From time to time, I get into discussions regarding the effectiveness of using long sales copy.
This is not an article on why long sales copy ALWAYS trumps short copy when presented to a qualified prospect. Take my word for it. It does.
Some qualified prospects prefer options. And smart marketers provide them.
Say hello to the double readership path.
You’ve probably seen a double readership path in action before in long direct mail or web sales letters.
Study the formatting and you’ll see long copy is formatted so “skimmers + scanners” can skim the page to get the message while analytical readers can dive in and absorb ALL the details.
Double readership paths are essential to appealing to both analytical thinkers/readers and scanners at the same time.
This allows you to capture the attention of both kinds of readers by using simple formatting tools like bolding, italicizing, highlighting, underlining, using all UPPER CASE fonts and incorporating bullet points.
Many business owners struggle to write copy that even appeals to their prospect’s needs. Worse yet, they’re doing it poorly. Their sales letters and web pages are filled with giant blocks of tiny text.
Not a headline, subhead or bullet in sight.
They’re basically telling scanners and skimmers to click away. Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Thanks for stopping by.
GUAR.AN.TEED they are throwing away a ton of business.
Some marketers get it.
They keep sentences short. Conversational. They use meaningful headlines and subheads. And they know how to write benefits-oriented bullets.
And bless their little copywriting souls…some go a step further and use formatting tricks like highlights, underlines and strategic bolding to increase scanibility.
But here’s the problem.
They use too many. A lot of the time the copy ends up looking like a dog’s breakfast.
There are so many highlights, fonts and boxes. it’s often hard to know what to read. Random words get bolded, italicized or underlined for no particular reason, while critical info—like benefits and C2As—are buried.
It’s the selling strategy that packs selling power into the double readership path.
Walk along with me a little bit and I’ll explain…
Here’s the key to making the double readership path work… You have to highlight only information that’s most important to your target market—or to making the sale.
And these pieces have to read well on their own so that, even if all your reader does is read the headlines, subheads, bolds, underlines and highlights, she gets a complete story.
And, if you’ve done it right, your ideal client should feel compelled to read the rest of the copy too.
An effective and likely the most common double readership path formatting technique is bolding vital text. It’s easier for a scanner to glance down the page, get the essence of your offer and move on to make a QUICK but informed purchasing decision.
You’ll often see italicized words to emphasize key points as well. Using italics is another way to grab the attention of readers.
Highlighting or changing font colour is a popular technique to capture attention and really make offers or other vital information stand out.
Underlining can emphasize your point as well. But be sure to use underlining techniques sparingly in your online copy. Underlined text can signify a hyperlink in online copy and can confuse your readers.
USING CAPITAL LETTERS IS ANOTHER WAY TO GET ATTENTION. Remember that this can also be misconstrued as “yelling.” So, be careful.
Finally using bulleted lists can make your main points and benefits really stand out. Studies show readers are more responsive to odd numbered bullet points than even numbered bullet points.
Take a moment to review your marketing materials today.