Losing Sales with Dry Copy?
✂ Cut this out and tape it somewhere for easy reference.
Reread the headline and deck of this article. They combine to use five of the Seven Copy Drivers (see the list above), which are a simple set of motivators. Ignore them at your own peril.
If you write, edit or review copy for your catalog, tape this list to the wall next to your desk for easy reference. Refer to this list every time you work on your catalog’s copy.
Now let’s take another look at the headline. What drove you to begin reading? The question, “Losing sales with dry copy?,” plays into fear. “Wallop your competition” is flattery. (You’re better than them, right?) The phrase “Make more money” appeals to greed. And finally, “Be a master copywriter” promises salvation with a touch of exclusivity. After all, you’ll be a “master.” Five drivers are packed into 15 words.
Each of your copy blocks — and certainly every headline — needs to employ as many of these seven drivers as possible. “If not, tear it up and start over,” as direct marketing guru Denny Hatch would say.
Goodway Technologies of Stamford, Conn., is the leading manufacturer and marketer of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) cleaning and maintenance equipment in the United States. The company once relied on headlines that simply listed its product names, such as “CoilPro Coil Cleaner.” This product’s copy then read, “Goodway’s CC-140 CoilPro Battery Powered Coil Cleaner is the solution for your coil cleaning applications.”
Driving Home A Product’s Superiority
Now admittedly, HVAC cleaning equipment is not the sexiest number on the block. Goodway wasn’t content with the status quo, however. It tore up its old copy and used the copy drivers to get at the core of why its product is better than the competition.
The headline now admonishes, “Don’t Trust Just Any Coil Cleaner.” The drop-head warns, “Some ‘coil cleaners’ do more harm than good.” Finally, the product headline promises, “The CC-140 CoilPro: Safe for your coils and for you!” Fear, anger and salvation are front and center. Suddenly, this product is more than interesting — it’s important.
National Bankers Supply (aka BankSupplies) of Belleville, Mich., markets money-handling supplies and equipment. It has large banks and corporations as customers, but also prides itself on catering to small mom-and-pop companies. A headline for coin counters in its catalog promises, “No more late nights at the kitchen table sorting by hand. These machines will save you time and aggravation.”
BankSupplies uses two of the drivers: anger and salvation. Not bad for a coin counter. Did you notice the “late nights at the kitchen table” phrase? This demonstrates how to strengthen the copy drivers. The more specific and concrete the application, the better.
B-to-B catalogers often fall into ruts of their own making. They believe their products are boring, and it shows in their copy. Instead of settling for what you’ve always written, challenge yourself to fill your catalog with the Seven Copy Drivers. You may be surprised at just how interesting and important your products are. This technique requires a conscious effort. You literally step through the list of Copy Drivers to see how many you can apply.
Why settle for lackluster copy when it will sparkle with these simple Copy Drivers? And remember: You’ll stop losing sales, wallop your competition and make more money.
George Hague is senior marketing strategist at J. Schmid & Assoc. You can reach him at (913) 236-8988 or at GeorgeH@Jschmid.com.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.