Numbers (Arabic numerals such as 2, 15 and 783) are powerful fuel for copy and content writers. They can grab a scanner's attention; make your case faster with analytical-types drawn to numbers; and support benefit statements with credible detail.
Here are 14 quick tips for how to use numbers as a marketing tool. (Note: These tips probably don't follow the AP Stylebook or your company's style manual. Remember, they are from a marketer and for marketers.
1. Arabic numerals (e.g., 7, 10, 423) are easier and faster to scan than numbers written as words (seven, ten, four hundred twenty-three). Use them.
2. Numbers take up less space than words that reflect the same values. This is important when you're writing for social media and counting characters in subject lines. Examples:
7 vs. seven
10 vs. ten
423 vs. four hundred twenty-three
3. Monetary values shown in numbers with a dollar signs ($) are a faster read than those written in words. Here's an example from New York Life Insurance Company's homepage:
Payments to beneficiaries year-to-date: $1,578, 087,631
Payments to beneficiaries year-to-date: One billion, five hundred and seventy-eight million, eighty-seven thousand, six hundred and thirty-one dollars
Even $1 is easier to read and faster to process than one dollar.
4. Start sentences with numbers written as words: Two numbers next to each other are difficult to read which is why four 3-year-olds is easier to read than 4 3-year-olds. (A scanner might read the latter as 43-year-olds.)
5. Uneven numbers are more credible than even numbers that appear to be rounded off: 21 vs. 20. Consider the credibility of a nonprofit asking for a donation of $10.00 vs. $11.73 or $100.00 vs. $97.73 and supporting the specificity of the ask with detail. Test it and see what happens.
6. Percentages are easier and faster to read when shown with % vs. the word percent: 51% vs. 51 percent. (I know, I know. This drives anyone with a journalism degree crazy.)