… 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.)
Next, 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 all 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