So you have made some lovely items to sell on Etsy, Folksy, eBay or perhaps your own website. And now you are wondering how to describe your products so as to attract customers and get lots of sales.
Here are nine ideas of things that you should include in your descriptions. Use it as a handy checklist when posting new items online.
What to Include in your Listings:
So often I have been unable to buy something because the seller doesn’t say how big it is! Give clear dimensions and remember to include both inches and centimeters if you want to sell all over the world.
Ideally include something in one of the pictures that visually confirms the size of your item. A ruler is perfect for this of course. Many people suggest a coin, but if you sell internationally then people from other countries may have no idea how big your coins are. Sometimes just holding the item in your hand is enough to give a decent sense of scale.
What is it made of?
A customer can not decide if you item is good value or not if they don’t know what it is made of. A knitted hat made from acrylic yarn is usually going to be cheaper than one made from alpaca or mohair.
Plus people may be searching for particular materials. If you haven’t mentioned that your necklace is sterling silver then no one will find it if they search for ‘sterling silver necklace’, will they?
A potential customers may love your chunky bead earrings but be worried that they may be too heavy to wear. If you have mentioned they are made from light-weight plastic then you could win the sale.
And you will also avoid any problems with customers thinking an item is not what it really is:
- “The listing said it was silver, I thought that meant it was sterling, not silver coloured cheap metal!“
Honesty can save a lot of hassle!
Are there any issues you should tell the customer about?
Some people prefer to not sell substandard items, for fear it will lessen their reputation for quality. But other people like to offer their ‘not quite perfect’ items at a reduced price. If you do choose to sell things that didn’t turn out to your usual standards, make sure you explain exactly what the fault is, so your customer understands and does not expect to receive a perfect item.
It is also good practice to mention things like warning that a fabric product is dry-clean only, that something could be harmful if used incorrectly or if the item they will be receiving may not be exactly like the example pictured.
Being upfront and telling customers about issues or potential issues will prevent any unpleasant feedback that results from someone misunderstanding what they would actually receive.
How was it made
Often a little description of the process can add value to an item – such as saying that the wool in your hats is hand spun, or clarifying it was knitted by hand not machine.
When customers are searching for handmade and wanting to avoid mass-produced items, it can certainly help you to give a little information about your creation of the item, to reassure and capture the customer’s interest a little more.
- “I made my original sketches whilst braving the cold wind of the Lake District, then scurried back to my warm studio to paint the finished piece.“
- “All my bead necklaces are double knotted so in the unlikely event that the strong thread were to break then you would not lose all the beads.”
- “Every batch of Yummy Muffins is baked in my cozy Cotswold’s kitchen and is personally tested at every step to ensure maximum yumminess!”
If you are selling anything that could be considered a toy, but is not really safe for children, such as a doll for an adult collector, or a miniature, then make sure you clearly say this in your listing.
- “My beautiful dolls are intended for adult collectors only. Please do not give this item to children.”
I am sure you don’t want there to be any unfortunate accidents (and possible legal action) because someone didn’t realize and gave something to a little one. It is also a good idea to mention any special care instructions for the item: again this can prevent negative feedback or people asking to return something.
- “All our hand knitted baby socks are best when hand washed in very mild soap powder. Do not spin dry, just lay the socks flat to dry on a warm towel.“
Thank yous and credits
If you are using any trademarked logos or characters, or any images that you do not personally own the copyright to, then you must have permission of the trademark/copyright owner. That permission will probably include instructions that you must clearly say who the property owner is and that you are authorized to use it – so do make sure you add this!
If you are using images that are ok to use, as long as you credit the original creator, then please be polite and do just that. Remember that images you find on the internet are not necessarily ok for you to use on your products.
If you are not sure that you definitely have permission to use an image, don’t use it. Copyright and trademark infringements are against the law and can result in very expensive law suits.
Sometimes it is great to suggest ways the potential customer could use your product. Versatility adds value.
- “You could also use your new flower pot as a funky pencil pot or cosmetic brush holder!“
- “Try rolling the brim up, as shown in the final picture, for an alternative look.”
Although it can be handy (both for the customer and search engines) to mention occasions and ways an item may be used, be careful not to sound like you are padding your description out, or saying things that don’t really mean anything at all. Being more specific not only tends to sound better, it also is better for your SEO.
- “This beautiful necklace would look great with just about anything!”
(Instead, how about “”The simple, clean lines naturally lend themselves to both formal occasions and more casual outfits.“)
- “Suitable for men, women, children, and anybody else.”
(Instead, how about “These soaps are popular with all ages“)
Reminder of your copyright etc where applicable
This is especially important if you are selling your own artwork. Include something to remind customers that you retain the copyright of the original art, and they may not copy or use it.
- “The original artwork is copyright © Mary Smith. You may not copy or scan this print.“
Links to related products that you sell
If you are listing a necklace and have matching earrings available too, then it makes a lot of sense to include a link to the earrings in the necklace’s listing – and vice versa (this can also help your SEO by providing another back link).
- “I have matching earrings in this same lovely design…“
You can also link to related items or variations:
- “For more of my new Spring range…”
- “I have other colours available, please see this link….”
- “I have a gift wrapping option available for this product….“
Be careful not to include lots of links to items that are not really related – this can confuse a potential customer, so they end up bouncing about looking at things but never buying anything, and at worse can look pushy and spammy.
I recommend using these ‘up-sell’ links when are genuinely for things that a potential customer may want to buy with the item in question.
Key phrases for SEO
Remember that Google and other search engines read your listing to find out what it is about. Therefore it is important to include the essential key phrases that describe your product in your description.
In practice, if you are describing your item properly for your human readers you will be including many of them naturally. Try varying sentences to ensure you get them in there. So for example, if you are selling a red knitted hat you could use “knitted hat” in one sentence and “knit hat” in another, to ensure both are covered. Another sentence may have “handmade hat” and another “wooly hat” and so on.
Do be careful to ensure your listing reads well for your human visitors too though. Make sure it reads in a natural way.
Check out the Tin Teddy Top Ten Etsy Tagging Tips post for more information on Etsy SEO.