Whether your product or service is new to the marketplace or has been around for a while, developing a clear, succinct, and easy-to-understand description for it is critical.
A product or service description is marketing copy that explains why your offering is special or unique and why customers should buy it. How important is it? Very. One eCommerce study attributed 20% of online purchasing failures to incomplete or unclear descriptions. That’s powerful stuff.
Descriptions go beyond marketing, however. In formulating the copy and asking yourself some insightful questions, you might discover new elements that distinguish your offering from that of the competition. Or, you might become aware of an issue that changes how you produce or distribute it. This can affect not just your marketing, but your production quality, cost, and profit margins.
SCORE’s Product and Service Description Worksheet can help you write better marketing copy and answer customer questions before they’re asked.
Not sure where to start? No problem. SCORE’s Product and Service Description worksheet will walk you through the process. Here’s how to fill it out:
Use this block to identify the product, idea, or service you want to describe. There is no need to get too detailed here, but this is where you can try out different names for your offering to see what sounds best.
You’ll want to use this block to identify the value your product, idea, or service brings to the market. This is where you can explain how your offering:
- Alleviates a pain point
- Fills a gap
- Improves on an existing product/service
- Solves a problem your target audience might be experiencing
This is where you get to differentiate your product, idea, or service from competitors in the marketplace. It could be that your offering improves upon a well-known existing concept or introduces something completely new to the market. But it doesn’t end there.
The story behind your offering can make it unique, as well.
- Does it contribute to the greater good?
- Does it use less energy?
- Does it disrupt the industry?
- How else is it different than your competitors?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself when determining the distinctive characteristics of your product or service.
Limits and Liabilities
This is where you prepare for barriers that might ultimately keep your offering from integrating into the market. Start by taking an objective and critical eye to what could block your access to new audiences, prevent customers from embracing it or stall production or distribution altogether. Ask yourself these important questions:
- Is it too expensive?
- Does it have a short shelf life?
- Does it require assembly?
- Does it need special packaging?
- Does it require more staff?
- What are its other limitations?
By answering these questions, you’re not only formulating ways to counter the arguments against your product, idea, or service, but you’re also identifying weaknesses that you can work to improve. If you’re asking these questions, you can bet your customers (and competitors) will be, too.
Production and Delivery
Not only will your customers want to know how your offering is produced, but they’ll also want to know how quickly they can take advantage of its benefits. Use this block to analyze how your product, idea, or service is produced and distributed, and build a narrative around its craftsmanship, quality or turnaround time.
Maybe part of your description will discuss where your product or service comes from, who carries it, or how it’s created. Use this block to answer questions about how your offering is sourced and how that impacts the overall customer experience.
Finally! This block is where it all comes together. Look back over the worksheet and identify the most compelling answers you provided. These are the building blocks of your offering’s narrative. Don’t feel obligated to use information from every block; it may not be necessary. Consider all of them, though. Once you’ve determined the key components of your offering, what makes it unique or special, how it gets to market, and what its limitations are, you can then begin to build your description. Use this block to bullet point the items you want to highlight, then pull them all together into a cohesive narrative.
What to Do Now
If you’re struggling to develop powerful product or service descriptions for your offering, fill out this worksheet and have a SCORE mentor look it over to give you feedback.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.