Your email got opened…success!
Well, not quite.
Half the battle has been won because your recipient was intrigued enough by the subject line to take a look.
Now, the job of the email is to produce some kind of action - a click to your web site or a reply to your message.
Whatever result you’re hoping to achieve, it’s imperative that the crux of your message be significant and convincing. So, make sure it clearly states to the reader LOOK HOW MY PRODUCT/SERVICE CAN HELP YOU!
Regardless of what you’re selling, your prospect isn’t considering buying it because of the product or service itself. No, the prospect is thinking about buying it because the product or service:
Get the idea?
People buy stuff when they perceive that the said “stuff” will provide a positive result or benefit for them.
Everyone has a reason for buying and it’s not just because they want to spend money on your product. They want to spend money on your product because they believe that your product will do (fill in the blank) for them.
Emails that tune into this mindset strongly increase the chances of provoking the desired response.
Give it a try and watch your email marketing results explode.
Specifics sell, period.
When prospects are shopping, they don’t want to just read about a product’s features, they want to know why they should buy it. They want to be given an incentive - a reason to buy.
Using specifics makes the job of selling easier, because the copy contains no vagueness or ambiguity.
Here’s an example of a headline that I saw recently in The Vermont Country Store catalog. The item was combed-cotton pajamas and the headline read, “Featherweight Pajamas Won’t Cling or Stick to Your Body When Temperatures Rise.”
This headline alone could convince a woman looking for lightweight and cool pajamas to place an order. It is straight-forward and to-the-point and speaks directly to the important benefit to be gained from buying these PJs.
Another item in the same catalog used specificity to pitch the value of its Portuguese flannel sheet-blankets.
The copy began like this: “If you’re not familiar with old-fashioned sheet-blankets, you’ll find they’re just what you need to add another layer on bitter cold nights and have just enough heft on their own to keep you feeling “just right” on warmer nights.”
The copy continued with the sheet-blankets features, but that first sentence explained specifically why buying their sheet-blanket would be a smart move, which gives shoppers a reason to buy it.
So much selling power is lost when copy speaks in general terms. By focusing on specifics, your copy is much more persuasive and convincing, which ultimately produces sales.
Catalog copywriting skills reach far beyond the pages of a catalog…did you know that?
That’s right, the skills needed to write short catalog copy are easily transferable to other types of short descriptions, for example, a real estate property description.
Recently, I was asked by a realtor to rewrite a property description.
I was happy to oblige because like any other freelance copywriting professional, I’m always willing to demonstrate my abilities.
Without further ado, this is how it went:
The Original Version
WELCOME TO THE SHINING ROCK COMMUNITY, THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR AN EASIER LIFESTYLE... Start checking the boxes!!! *1*. More free time without giving up comforts of home. *2*. Light, bright, clean, freshly painted and move in ready * 3*. 1st floor Master Bedroom retreat with separate commode *4*. An open concept floor plan. suited for entertaining * 5. * 3 Bedrooms and 2/1/2 baths * 6. * Two car attached garage and full-size basement to finish, workshop space and storage *7. * Location This unit is at the end of a tree lined lane and walk to Award Winning Golf Course and Rockdale Grill., *8* Private deck and outdoor space. *9* Must allow Pets. Absolutely. *10*, Great commuter location. 495, 90, 146 Worcester, Providence, and Boston. ****** All year around or "lock it and leave it" snow birds, this is a comfortable attractive property to call home.
My Revised Version
HAD IT WITH THE HECTIC LIFESTYLE? 10 REASONS WHY LIFE’S SIMPLER AT SHINING ROCK…
1. No more time-consuming home and yard maintenance. More time for fun stuff!
2. Move-in ready; light, bright, freshly painted, and clean.
3. Open concept floor plan, if entertaining is your thing.
4. Your own retreat – 1st floor Master bedroom with separate commode.
5. 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths for visiting family or guests.
6. Two-car, attached garage and full-size, unfinished basement – that workshop or extra storage you’ve always dreamed of?
7. Peaceful location at end of tree-lined lane that’s walking distance to award-winning golf course and Rockdale Grill.
8. Private deck and outdoor space.
9. Pets are ALWAYS welcome.
10. Worcester, Providence, and Boston less than an hour’s commute away; 495, 146, and 90 close by.
Whether living year-round or ‘lock it and leave it’ snowbirds, this no-fuss, appealing property epitomizes what home should be.
Like catalog copy, property descriptions have restricted word capacity, so the less words you can use, the more specific your copy needs to be.
And specificity always outpulls generalities. Hmmm, sounds like another blog topic…
In any event, whether you’re writing 25 words to pitch a handbag or a house, the basic copy approach is the same.
Know your audience, know the item’s major selling points and their benefits, and then compose your copy so it speaks to your customers and promotes the benefits.
Often, in catalog copy, you’ll see an item’s description claiming that it is unique or useful or beautiful.
And that’s fine, maybe the product is unique or useful or beautiful, but what makes the item that way? What trait or feature does it have that sets it apart? Savvy buyers will want to know.
Instead of making generalized claims of wonderfulness by using generic words (like unique, useful, beautiful, special, pretty), why not include specifics that spell out why the product is, in fact, so remarkable? The shrewd catalog copywriter will be sure to take this approach.
Let me give you some examples of wimpy words.
I came across this copy for protective boots for horses:
The new Eskadron Pure Collection has arrived. A great collection for competition wear.
This copy was accompanied by a photo of a pair of sparkling white boots lined with luxurious-looking material. I clicked to the web site to see if I could learn why they would be ideal for competition wear.
The web site copy shared this:
The white faux fur tendon boots. Great for warming up at competitions. Crystal white, touch outer and lovely soft faux fur. Machine washable.
Okay, so the copy’s established that these boots are great, but why? What makes them great?
Great because the boots’ Velcro™ fasteners make it easy to get the boots off quickly? So your horse can wear them until just before it’s his turn in the arena? Or maybe the faux fur keeps your horse’s legs from getting sweaty?
The vagueness of the word great leaves so much selling left undone.
Another example I found was in one of those little real estate booklets that you can pick up for free.
The copy was minimal, only 3 ½ lines. The first line and a half had this to say about a townhouse listed at $739,000:
Evergreen Meadows, a quintessential New England Village.
Ouch. You have 3 ½ lines of text to sell someone on this rather expensive townhouse, and the first seven words tell you nothing concrete about the listing. And one of the words is “quintessential.”
Generic words in copy serve as filler and do nothing to promote a product. Specifics always outshine fluff and sell much more effectively.
It’s easy to sell to someone who has made up her mind about what she needs and the price she’s willing to pay. But not every shopper falls into that category.
Many are considering a purchase, but, for a variety of reasons, aren’t steadfast in their desire. These are the people who need persuading or justification. And this is where the inclusion of benefits in your copy comes into play.
The definition of benefit is something that is advantageous or good; an advantage.
Sure, you like a particular item and it would be nice to have, but do you really need it?
Maybe it’s a little pricey or maybe you don’t need more (for instance, another pair of shoes), or maybe you don’t need it right now.
In any of the scenarios described above, the mention of a benefit could be what sways the undecided or hesitant consumer to open her wallet.
I’ll use shoes as an example.
You’ve come upon a pair of navy blue shoes. You love the heel height and the look of the shoes. In that instant, you’ve decided that you might possibly buy them.
Here’s where sharp catalog copy is a must.
You’ve a potential buyer on the precipice, waffling about what to do. Your copy should cajole with a benefit and explain to your prospect why she needs to buy this.
Wearing jeans or a skirt today? This shoe adapts!
That copy might convince the reluctant buyer who feels she has too many shoes to take the plunge. “They won’t just sit in my closet!” Or, maybe she’d be able to justify buying them for this reason, even if they’re a bit more expensive than she’d like.
Aha! An advantage to making the purchase!
Shoes (that I don’t really need) that can be worn with a variety of outfits, so they won’t collect dust in my closet.
Explain to shoppers in your catalog copy why making a purchase will make their life better or easier and you’ll see your sales drastically improve.
Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter