5 Ways to Get Your Copy Read by the 'Scanner'
When I landed my first job as a catalog writer,I believed every word I wrote would be read. After all, as an English literature major, hadn't I spent hours dissecting poems, plays and essays word-by-word?
Not so with marketing messages! Customers are busy and buried in ads. You're fortunate to snag a few seconds of their time as they scan your subject line or glance at your outer envelope.
That's why it's important to write (and approve) copy/content with the scanner in mind. No matter which channel you're writing for — no matter how long or short the copy — your copy is much more likely to get scanned than read word-for-word.
That's why you should try these scanner-friendly tips:
1. Heat It Up With Hot Spots
How do you capture a scanner's interest? It's all in how you use hot spots. Hot spots are where your potential reader's eye goes first. Some are innate — natural landing places such as headlines where the eye has been trained to go. Others are created purposely to attract attention such a bursts and sidebars. Wherever the eye goes, you want to use these hot spots to present important information, including product benefits and such offer elements as deadlines and discounts.
As a catalog writer, I quickly learned the scanner's eye went from the product photo to the price, then to the product headline and then, MAYBE, to my spellbinding product copy.
2. First and Last Are Both Big Winners
Once the eye settles in a hot spot (e.g., upper-left corner, violator, button, headline, first sentence in a paragraph, etc.), it looks at the first word first. That's why direct response writers frequently use active verbs (order, send, buy, increase, subscribe, join, cut, slash, etc.) as starters. They jumpstart momentum and keep the eye moving.