Lisa Merriam

Copy Writing for Catalogs—Short Form Sales Copy

copy-writing-catalogShort form copy writing for catalogs must accomplish hard work of selling with few words. Item descriptions in catalogs are sometimes limited to just one sentence—often under a dozen words. Here are key points to help copy writers get the “Wow! I want to buy that” response.

1) Write with a structure in mind.

Even the shortest catalog entries have to grab the reader’s attention, pique their interest, whet their desire, then spur action. Lead with an attention getting sentence or phrase first. The features and spec come at the end, after you get reader attention, interest and desire.

2) Don’t just recite the product features when copy writing for catalogs.

Give the reader some idea what it will be like to own or use the product. Experienced copywriters walk through the five senses to discover concepts that create desire. They also look beyond features to the benefits. For example, the sheet set doesn’t just have a 500 thread count per inch, but “wraps you in absolute luxury that grows softer with each washing—and resists wrinkles”. Put your reader right there with the product, touching it, hearing it, smelling it.

3) Brevity counts.

Today more than ever, readers scan copy before they read it. If you write complex sentences larded with adjectives, readers may not take the effort to read what you have to say. Get to you message, hit the high points and then get out. When you think you have finished, go back and cut words and simplify sentences. It can always be shorter and more hard hitting.

4) Talk to your reader.

Don’t put barriers between you and your audience. Don’t talk about “our customers”, say “you”. And if you have personality, let it shine through. The less you sound like a stilted corporation, the better.

5) Get the details right.

Just because they come at the end doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Check and double check that every measurement and specification is right. Dealing with a returned item is expensive. Dealing with a disappointment customer could be fatal to your business.