Copy Clinches the Sale
If you work among the creative staff at your catalog company, you may hear the following discussion from time to time:
Merchant: “I need this item to be pictured a little smaller for it to pay for itself.”
Art director: “If we just cut the copy, we probably can make the picture a little bigger and still take up less total space. People don’t read anyway.”
Copywriter: “I’ve already cut the copy three times, and now there’s barely enough room to give even the product dimensions and SKU number.”
Many people say nobody reads anymore, so you might as well show bigger pictures and cut the copy. I disagree. We know that readability is an issue in any print media, and customers tend to skip around and read headlines, bullets and photo captions more than stories and body copy. However, your selling channels (catalog and Internet) offer a much different experience than retail. And, you must ensure you’re maximizing all the selling tools available.
A very big selling plus is being able to tell customers what we want them to know about merchandise and how the items will improve their lives. Catalog-shopper studies show that buyers study creative elements in the following order:
1 — photo,
2 — caption or copy violator,
3 — price,
4 — headline and
5 — body copy.
Clearly, a photo grabs the attention of your prospects. But once you have their attention, you must convert that into a sale. That’s where copy comes into play.
Once shoppers are interested in something, and the price is appropriate, they’ll look further to discern if they’re going to buy. One retailing expert calls this the beginning of the slippery slide to buying. Each successive element and word must continue to lead the prospect further down the slippery slide. To do this, each sentence or copy element must work in sequence to move customers to the bottom of the slide — that is, to the ordering process.