Mike Hines, Technical Evangelist for Amazon Kindle, is our guest blogger for this post.
So writing your app was the hard part. Okay, true enough; but it’s not the last part. You still need to sell your app, and a great product description will help you do that. Here's how to make sure your description puts your app in the best light.
Start with the Basics
Make sure your description is clear, honest, and straightforward. If you have a personal finance app that tracks income and expenses and helps you budget, explain why and how this is helpful and how the app works. Don’t make grandiose promises about how your app will make users wealthy; customers see through inflated claims, and your description will lose credibility.
Use the following checklist to get the basics right:
- Always use proper punctuation and grammar.
- Introduce your app clearly and succinctly.
- Describe your app's most notable features.
- Use a conversational tone.
- Explain why and how your app will benefit users.
- Show off, but don’t inflate claims. Include the attributes that make your app stand out.
- Finish with a call to action.
- Write your product description in the web form on the Mobile App Distribution Portal. Instead, write your product description in a word processor and paste the finished result back to the Distribution Portal.
- Refer to your app only as "this app" or "an app"—use your app's full name at least once in your product description.
- Make false, hyperbolic claims—this type of marketing rarely works and may hurt your app in the long run.
- Simply list your app's features. Instead, explain why these features are awesome and worth adding to a customer’s app collection.
- Use atypical or inappropriate language that could mislead or confuse customers.
But wait, there's more! Remember—this is the Basics checklist. If you just do the things in the list above, you’ll only get an okay product description. We can do better.
Learn from the Masters
Consider the following description:
This is a clever, addictive game that’s a lot like a word search game. It also makes you think instead of just looking for words. Create words by linking letters that disappear when you link them. When they disappear, they are replaced with letters from the grid above.
If you’re clever, you can set yourself up to create long words and get lots of points and you’ll never run out of games to play. In addition to Standard mode, there is a 'Timed' mode too. Tracked stats include 'Longest Word', 'Highest Scoring Word', 'Total Score' and more! Play MyGame in Portrait, as well as Landscape view. MyGame is the best game ever for everyone who likes puzzles and games.
This example is not “a bad example.” This product description would do alright as is, because it does several things right:
- It describes the game in terms of a reference most users will understand (“…like a word search game.”)
- It takes a shot at describing what the app actually does. (“Create words by linking letters…”)
- It describes why it is unique and may be a lot of fun. (“…you can set yourself up to create long words…and you’ll never run out of games to play.”)
- It even makes an attempt to appeal to a market. (“MyGame is…for everyone who likes puzzles and games.”)
Still, this product description isn’t brilliant. This writing probably won’t generate the enthusiasm, curiosity, or the confidence required to convert a marginally interested shopper into a buyer. It reads poorly, uses choppy structure, and is imprecise or confusing on a number of items.
Now consider a much better description of the same game:
MyGame is a word search game with a tactical twist.
Create words by linking letters within a grid of scrambled letters. Each word created is then removed from the grid and the letters above fall into the gaps left behind, creating new word possibilities. With careful play, letters can be brought into play strategically and used to create longer, higher scoring words. The starting grid is randomly generated, so no two games should ever be the same.
MyGame offers two modes of play: 'Relaxed' - for those who like to take their time and try to create the longest words, and 'Timed' - where players can test themselves against the clock to see how they score under pressure. Your 'Longest Word', 'Highest Scoring Word', 'Words Made' and 'Total Score' stats are all recorded so you can track your achievements. If you like word search puzzles, you’ll love this game. Download MyGame and start finding words with a twist today!
This description does a number of things differently than the previous description. It completes the checklist, but more importantly, it provides the following subtle improvements.
The improved description:
- Is more fluid and reads more easily.
- Includes the name of the title, and avoids unnecessary superlatives or exaggeration.
- Uses more precise and descriptive language to describe how the game works.
- Describes the uniquely fun component of the game in more detail (“With careful play, the letters can be brought into play strategically and used to create longer, higher-scoring words.”) This type of precision is missing from the first description.
context and benefits for its features.
- It describes why long words are desirable (“…create longer, higher scoring words.”) so users have context to the benefit of ‘Relaxed’ mode (“…take their time and create the longest words,…”).
- The score-tracking features are given a benefit statement (“…are recorded so you can track you achievements.”).
- The claim in the first description (“…never run out of games...”) is substantiated in the second (“The starting grid is randomly generated, so no two games should ever be the same.”)
- Includes a call to action in the last sentence.
While these two product descriptions are similar, one of the big differences lies in the implementation of the required checklist elements (and, honestly, a bit of proofreading).
Refine the Nuances
So how do you refine the nuances of your description? Use these three simple checks to see if you've met the bar.
- Don’t ignore spell and grammar check results.
- Read your product description out loud. This is a great test for continuity and flow.
- Ask someone who has never used the app to read the product description and describe what the app is, how it works, and why they might want it. If they struggle to get any of those points right, or fail to see why they should buy it, you need a rewrite.
Trust us: It gets better from here. Even if your first few product descriptions are closer to good than great, it is okay to rewrite your description. With practice, you’ll find it easy to develop a solid, recognizable style in your product descriptions that can help establish consistency, brand recognition, and consumer trust.
So, go ahead—why wait? Get started today by using these guidelines to make a small edit or two to an existing product description.