representing a consumer journey from Awareness, to Interest, to Desire and finally to Action. However, it can also be used as a product description template, with the description itself moving from raising awareness to a call to action.
Breaking down the AIDA Model:
Put together, this might look like: "Can't get the stains out of your clothes? Company X presents a revolutionary new laundry detergent, 10 times more effective than others on the market. Buy one at 50% off today!"
Simple and straightforward, this model allows you to encapsulate an entire consumer journey in just one paragraph. Of course, while AIDA is definitely well-known and popular, there are many other ways one can structure a product description.
Both of these are for more "Thinking" products: ones where consumers have a great need for information, and ones where consumers are looking for a solid solution to a problem.
"Thinking" products: This is a product category featuring goods and services that rely on logic and rationality to convert customers. Examples include laptops, cars, new innovations, and so on. The key is that consumers require concrete information about the product to choose to buy it. More about such products here.
For products in these categories, what matters is information and offering a solution — and so that's exactly what this proposed framework emphasises.
Well, it's already in the name: The Feature-Benefit framework fronts a feature of a product, and then follows up with a benefit. This is a systematic approach perfect for defeating writer's block, because it forces you to go back to the basics of a product description: What is the product? What can it do? How does that help my target audience?
A lot of the agonising around product descriptions stems from the pressure to have some sort of witty wording or dramatic flair. However, with "Thinking" products, you don't need to worry about flair, because concrete features and benefits should come first.
Let's look at some examples of what this means.
Here is the 5-seat corner sofa from IKEA, a big purchase that most consumers would need to spend time and effort thinking about. In other words, the information a product description for this sofa provides would need to justify the fact that it is a costly one-off purchase.
True to form, the product detail page is full of essential information about the sofa, doing its best to satisfy a customer's need for knowledge right off the bat. Naturally, such quality assurance employs lots of statistics and research, which become features for the description to then prove a benefit:
A subtle, but particularly clever way that IKEA is using its statistics here is revealing how its product scores on a metric of quality, and then showing how that compares with the industry standard. IKEA products therefore seem to consistently exceed expectations among similar pieces of furniture. As a result, customers come away from the PDP with not only more information about the product, but also greater confidence in the IKEA brand — something that we'll be highlighting later in this article.
What about more mundane products, like this gallon of whole milk from Walmart? Milk is a banal product that we don't spend a lot of time thinking about, other than when we add it to our shopping carts.
This product description revolves around solving customer needs, highlighting features such as nutritional benefits, and using them to emphasise the various use cases for the product — in others words, all the cases where milk would be a solution to a problem, need or desire.
Even the second paragraph about Great Value products follows the feature-benefit template closely: in the second sentence, it emphasises a feature of a "wide range of product categories spanning grocery and household consumables", followed by the benefit to the consumer — "a variety of products for your family's needs".
In sum, the feature-benefit framework is more simple than even the AIDA Model, since it simply involves an iteration of problems and solutions for users. It's therefore easy to apply and remember. However, sometimes that simplicity is not what you're going for. In that case, we have more templates for you to consider as well.
If the feature-benefit framework seems a little too simplistic, try the PAS(O) framework instead. Similar to feature-benefit, it focuses on solving a consumer need, but does it with more flair:
PAS(O) stands for Problem, Agitate, Solve and Outcome. This describes a step by step process for approaching a product description, which focuses on highlighting a pain point in consumers' lives, making it seem more important, and then proposing the product to resolve the issue. The last step, Outcome, is a good-to-have, particularly if you have positive reviews from customers or statistics that show your product's quality.
Here's an example for an imaginary movie and TV streaming company:
Summing up the feature-benefit and PAS(O) frameworks, you can see from the above examples that it's not too difficult, particularly if you have a ready list of the features and characteristics of your product, and a clear idea of the problems they're facing. Just keep in mind that "Thinking" products are always about providing information, solving a problem, or fulfilling a need, and you'll be able to write great copy!
This is a little trickier for copywriters, since we can't default to the simpler feature-benefit or PAS(O) framework. Instead of putting a concrete consumer need at the core of this framework, this centres more around evoking an emotional response to your brand. Since a customer wouldn't be able to test products online, rich, descriptive language needs to compensate.
In the below example, we turn to alcohol brand Johnnie Walker, which uses language to not only convey the flavour of its iconic Red and Black Label blends, but also the exclusivity of the Johnnie Walker brand.
Not only that, but Johnnie Walker's use of evocative language on the flavour of their product is only one of many different literary techniques copywriters can use to enhance their product descriptions and better reflect their brand:
The following example, taken from a product description for the Nerf Mega Motostryke Motorized 10-Dart Blaster, employs all four of these techniques:
Other than literary techniques, tone is also another area where your brand voice can shine through. You could aim for something more formal and official, or something casual and fresh. A good example would be this product description from fashion e-commerce store Boohoo:
The diction and phrasing for the highlighted portions of the above description go very far in emphasising the tone of Boohoo's brand voice: to net a younger, trendy demographic of consumers. It thus uses words familiar to those fluent in the language of youths online — "serving up", "vibes", overlay n' lay" and so on — and elevates its brand voice.
In sum, writing product e-commerce product descriptions centred around brand voice can be slightly more complicated. However, just as the framework for "Thinking" products goes back to the foundations of features and solutions, approaches to these products should use brand identity and evocative language as their first principles.
We've run through many different templates — it's all right if you feel overwhelmed!
Instead of trying out every single one, you should find the one that fits your product and brand identity the best. If you're thinking about which of these to choose from, however, that decision becomes a lot clearer once you have a good idea of what kind of product you're selling.
Overall, certain product description templates and approaches are more effective for certain kinds of products. This warrants a more high-level, macro view of product descriptions and how they fit into your marketing strategy — we give you a useful overview of that here, based on a useful metric called the FCB Matrix.
In the spirit of this article about product description frameworks, we'll end off with applying the frameworks we talked about earlier, but to Hypotenuse AI. We provide an AI copywriter and product description generator for e-commerce websites, helping with readability, increasing conversion, and search engine optimisation (SEO).
For our B2B clients, we're a Thinking product — they need to spend time understanding how our AI can help them, as opposed to deciding because of empathetic or emotional response. With that in mind, we'll be using the Feature-Benefit and PAS(O) Models:
Have we piqued your interest? Learn more about Hypotenuse AI here.