Searching to find the words? You could be struggling to close the sale. Well-written copy is essential to the presentation of your item. A snappy, informative title and description could mean the difference between selling that item quickly or having it sit in limbo for months on end.
Poorly written item posts are vague, misleading or just plain confusing. Your title and description should be a one-two punch of useful information for buyers. Together they should accomplish two things: 1) grab the buyer’s attention and 2) tell them all the details they need to make a purchase decision.
So what does writing an effective title and description look like exactly? Well, it just so happens that we did a bit of research into what works and what doesn’t. Let’s break it down!
First things first. Think of your title like a newspaper headline – it’s all about getting people’s attention. When members are scrolling the VarageSale feed, the title is all they’ll see. The first few words are particularly important since they’re the most visible. This is important real estate and it’s vital to getting your item found.
- Titles with 5-20 words sell better. VarageSale’s data team has crunched the numbers and discovered that items with 4 words or less in the title are less likely to be sold. An ideal item title has between 5 and 20 words. (Keep in mind that your space for item titles is limited to 140 characters.)
- Think keywords. You want clear, simple keywords that will allow your item to appear in search results. Add popular words and phrases that will help buyers find your item.
- Include brand names. People are very brand conscious. They might be familiar with how a certain clothing brand fits them or know that a manufacturer has a lifetime guarantee. You can leverage that brand awareness into a sale.
- Use well-known acronyms. Abbreviate carefully – use acronyms that buyers will be familiar with. Keep posts short and sweet with frequently used buy and sell lingo like “NWT”. (Need a quick refresher? Check out our acronym series.)
- Be 100% honest and accurate. Don’t misrepresent your item. It’s tempting to include attention-grabbing words like NEW and RARE in your title, but ultimately, these claims are useless if they aren’t true. Buyers can tell if you’re being straight up.
Get Down To Brass Tacks
Now that you’ve drawn people in with a strong title, how do you hold their interest? Writing a compelling description is like playing Twenty Questions in reverse. What does this item do? Who made it? Does it work? How does it fit? What was it used for? Try to anticipate the kinds of questions that buyers will ask and make it easy for them by providing those answers right out of the gate.
- Keep it around 11-40 words. It might sound like a no-brainer, but don’t skip the description! VarageSale data experts found that items with NO description have a significantly lower chance of being sold compared to items with a 30-word description. Descriptions that are too long also have a negative impact, so try not to ramble on.
- Give relevant details. Cover all the pertinent specifics, such as condition, value, product features, colour, size, known defects/stains, a list of included accessories, laundry tags, instruction manuals and so on.
- Include your pickup location. Provide some convenient meetup locations and swap times. Give your buyer an idea of the general item whereabouts.
- Take measurements. Don’t guess. Yes, it might be a little more work but providing accurate measurements upfront will save you from having to go back and forth later. Dimensions are especially important when it comes to furniture and household items.
- Write with authority. Be clear and concise. Don’t be wishy-washy and give straight answers. Buyers are more willing to deal with sellers who sound like they know what they’re talking about.
- Break things down into bullet points. When there’s a lot to say, a bulleted list makes key information easier to read and digest.
- Check for errors. Typos cause confusion and diminish your professionalism. Take the extra minute to proofread and spell-check your post. Nothing kills a buyer’s confidence like obvious mistakes.
Great item titles and descriptions decrease no-shows, increase sales and save everyone time. What writing tips have contributed to your selling success? Share them in the comments below!