Keep It Simple
At first glance, anyone starting out as a catalog copywriter might think that writing this type of copy should be easy – after all, you’re just describing a product. So, the more adjectives or highfalutin words you use, the better, right?
Just pull out that thesaurus and keep it handy. Who knew there were so many different ways to say “spacious,” like, commodious…really?
Catalog copywriters walk a fine line with the words that they choose to use to sell a product. And that fine line is the border between speaking to the reader in her language or speaking in a language that is foreign.
And how do you expect someone to know what you’re talking about if she doesn’t understand the language?
Writing clear, understandable catalog copy is key to making a sale. And clear, understandable catalog copy is copy that’s written for a specific audience - your customers.
When the catalog copywriter knows who she’s speaking to, her word selection should match her readers’ vocabulary. And in most cases (but not all), simpler is better.
Don’t think that your prospect is going to stop and refer to a dictionary when she comes across a word in your copy that she doesn’t know the meaning of. More likely, she’ll move on with annoyance or leave your Web site entirely.
Uh oh, another lost sale!
When you are required to use a “big” word, for example, because the manufacturer of the product says they want you to use it, be fair to your customer and explain it to her. Include its definition in the copy, so confusion is avoided.
Writing simple and clear copy probably won’t win many literary prizes, and that’s okay, since the purpose of a catalog’s copy is to produce a sale.
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Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter