We’re all busy! Even in a world of sophisticated supposedly “time saving” gadgets…it seems we all run out of what I believe is our most precious asset—time.
I decided to begin this week’s post talking about time because your prospects don’t have a lot of it. You can bet that with the time they do have…they aren’t necessarily using it to take in all of the marketing messages they get bombarded with daily.
Instead, your prospects are trying to “filter out” your marketing messages. They intentionally try to ignore or delete them altogether—think about your own situation.
Keeping this in mind, it is still your job as a business owner, marketer, salesman, or copywriter, to get and keep their attention. One way to do this is to make your marketing messages easy to read.
Ways to Make Your Marketing Messages Easier to Read
Below are some common reasons why your prospects may not be reading your marketing messages. Following each are some basic guidelines to help you reduce distraction or friction…ultimately encouraging your prospects to read your messages, rather than ignoring them.
Reason #1: Busy Layout with Too Many Distractions
Use a simple layout; if at first glance your page and the copy look overwhelming, your prospects will naturally be turned off and won’t look forward to reading your message.
If you present messages in a simple, clean, easy-to-read layout—you’ll increase the chances your prospects will read what you have to say.
Here’s a basic layout order that organizes the elements of a message in easy to read way.
This layout has performed well in many online tests.
Reason #2: Not Using Headlines and Subheadlines to Capture Attention
You should always have a headline, front and center, in large bold text. This is your attention-getting element where you have an opportunity to encourage your prospects to read your message.
Using subheadlines are a great way to help break up large blocks of text throughout your message.
Additionally, subheadlines can make your copy scannable for readers and help draw their eyes throughout your page—especially if they are used every few paragraphs. They are also a way to let your prospects know what you’re going to discuss in the following paragraphs.
Reason #3: Using Irrelevant Stock Images
Some marketers feel compelled to place some sort of image on a page. It is always best to use a relevant image that is indicative of your message. Don’t use a stock image of people just to fill space; otherwise, it just becomes a distraction.
(it’s almost better to use no image if it’s not the right image)
Reason #4: Not Using Short Paragraphs with Whitespace
It’s a good rule of thumb to use short paragraphs. No more than three to four sentences. Short paragraphs give the impression that the information is uncluttered and make your message easier to read.
Reason #5: Not Organizing Features and Benefits in Bulleted Lists
Use bulleted lists to present your features and benefits. Online marketing tests have shown that it is common for readers’ eyes to be drawn to bulleted lists and read them even if they don’t read the rest of the copy.
Bulleted lists make your features and benefits stand out and present themselves in a more organized format that is more pleasant to read.
Reason #6: Using Small, Light-Colored Font
Make sure to use a font that is large enough to easily read. Too small a font, especially for an older audience, may be too difficult to read. Here’s a good article that gives advice on how to find proper font size.
While the recommended font used to be at least 12px, it seems with the popularity of mobile devices, that recommendation has been bumped up to 16px.
Stay away from using a gray colored font for a trendy look. It may look good, but here again it is too difficult to read. In my opinion, black is best.
Reason #7: Using Reverse Type Design for a Dramatic Effect
(this is not commonly used, but I do still see it…I always advise against it)
Reverse type, using a light colored font/text on a dark background, is a favorite design to create a dramatic effect.
Stay away from doing this, especially if your target market falls into the 40 years and up age group. It is simply too difficult to read—your prospects will NOT stick around to try and figure out what you have to say!
Remember that the above are only basic guidelines. It’s always best to test different elements to see which will convert the most for your audience. If you are unsure, in my opinion, it is always better to stay simple and clear with your messages. If you have too much going on, you can confuse your prospects—in turn, they will abandon your message and you lose!