By Denise McGill
This is the 3rd article in a series of four to help small and rural businesses write sales-generating web content, product descriptions, sales letters and more. In last week’s article, Write to “Benefit” Your Customer, we touched on creating catalog and web product descriptions that promote the desire to purchase your company’s products. This week, we will fine tune a little more and touch on writing clear, tight copy so that every word works toward building customer confidence, appealing to customer emotions, creating a strong call to action, and ultimately making the sale.
because they won’t! To begin writing clear copy your customers must get the meaning of your message the first time. If you have long, rambling sentences, they tend to complicate your promotion and your catalog or sales letter may end up in the trash. Break into smaller sentences to make your message much more palatable and keep your customers reading. Long, rambling sentences seldom come to the point and leave customers confused.
Especially with web or catalog product descriptions – every word must count. Catalog space is typically limited and too many neutral words or phrases such as:
- with this…
- there is…
- these are just a few…
- you’ll be sure…
add no value to content and waste space. With online users, you typically have just a few seconds to grab a potential customer’s attention, so make sure you don’t waste their time with content that adds nothing to the product’s description. Remember their finger is on the mouse and losing a potential customer is just a click away.
With the compliments and permission of Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, I’ve picked a product description I wrote for them to highlight an example of tight copy. As you read the description, pay attention to what other unique factors are in play with this particular piece of writing.
Americana Patchwork Throw – ©Sturbridge Yankee Workshop – 2008
Bundle up in the glory and heritage of early Americana. Patches of firecracker reds, linen whites and sparkling sea blues bring a nostalgic, warm touch to décor. Made of 100% tufted cotton, this throw is the perfect lightweight solution for summer and autumn evenings. Place across the foot of the bed or drape over the sofa arm for a cozy warmth when you need it. 50”x 60”.
Besides the tight and clear description, did you catch some of the subtle and not so subtle attributes of this description?
- Right off the bat, the copy begins with a verb – action is noted immediately. You want to move the customer from a passive state to an active state. Here, the customer envisions himself/herself – bundling up in this throw.
- This copy also has emotional appeal to your customer– pride in American heritage and sense of patriotism. This product makes a customer feel good about the purchase.
- Benefits of the product are also noted and key to a successful description. In this example, uses for this throw are suggested: lightweight solution for summer and autumn evenings, place at the foot of the bed… Let your customer know how your product is of value to them.
This description not only makes every word count, it appeals to an emotional hot button and has the customer envisioning himself or herself using the product. In 65 short words, this description covers a lot of territory! Questions about the product itself are answered and it engages the customer with clear benefits.
Next week, my 4th and final article will focus on sales letters and promotional materials for marketing purposes. We’ll talk about building credibility, distinguishing yourself from the competitor and a basic formula for a successful promotion.
Can’t seem to find the right words to sell your product? Denise McGill is a freelance copywriter specializing in catalog product description, copy makeovers, web content, landing pages, promotional materials, sales letters, articles and more. Visit her website at http://www.mcgillcopywriting.com for more information on giving your business the competitive edge. Also, take a moment to subscribe to her online newsletter to receive more writing tips and hints.