I was reading a comment on a Facebook page the other day and the writer used “language” that you often see in texts.
You know, stuff like “LOL” and “OMG.” However, the acronym the writer had written, I had never seen before, and I had no clue what it stood for so didn’t know what it meant.
I was confused.
(I confess, I googled a web site that translates this sort of stuff to decipher what the acronym stood for.)
So, other than showing that I’m a novice when it comes acronyms and texting, why am I telling you this story?
What I experienced, the confusion of not knowing what the unfamiliar acronym stood for, is something that your catalog readers can experience too, if you don’t make a point to explain things to them.
For example, I have a client who sells equine products.
When I was reading the product description for a pair of horse boots, the description included that the boots were made of TPU.
Now, I didn’t know what TPU was and at that moment, I became the perplexed customer, contemplating what those letters might stand for. This confusion began leading me down the wrong path, away from the one that ends at the "Add to Cart" button.
From a copywriting perspective, simply saying that the boot is made of TPU adds nothing to the value or the salesmanship of the copy if the potential buyer has no clue what it is. If she doesn’t know what it is, she can’t make a judgement as to whether it’s a good thing or not.
And why make your prospect try and guess what something is? All that does is distract her from what you ultimately want her to do - buy the product.
Chances are, she won’t google TPU on her Smartphone to learn what it is. But she may go looking elsewhere for boots for her horse.
Including “empty” information in your copy is a waste and doesn’t help you make a sale.
So, what to do?
Well, you could write this in your copy block or product description: “Constructed of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) a combination of hard plastic and soft silicone…”.
Or, if there wasn’t room in the copy block itself, you could include this information in a sidebar on the same page that the product was being displayed on. (Space restrictions are a real thing with print catalogs, so you have to look hard at every word of copy and cut the fluff. For web product descriptions, space isn’t an issue, so you’ve no excuse for lazy copy.)
You may be thinking, “Really, is it that necessary to include such specific information?”
If you deem the information to be important enough to include in your copy and it’s something - like an acronym - which the average person wouldn’t know of, then you should explain it. This educates the prospect about your product, and most prospects are interested in learning about a product before purchasing.
If you’re consistent about this practice throughout your catalog's copy, you’ll gain a prospect’s trust. And being trustworthy leads to sales.
Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter