If you want prospects to read your marketing materials…

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

… make them easy to read.

Whether you’re writing a real estate prospecting letter, an email, a newsletter, a postcard, or a web page, the second rule is “Make it easy to read.”

(Remember, the first rule is to never, ever, ever begin your message with “I.”)

It won’t matter if your words are brilliant – if you make them difficult to read, people will never get your message because they simply won’t read what you wrote.

How can you make it easy to read your messages?

First, except for small accents, always use black type on a white or light background. Marketers who spend millions studying such things say that white on black or white on any color is too hard on the eyes. Such copy is more often abandoned than read.

OK - clarification. I said black type. That's what marketing studies recommend. However, the issue isn't really the color of the type - it's the contrast between the type and the background that makes for easy reading.

Any dark color that provides sufficient contrast with the background should be fine.

Light colors, like yellow or pale blue, are difficult to read even on a white background. This is true in print as well. A used clothing store in our community has a big sign with each word in a different color. Going by in the car, the yellow word pretty much disappears.

There has also been a trend in recent years toward gray type on a light-colored background. Who thought up THAT terrible idea? I had a client whose web gurus talked him into it, and I couldn’t talk him out of it. He knew it was difficult to read, but the “experts” said…

(So much for experts - when in doubt, use your own common sense.)

eyestrain headacheNext, use a font size that can be read without straining.

You might get out a magnifying glass to look up a word in a dictionary if you really want to know its meaning, but nobody is going to do that to read a sales letter.

At the same time, type that is too large tends to be tiresome and annoying – and a message written in all caps looks like angry shouting.

Strike a good balance when it comes to font size.

How about the font itself?

Those who study such things say sans serif is easier than serif to read on line, and I tend to agree. In fact, I’ve begun to prefer it in print as well.

Cursive fonts and fanciful fonts such as Comic sans or Chiller might be fine for a short accent – but they’re difficult to read when used in a whole paragraph. Go for clarity and easy readability.

Write short sentences and short paragraphs, and leave white space between paragraphs.

Only a person determined to see what you have to say will read a page of copy that’s allthe gray wall jammed together into a “gray wall.”

And prospects aren’t determined to read what you wrote. In fact, since people are bombarded with so many messages, most of us like a good reason to disregard as many messages as possible. 

For visual interest and attractiveness, it’s a good idea to vary the length of your paragraphs, switching from one line to 2 or 3 with a few paragraphs of 4 to 6 lines mixed in.

Once upon a time I had acquaintances who wrote me long, rambling emails with no paragraph breaks. In fact, I was lucky when they used commas or periods. After a while I started deleting those messages without trying to read them.

Highlight the main points for easy scanning.

Bold type, underlines, subheads, and bullet points do a great job of breaking up a page and making it easy to scan. However, don’t over-use any of those functions. Graphics can also help break up the page.

And finally, use common words.

Never write to impress with your vocabulary. If a short word will communicate your meaning just as well as a long one, use the short word.

The rule of thumb used to be to write to a 7th grade reading level. Then last year someone told me that had dropped to 6th grade.

Keep in mind that your clients who hold Masters Degrees in English will be able to comprehend any level. Your clients who slept through their English classes will only comprehend if you write to a lower level.

Don’t ever make a client feel stupid for not knowing what your words mean.

Write to communicate.

The original of this post appeared at https://copybymarte.com/if-you-want-prospects-to-read-your-marketing-materials/

Man with a headache courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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  1. Barbara Todaro 06/20/2019 03:52 AM
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Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Wayne Martin Thanks - and I hope you enjoy your day as well.

Margaret Goss I can't force myself to read them, so perhaps I miss some good advice along the way. But oh well.

Richie Alan Naggar That is so true. They forget that it is all about the customer or prospect - not about them.

Jun 20, 2019 01:29 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sheila Anderson I agree. There was an example in my email just this morning - a font so small that I deleted the message without even trying to read it. "Fine print" is for hiding things, not for communicating.

Thanks faye schubert - I appreciate that.

 

Jun 20, 2019 01:31 PM #27
Rainer
279,851
Doyle Lee Austin Davison Iv
Surf City Realty 714-968-6767 - Huntington Beach, CA
28+ years serving Investors Banks Buyers-sellers

We are always looking for better ways to entertain readers and produce results. As I get older, bolder easier to read fonts are key. ..........

Jun 20, 2019 01:33 PM #28
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Leanne Smith You are correct. However, no one will know if your content is good or bad if the layout causes them to delete it without reading.

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® Toward that end, I probably err on the side of "too short" paragraphs.

 

Jun 20, 2019 01:34 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Nina Hollander I do the same, even if it is information I might find useful. If I feel like I'm wading through mud to get there, I choose not to get there.

Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi Aside from making the copy easy to read, I would think that keeping the messages concise and always sending something worth reading would keep people opening your email or letters. Many recommend story telling, and I do believe that works. Make people react to your name by thinking "Oh, this is going to be good. I need to read this."

If people expect a sales message, they might just hit delete - or the round file for print mail.

Jun 20, 2019 01:41 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Joan Cox There are times when starting with I is appropriate. For instance, when someone has asked your opinion, or when you're offering your opinion on a post such as this one. And of course, it's always acceptable to begin a message to someone special with "I love you."

Dario Ferreira You may be right about that. They need to realize that not all eyes are as young or as sharp as theirs. Also, some are trying to cram too many words in too little space. It's better to remove some of the words.

Jun 20, 2019 01:44 PM #31
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy Streib Nor do I. If it's going to be difficult to keep my place in the paragraph, or if the font is too small, I just skip it. I also agree about the purple. I've added a clarification above - not so much about the color as the contrast.

Michael Jacobs Yes. Curb appeal and staging apply to written words as well as houses.

 

Jun 20, 2019 01:47 PM #32
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Doyle Lee Austin Davison Iv I have also come to appreciate "bold." It's that contrast issue again. I also appreciate plain fonts.

Jun 20, 2019 01:48 PM #33
Ambassador
3,939,831
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

Wow, there is a tone of good advice in this post, and it certainly deserved the gold star that it received. Bookmarked...I suspect reading more than once will help anchor this important message and help me avoid problems.

Jeff

Jun 20, 2019 08:24 PM #34
Rainmaker
534,698
Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes--
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

And finally, make it pretty so the receiver feels bad if they toss it in the trash.  My postcards are on frigs all over my farm because I use a picture of their lake on the front.  They just can't throw it away... and my name and number are there too.

Jun 21, 2019 05:27 AM #35
Rainer
473,014
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Great post. Agree with all elements to writing great copy, however, so many websites IMO are being created by DIY's because their web pages fail to attract and retain consumer's attention with commonsense elements in your post. 

Jun 21, 2019 07:25 AM #36
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Jeff Dowler, CRS - I expect you already knew all of this.

Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes-- Yes, if you're going to use postcards, pretty is a benefit. Sometimes cute or funny works, too.

Kimo Jarrett I don't know. Sometimes I think the "experts" try to be too sophisticated and thus lose people.

Jun 21, 2019 09:20 AM #37
Ambassador
2,961,621
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

What a great point you make...

Keep in mind that your clients who hold Masters Degrees in English will be able to comprehend any level. Your clients who slept through their English classes will only comprehend if you write to a lower level.

Jun 21, 2019 11:34 AM #38
Rainer
297,135
AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

You nailed, seems to be so common sense but I got some material here I could tell you that agent could use some of your ideas... The only  thing that could cross my mind is "there is room for improvement" really cannot remember the message wrote... Thank you for sharing..

Jun 21, 2019 11:50 AM #39
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland I think some people get carried away with wanting to impress - and they forget that there are would-be clients who won't understand what they wrote. They'll go elsewhere because nobody wants to be made to feel dumb.

Andrea.B Ferreira 954-303-8289 CRS It really is all just common sense.

Jun 21, 2019 01:38 PM #40
Rainmaker
1,518,048
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

great points Marte.

Jun 22, 2019 11:53 AM #41
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Lyn Sims It's such a simple thing, and yet some people just don't get it.

Jun 22, 2019 12:49 PM #42
Rainmaker
1,822,677
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

All very good points ! I just can’t read small font sizes anymore!!!

Jun 23, 2019 05:44 AM #43
Rainmaker
1,523,990
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Michael J. Perry I can't either, and I won't try unless I have no choice.

Jun 23, 2019 02:11 PM #44
Rainer
508,109
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Great article!

Highlight the main points for easy scanning.

Bold type, underlines, subheads, and bullet points do a great job of breaking up a page and making it easy to scan. However, don’t over-use any of those functions. Graphics can also help break up the page.

Jun 24, 2019 04:06 AM #45
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