Keep a few things in mind while you read them. 1) The same function could be accomplished with some
cardboard boxes or shoe boxes, 2) Chances are, no one but the owners of these
boxes will ever see them, and 3) They cost $35 to $50 each.
Description 1: “Woven antique black finish baskets offer creative and stylish storage
solutions for everything from sweaters and laundry to office supplies and
refuse. All liners are washable natural-colored cotton canvas.”
Description 2: “Soften
the look of your work space with these casual, yet highly functional basket
Description 3: “These
canvas ‘drawers,’ complete with handles, are cleverly designed with an inner
covered-wire frame that keeps the lining taut.”
Now – let’s think about these descriptions and what kinds of
things, other than practicality, are going on.
The first one injects the concepts of creativity and style –
both important emotionally-driven motives. In a world where we can all get
enough food, water and shelter (usually), creativity and style come into play.
Even if no one sees these boxes but the owner, the owner will feel creative and stylish. The person
might even tell someone about their cool new baskets.
The second description gives a nod to functionality but not
before talking about softening the work space. That sounds like a benefit. Who
wouldn’t want to work in a soft, un-harsh work place? They also give the reader
an idea about where to use these things – in the workplace, of course (an area,
by the way, that can be Spartan and unappealing). Functionality comes into
play. This is a benefit, but not something that could stand on its own. It’s
better to add the emotional adjective casual and sell the “softening” idea.
The third description introduces the words “cleverly designed.”
The adjective clever could certainly be transferred to the user/buyer. A buyer
might subconsciously say, “If I buy these things, I’m clever, too. The way I
create my office or closet is clever. I have an eye for these sorts of clever
products.” The description writer wants to associate a positive and smart
adjective with the products and does a good job.
These descriptions are short. They are to the point. Some
specs follow, but the emotionally connective prose comes first. That’s
important. You should be doing the same things with your eBay listings. Use
these descriptions as models, and check out the descriptions in the other mail
The writers of these catalogs are the professionals. They
get paid big bucks to create images and emotional connections. It may seem
simple and pedestrian at first glance, but there’s a real art to it. It’s not
difficult, but you have to pay attention to the emotions you want to convey and
choose the best words for the task.
Phil Dunn is a marketing consultant and co-author of The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay
Marketing (McGraw-Hill, 2005). His eBay blog, http://ebay-marketing.blogspot.com
offers tips, tricks and strategies that help people
generate eBay sales now