Message & Media: The Devil’s in the Details
• A seed of an idea. While this isn't a creative consideration, writers and designers appreciate seeing their work exactly as it is delivered. Ask your writers and designers if they want to be seeded on your email and traditional mailing lists as decoys. Doing this could plant the seed for future new ideas and garner useful feedback.
• Readability rocks! Nobody reads letter copy or website content if it looks crowded and difficult to digest. And readability doesn't only hinge on type size and font. Keep margins wide enough and line length short enough that people perceive the copy as being quick and easy to read. Also, avoid dense paragraphs of more than six lines by breaking long paragraphs in two.
• Pay attention to postage. Postage not only pays for delivery, it's an outer envelope hot spot used for screening mail. Consequently, the appearance of your postage and how it supports the other elements of your outer envelope (corner card, teaser, addressing, personalization) can make a major difference in response. The surprise is, many organizations leave postage decisions up to their vendors instead of their marketing departments.
• Specifics sell. Odd numbers (19,973) are more credible than even (20,000). And specifics (1,795) are almost always more convincing than generalities (many, more than 1,700).
• If vs. When. When I have the choice to start a sentence with one of these two words, "when" wins 99.99 percent of the time. "When" implies immediacy and action, "if" is provisional. Example: If you call us, you receive … vs. When you call us, you receive ...
• People like people. People also like looking at other people. Show images of people in emails, on landing pages, in brochures and ads. You don't have to show the whole person to engage your reader. Just the glimpse of someone's eyes, feet, even a nose draws the reader's interest.