I often talk with marketers who spend hours and hours trying to perfect their online copy.
Many forget the most important thing.
Doesn’t matter how great your copy is – whether it’s your web copy or an email, if people don’t read it, all is lost.
And trust me on this, people won’t read your copy if it looks “hard” to read.
I see this mistake being made over and over. How you present your copy is critical.
When I look at online sales copy, it only takes me a few seconds to know if it poorly presented. By poorly presented, I mean it’s not reader-friendly.
The first reality you must accept as a marketer is that your prospects arrive at your website or open your email with their fingers on their mouses – ready to click away at the first sign that you are asking them to “work” at reading your copy.
It’s critical you understand this fundamental fact about the nature of people’s attention online or you will be giving away sales.
Here’s the real tragedy: Many marketers achieve a remarkable feat by even getting the prospect to their copy in the first place only to drop the ball.
For some reason, they seem to think the heavy lifting is over the minute a prospect lands on their home page or clicks open their email.
No way. Selling to today’s savvy, educated, impatient and jaded prospect is ALL heavy lifting.
The last thing you want is to give the sale away because you didn’t make it easy for your prospect to read your copy.
So what should you do? Well, a good model to follow are newspapers and magazines.
They use headlines and sub-heads to attract attention and they rarely have more than 8-10 words on a line. Why? Because it’s easy for the reader to skim.
When a copywriter creates copy he/she uses what is referred to as a “double-readership” path.
Simply put, that means the style and formatting is aimed at two types of readers.
Those who want to read ALL the information at once. And then, the skimmers – readers who want to glance at the main points to get the overall message. Then, if they choose, they can go back and read the more detailed information.
And here’s another thing newspapers and magazines do – they mostly use black type, one font style on a white background.
Web designers don’t like to hear this. They love to combine different fonts, colours and coloured backgrounds.
When you use this “dog’s breakfast” approach, you might as well include the phone number of a competitor because that’s where the reader will be headed – with one, quick click.
The objective is message clarity.
I’m sure many of you have been in a presentation where you could not hear the speaker properly due to a poor set up. What do you do? You tune out, right?
Same with written communication. When you fly in the face of convention – what people have been used to all their lives – you are spending money you likely won’t get back.
If you want people to read your stuff, you have to make it easy for them to do so.
Go look at your web pages and emails. Try to look through your prospects’ eyes. Are you making it easy for them to “get you”?
And just a note, this article is focused on appearance. If you don’t have a compelling message, there isn’t ANY formatting that will win the day.
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