Ready? Here's all 28 of 'em…
1. Know your readers:
Who’s your audience? Who will be most interested in your product or service? If you just aim at a general audience, don’t expect to get any response! You need to know who’s out there so you direct your attention right at them. What do they care about? What motivates them? What turns them off? Remember to aim at those most likely to buy, to waste your time with the rest.
2. Study the product info before writing:
If you start writing before you know all the specs and features, you’ll end up with copy that’s scattered.
3. Review competitors copy:
Find out what your competitors are writing about this or a similar product. While this may give you some great ideas and input, don’t fall into a trap. Often what our competitors are writing is crap, so don’t give it more importance then it really deserves. Remember, we need to do better! But then again, we might be able to steal some great ideas!
4. Keep copy flowing:
Keep it moving, keep their interest, if you slow down they have a chance to jump off. Be very fearful of boring them. Too many details or technical terms can bore them. Watch out for good grammar, that can be so boring. Forget about what you learned in English class, write you would talk to someone.
5. Keep thoughts in logical order:
Don’t go off on a tangent, avoid those dead-end roads. Make sure each step flows seamlessly from one step to the next as well as in a logical order.
6. Speak the reader’s language:
Are you trying sell chemical engineers? Better know their language. Not only will it be more comfortable for your audience, but there’s less of a chance of you looking like an outsider.
7. Stress benefits, not features:
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but it just might be the most important of all these tips. Take all those features and translate them into how they most benefit your audience.
8. Identify your products:
Most important benefit and emphasize it:
Once you figure out the most important benefit, fit all the others around this one.
9. Write on a one-to-one basis and in a conversational tone:
I personally, feel that this is the most important part of copywriting that you can master. Forget the grammar and style, actually talk to that person. And remember, even though this copy you are writing may be read by millions, you need to write it to one individual. When you start writing a sales letter with “Dear Friends” you know you have started off on the wrong foot. Make sure it reads “Dear Friend” and you can’t go wrong!
10. Be friendly:
That’s so very important. Being friendly gets their guard down. To get a new customer you have to make a friend first.
11. Don’t let good grammar get in the way and ruin your message:
We covered this earlier, good grammar is too formal and boring. There’s no place for good grammar in sales copy.
12. Beware of pet words that you overuse:
We all have these words and phrases we keep using. We may not even realize it. But be careful, they can be a turnoff. (One of mine might be “make sure” and another one might be “might be! I also use too many exclamation points!!!)
13. Don’t state the obvious:
Another way to bore your audience. It may even be insulting to some.
14. Make sure the copy matches the illustration:
This should be obvious. If the product is shown performing a certain function, make sure your copy is in tune with it, and not describing a different function.
15. Tell them why they should buy from you:
Yes, don’t be timid, and never be afraid to ask for that order.
16. Avoid long sentences:
Sentences with over 12 words could be more difficult to digest. Short snappy sentences slip into their minds easier.
17. Use short words whenever possible:
Along with those short sentences, use short words. Don’t try to impress someone with your long words. It won’t work. They’ll head for the door.
18. Be enthusiastic about that product:
This is so important. Some of the best copy I’ve written was about things I was very enthused about. If you aren’t enthused, you will never enthuse your reader. And if you can’t enthuse them, they won’t buy from you.
19. Let copy project the company image:
Need I say more? Try to get out what the company is all about. And there should be a continuous company connection from one product description to the next.
20. Write in the active, rather than passive tense:
So very important! And a line or two trying to describe this point won’t to it justice. You need to find out more about my Catalog Copywriters Secrets book, it’s stuffed full of examples of how to turn your copy into active tense and lists of words you can use.
21. Keep copy timely:
Make sure your copy reflects a current timeline. Don’t be using any terms or phrases that will date you. The more you can make it like a news story, the more powerful it will be. Of course my Catalog Copywriting Secrets book has a list of words that give the image of news and being newsworthy.
22. Don’t be redundant:
Not only will you waste your time and theirs, but you will irritate them. (I stole that line from a t-shirt I once owned, it said something like “Never try to teach a pig to sing, not only will you waste your time and theirs, but you will irritate the pig.
23. Be consistent:
You may not notice a few inconstancies, but your reader surely will. And once you lose your creditability, you lose your order!
24. Make them feel that the product is a good value:
OK, maybe this is a very expensive item and worse, it is priced higher than the competition. Explain all the benefits like they are exclusives to your product. Show that they get so much more from you that there is no way to compare prices. Demonstrate that when all these benefits are tallied up, they really get a bargain. This may be hard to do, but I’m sure you can do it!
25. Stress exclusivity:
Nothing sells like exclusivity! This purchase will bring them up to a new level. Only 3,000 others will be able to get one. They are a numbered collector’s edition. Their friends and neighbors will envy them! Be the first in their neighborhood!
26. Be complete, cover all features and benefits as well as possible objections:
Sometimes we may be tempted to leave out something that may not look too good for our product, but this can be a powerful tool. First, they won’t fall for it, they are skeptical and will fill in the blanks for you, and won’t be kind about it either. So cover the objections before they do. And by bringing up something that’s not too positive about your products, this makes you seem more believable and they are more apt to believe the rest of your claims!
27. Stress newness when appropriate:
Always try to find something new about your product or offer. “New” is a powerful word.
28. Be believable:
Don’t exaggerate, or make your products seem too good, they just won’t believe you. Remember, it’s a rough audience out there, they are very skeptical. Get them over to your side.
Hopefully this has helped, but there is much more! If you are the least bit interested in learning about catalog copywriting, please check out my amazing copywriting books on the home page of this website.
Thanks and good luck with your catalogs,