Too often, catalog copy describes much better than it sells. Famed copywriter and direct marketing consultant Herschell Gordon Lewis sought to help change that with Inside Direct Mail’s latest webinar, entitled “Copywriting for Catalogs & Merchandise” [$79, http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/r?s=107228 ]. In his books “Catalog Copy That Sizzles” and the recent “Creative Rules for the 21st Century—the Richest Resource of Copywriting Secrets for Today’s Market,” Lewis discusses the type of copy and fresh creative ideas that are essential to help any print or online catalog sell their merchandise.
In the webinar itself, Lewis went over many simple rules of catalog copy that catalogers and copywriters can begin implementing immediately in order to improve response. Here are four examples.
1. Don’t neglect your No. 1 hook
Try to find a better competitive sales “hook” than “free shipping.” OK, give up? It’s hard to beat that promise, so make sure that it stays.
2. Know your customer’s concerns
The typical seller’s concern is, “What it is.” The typical buyer’s concern? “What it will do for me.” Big difference. Make sure you exploit your awareness of the difference. As a result, the benefits (in a lead paragraph, for example) of a product should precede its features (usually in bullets).
3. Simplify the online order form
Duplicating the order form from your printed catalog in an online catalog can be a mistake, killing off orders just as they were about to be concluded.
4. Understand the “Benefit/Benefit/Benefit Principle”
Lewis says that this is your guarantee of effective catalog copy. The first-level benefit makes a statement of superiority over others, such as, “Here at last is a silent dishwasher.” The second-level benefit relates that statement of superiority to the reader, such as, “Kitchen noise and clatter are gone forever.” The third-level benefit tells readers how this superiority brings an improvement to their lives: “For the first time, you can have a civilized kitchen conversation or play quiet music … and actually hear it.”