A picture is worth a 1,000 words. So why does anyone bother with the words?
To be blunt, every animal can see pictures, but only humans can read. Only humans can talk – and reading is simply the closest we can get to talking, when talking is impossible.
So words matter. There are incredibly few catalogues with no words, and they sell incredibly expensive and beautiful products, from companies who have an instantly recognised brand throughout the world.
For the other 99.99% of us, I’m afraid we need words. Words to show our Brand Positioning, words to establish our Tone of Voice, and words to communicate the features and benefits of our products – not to mention any offers, incentives and calls to action we might wish to convey.
Good copywriting is even more rare a skill than good Art Directing, thatching or black-smithing. A natural copywriter is a mental chameleon.
He or she climbs into the persona of the client Brand and inhabits it. They soak up the facts, feelings and ways of expression the client company has. Then they establish from the brief and discussions what the objective is, who the audience is and what we want them to do.
Only then do they begin to commit pen to paper.
Covering letters, brochures and longer copy is crafted with extreme care. Certain grammatical errors, odd words, disconcerting breaks – are all there for a purpose. They are all focused on putting the reader into the desired psychological state, ready for the ‘ask to purchase’.
This is also true of the shorter canvas of the product copy paragraph in a catalogue or website. Taking a compete spread as a whole, it can be possible to guide the reader, by using the introductory paragraph, a customer testimonial, a staff tip.
Which is why some copywriters suck their teeth when, for example, a testimonial is moved from one page to another by an unappreciative client.
Kind clients who ask the rare experienced and deep-thinking copywriter why they have done something, before the client changes it, are rewarded by dog-like devotion.
Of course your catalogue must look good. But it must also have a Tone of Voice (ToV), a personality for readers to like and trust – brand positioning copy. Then the product copy must make the reader yearn, and scrabble for the mouse.
Good copywriting does so much, turning waverers into buyers, and one-time buyers into loyal customers. That is why good copywriting represents very good value. Anyone who undervalues the Attention, Interest, Desire, Commitment, Action (AIDCA) journey, doesn't understand the power of good copywriting.