10 Copy and Design Issues You Can't Overlook
Patrick Fultz and I had a virtual standing-room-only crowd for “Design & Copy: Little Things You Don't Want to Overlook” during Direct Marketing Day @ Your Desk on March 10. If you missed it, here are some highlights. (The original 40-minute session is also archived for free on-demand viewing, after a quick registration for the show.)
1. Serif vs. Sans Serif Type
Choosing the right type face may seem like a small thing, but it makes a huge difference in readability and response.
Serif type has thick and thin elements that lead the reader's eye from word to word, sentence to sentence. Because of this, serif typefaces are frequently used for longer body copy, especially in print.
Sans serif type — such as what you are reading now — has one line weight that's easier to read online, as well as reversed out of black or colored background. It's also used for headlines and subheads in print. For more details, see examples from our session and read my column on “The Power of Typography,” featuring more type tips from Patrick.
2. Specificity Sells
Specifics sell and build credibility. The more specific your benefit statement, the more likely it will connect with your reader and establish you as trustworthy and knowledge expert. For example, “save money” is a strong but general benefit. “Save an average of $478.22 each year” describes that savings down to the penny to make a stronger connection with an interested reader.
3. Having Trouble Viewing This Email ...
With over 60 percent of all emails viewed first on a mobile device, preheaders are valuable real estate for email marketers. Don't use them just to provide the solution to “Having trouble viewing this email …” Use your preheader along with your subject and from lines to tease your reader into opening your email. Example:
FROM: MISSION BBQ
SUBJECT: Honor Our Fall—Get A Free Sandwich
PREHEADER: Exclusive invitation—Participate in Wreaths Across America and enjoy a free sandwich
Tip: Also pay attention to other eye magnets such as headlines, subheads, bullets, violators and call-to-action (CTA) buttons.
4. Readability 101
WHEN YOU PUT MORE THAN JUST A FEW WORDS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IT'S DIFFICULT (IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE) TO READ.
5. Features vs. Benefits
Features describe. Benefit sell by answering the question, “What's in it for me?”
Pocket = feature. A pocket designed to hold your iPhone 6S Plus = (big) benefit.
6. To Scroll or Not to Scroll
When you're making an offer to increase email conversions, start promoting it above the fold. Don't assume people will scroll beyond the first view. Tease your offer in a violator or preheader to give people reason to scroll until they find the details. Get the scoop on using violators online and off.
7. Numbers Count
Arabic numerals (e.g., 7, 10, 423) are easier and faster to scan than numbers written as words (seven, ten, four hundred twenty-three). For 13 more quick tips on using numbers more effectively, take a look at, “Who's Got Your Number?“
8. Keep It Simple; Keep It Focused
Don't make your landing page try to do too many things. Help visitors stay focused on the reason they landed here. Patrick shared some excellent examples of how to do this throughout the session.
9. Read More. Learn More. Continued.
Want a CTA that generates more clicks and mail-in responses? Test for the best. If you've been relying on “Read more,” “Learn more” or “Continued” to entice readers to act, do an A/B split test. Test a CTA that offers a benefit such as “Get It Now,” “Download Your FREE Report” or “See It In Action.” Also test the color of your CTA copy or button.
10. Don't Be Dense
It's magical how easy it is to transform long, dense copy into content that's more scannable and readable — without changing a single word. Break paragraphs more than six lines long into two or three shorter paragraphs. Use a second or third color to call-out the all-important CTA. Check out these BEFORE and AFTER examples.
One more thing: A year ago, Patrick and I wrote an article for Target Marketing that provides “13 Tactics to Get Your Marketing Messages Read.” It expands on many of the topics we touched on during our 2016 Direct Marketing Day @ Your Desk session.