Speak Personally …
There’s a ton of power to be had from “speaking personally” to a prospect or customer. Writing copy that touches consumers personally connects to those who otherwise might not pay much attention to your catalog or Web site. Writing to them just as you’d speak to them — one on one and as a trusted friend or colleague — breaks down the barrier that often exists between you and all but your most zealous customer.
The fatal flaw of writing impassively or impersonally shows up more dramatically in direct mail than in catalog. With your catalog, you at least have photos to support the sell, even if the copy is mundane. A direct mail letter has no such camouflage. It’s out there by itself, and when it’s bad (which is more frequent these days, particularly with credit card mailings), the package bombs. There’s just no saving it.
Go Beyond ‘You’
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just by adding “you” to your copy it instantly becomes personal. While that certainly helps, it’s not the place to stop trying.
Writing personally only can come from getting inside customers’ heads, talking to them about the things that matter most to them and confirming these things matter to you, too.
An example of this can be found in the Smith+Noble catalog for blinds and drapes we’ve been working on. The catalog copy about wood blinds, which are hardly an inexpensive solution for a window covering, starts out with this:
More than ever, Wood Blinds bring the quality you demand in your home’s fine furniture and wood flooring into window fashion.
The Web site is even less personal:
You’ll find superlative natural Wood Blinds in our diverse collections. Design your custom Wood Blinds in your choice of rich stains, fashion-forward paints, exciting new weathered finishes, even 10 shades of white.