7 Time-Tested Tips for Writing Catalog Copy That Supercharges Your Conversion Rate

 

Illustration of the letters ABC.

Catalog copy is challenging. You'll want to write appealing copy while also thinking like a salesperson, and you have the challenge of writing words that can close thousands of dollars in sales. Sure, it seems like a tremendous responsibility, but writing catalog copy can become second nature to you with a few tricks and tips.

Catalog copy these days isn't limited to print catalogs but also extends well into the digital world with online catalogs. The rules of the game remain the same. Your goal is to capture the customer's attention fast, rouse a need for your product, and encourage them to make a purchase.

A catalog is a curated collection of products or services a company offers. A well-crafted catalog can help increase profitability and growth. It can also help enhance sales while educating buyers about products, their features, and their uses. Brands can use a digital catalog to increase engagement, push prospects down the conversion funnel, and help create brand awareness.

If you want your copy to be suitable for other sales prospecting techniques, you should focus on the target audience, speak volumes about the product benefits, and be able to excite buyers from the first page. In a catalog, you're likely going for short-form copy, so you've got just a few lines to make an impact. With the tips below, you'll be able to transform your catalog copy into your most effective sales tool.

Gather information about the products

Writing catalog copy that will help convert a prospect into a customer requires research. You don't have to start from scratch, but you will have to collect all previously printed material. Organize all previous product literature — this will include brochures, technical papers, press kits, and even old catalogs.

For a new product, you might not have old literature, but you will have internal memos, technical information, and product specifications used in communication at work between departments.

A catalog includes images. When you're trying to collect information, look for images as well. Make sure you collect data with detail in mind. We want to know product descriptions, dimensions, different size availability, and color availability. All this information can help craft a vivid description of the product and help start creating flawless catalog copy.

An overview of core finishes such as weathered grey, driftwood, or reef. Each displayed with a small sample.
West Elm displaying their core finishes in their catalog.

Know your audience

Research isn't limited to the products or services offered. Unless you know who you're writing for, you can't produce quality content. It will help if you perform extensive research on your target market to understand your customers' needs. Writing without keeping the audience in mind would be an exercise in futility.

You can gain information from your customer relationship management (CRM) system and other CRM integrations. The data about previous prospects, leads, and customers can help you understand your audience. Knowing your audience doesn't just tell you what to sell them but how to sell it too. You can research how customers talk about your products and search for them online. You can also get help from customer reviews.

Sales and marketing functions have usually developed customer personas. These help segment customers by creating fictional representations of your ideal customer. Keep these personas in mind and write for them. Your tone and voice should reflect your customer persona.

Image of a product page from The Oodie, with copy such as: cover yourself in your favourite obsession in our new I love plants oodie.
Oodie using a tone of voice that’s unique to their brand and audience.

Identify customer pain points

Before you start writing and listing the benefits of your products or services, you need to know what your customer pain points are. What frustrations of your target customer can your product resolve? When you accurately identify your customer's pain points, you can write copy to create an emotional connection.

Your catalog copy needs to solve a problem. In reality, you aren't just selling a product or service; you're selling a solution.

There are multiple ways to uncover pain points:

  • Ask your customers through surveys.
  • Online customer reviews and customer testimonials.
  • Industry blogs.
  • Ask your customer service team.
  • Google the most common questions related to your niche.
Product description including copy such as: Whoever says they don't build them like they used to, doesn't own these boots.
A product description that addresses the customer’s pain points.

List the benefits

First, let's discuss what shouldn't be part of customer-focused catalog copy: technical descriptions that do not motivate the reader to buy anything.

If you want your catalog to generate leads and sales, it should focus on the benefits of your products and services. Simply stating all features takes the spotlight away from the utility of your offering. You know your customer's pain points; use your catalog copy to highlight how you can help them. Help build confidence in the reader and move them closer to purchasing.

Always list the benefits and valuable features to rope in the reader and then state the rest of your info. You could also use the catalog to list down intangible benefits of doing business with you along with other information customers could deem necessary. It would require a little effort, but catalog copy can also include customer testimonials or even a purchase order example to show what terms and conditions you work with.

Soap product description, including copy such as: Get Dirty, Stay Clean, Soap as Tough as You.
Benefits listed instead of just product specifications.

Keep it short

Catalog copy tends to be a bit perplexing for most copywriters because you must cater to many factors while keeping it brief. It has to be factual and informative and keep the reader's interest. Catalog copy has to be short and appealing; you don't have much room. This takes us back to our last point; you need to prioritize between what features and benefits to state.

The length of your copy can sometimes be the deciding factor for your conversion rate. Maximize your catalog copy's impact by ensuring you keep it concise.

Living Spaces Catalog about entryways with copy such as: Everyone who comes into your home deserves a warm welcome.
Living Spaces using short catalog copy that invites readers to read more and click the products for more information.

Be mindful of the language you use

It's copy, so, naturally, there are some rules about how you need to structure the words. You need to make it persuasive by avoiding technical jargon and including descriptive adjectives. Try to keep it as simple and less wordy as possible, using familiar, unambiguous vocabulary.

While we don't want it to be very colloquial (unless it's aimed at a specific market), we don't want it overly formal. Find the right balance as per your target market.

Ensure the following, so your catalog copy is easy and fun to read:

  • Short sentences
  • Use the active voice
  • Shorter paragraphs
  • Use boldface type and bullets for emphasis
  • Use a readable font size, so it doesn't strain the eyes
Page from Brighton's catalog with simple and clear copy: Carry your phone in style.
Brighton’s catalog with short but clear copy.

Make it visually appealing

“What is the use of a book without pictures?” - Lewis Carroll on Alice in Wonderland

Your copy is looking good at this point, but it's not going to be there standing alone, will it? Copy has product photos and other catalog design elements around it. These are necessary to inform the reader and to keep them engaged. Without the visual context, the copy would look uninviting.

Create an attractive catalog. You don't want the page to look too busy; the images and design shouldn't divert attention from the benefits. The pictures and text need to be strategically placed, so the reader's eyes flow naturally from the image to the text. The layout should be tidy, and the design should reflect your brand and use colors and fonts that make the catalog look sophisticated yet enticing.

Page from Pure Romance's catalog with products such as body lotion and shave cream. Showing a pink gradient, with dark purple fonts and red copy: Enjoy decadent delight.
Pure Romance capturing a great mood with their fonts, colors, and images.

Ready?

You could integrate your online catalog with popular analytics platforms to know how well it is performing. You could measure catalog performance with google analytics and make data-driven changes to it so you can gain more conversions.

Your catalog copy can be essential to help bridge gaps in your marketing. It can be the perfect combination of informative and persuasive copywriting necessary to convert customers.

A dexterously prepared catalog can be critical for your sales teams and help them achieve their targets. If you follow the tips above, you can create high-performing copy that won't just be a supporting tool but can exist independently.

If you're disciplined about keeping the technical information and descriptions to a minimum and concentrate on the benefits of your products and services, your revamped catalogs will bring in more sales and leads. Create a catalog that is innovative in its approach yet gives the reader all the information they require.

Your catalog should focus on using your product and less on technicalities. The copy needs to convince the reader to keep reading, and that can only happen if you speak the audience's language and talk about resolving their problems. Catalogs have become paramount for businesses, and if written carefully with much thought and strategy, they can contribute to long-term profitability and growth.

Interested in publishing your catalogs online? Contact us, or sign up for our free 14-day trial here.

Bio:

Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform with IVR for call center for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.

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