Catalog Copy: Three Tips to Create Copy That Sells
Catalog copywriters are hired as salespeople, Herschell Gordon Lewis emphasized in his session “Fast and Furious Tips for Catalog Copy in the 2006-2007 Season” at the Annual Conference for Catalog, Internet & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) held last week in Chicago. He offered attendees a number of practical tips for writing clear, concise copy that focuses on customers? wants and problems, and how a new product or service can fill those wants or solve those problems:
1. Use the benefit/benefit/benefit principle to write effective catalog copy. First, make a statement of superiority over others. (Example: “Here at last is a silent dishwasher.”) Then, relate that statement of superiority to the reader. (Example: “Kitchen noise and clatter are gone forever.”) Finally, tell the reader how this superiority improves her life or business. (Example: “For the first time, you can have a civil kitchen conversation or play soft music and actually hear it.”)
2. Write a powerfully engaging president’s or owner’s letter. “Here’s an opportunity for you to create an invitation to explore the wonders in your catalog pages,? Lewis said. He recommended that the copy mention specific items featured in the catalog and on what pages they can be found. He also explained that using a “Dear Friend” salutation is obsolete; he suggested simply opening the letter with “Good morning.” And finally, he suggests using an easy-on-the-eyes font that?s reminiscent of typed-up letters, such as American Typewriter.
3. Product and category headers should sell benefits. Headlines that work include those that are in active voice; emphasize an immediate benefit; play off one of the great motivators (i.e. fear, exclusivity, greed, guilt, the need for approval); solve a problem; or offer a ?last chance” offer.