First, you need to discover why readability is so damn important. And the best way I can explain that to you is in a story…
Two days ago, I bought a newspaper. I’m not buying newspapers normally, in fact, this was the first time.
But I had some free time, and the newspaper looked really interesting. So, I bought it.
But when I was flipping through the pages it blew my fuse. The whole newspaper was a big chunk of text that was absolutely unreadable.
I didn’t even know where to start reading. It was so confusing that I ended up throwing it into the trash can. Faster than you ever thought possible.
And that’s the problem with most sales messages as well.
Most so-called ‘copywriters’ just create a huge chunk of text, using terms nobody understands, and they’re talking just about themselves.
This is like refueling your car with water, and hoping that it will break its speed limits…
That’s why most sales messages are total trash. Because their readability is ZERO!
And that’s also why today I’m going to show you “Seven Killer Readability Tactics That Will Make Your Sales Message Communicating Like Crazy!”
You won’t believe your own eyes when you’ll see how readable your sales message will be!
So, let’s jump in…
1. Drop Cap
Always use a drop cap when you are starting your sales message.
A drop cap is an oversized (often bold and ornamental) first letter of the first sentence of your body copy…
Generally, it drops down two or more lines into the opening text of your body copy.
Tests conducted by Ted Nicholas have proven that starting your body copy with a drop cap increases your readership because it draws readers’ eyes to it, thereby leading them to start reading the body copy instead of clicking away.
David Ogilvy has written, “The drop cap increases the readership of your body copy by 13%.”
Think about it, JUST ONE LETTER! Always use a drop cap…if you won’t you are only cheating yourself. If you will, your readability will go to a whole new level!
2. Graphic Enhancement
Readership is never guaranteed. You need to use every strategy available to ensure all kinds of readers will delve into your copy.
In terms of extremes, you have the analytical reader who will read every word of your copy, no matter its length.
Opposite of him, you have the impulsive reader who wants the quickest shortcut to your message.
The design of your copy needs to accommodate both types of readers, and everyone in between.
However, in today’s gotta-have-it-now mentality, most people skim long copies and rapidly decide whether or not to read it in detail.
To compensate for this, you have three options:
- Shorten your copy, which is the path of least resistance but not the path of best effectiveness. No copywriter in his right mind would do this to increase readability.
- Or grab your reader’s attention by making the sales copy more attractive, so that you can deliver the best possible sales presentation to every type of reader. This is clearly the better option.
- Use selective emphasis. Not every word of your copy has the same level of importance, so you must draw the reader’s eye to critical areas, such as a benefits list, call-to-action, or contact information.
Here Are 5 Graphic Enhancement Essentials You Should Use:
- Boldfacing – Use bold type to emphasize subheadings, important words, phrases, dates, and other segments of important copy. Bold type instantly draws attention to these important points and allows your reader to skim the critical content.
- Borders – Borders draw attention to important points such as headlines, testimonials, bullet points, etc. Consider using borders around guarantees to make them even stronger, or around testimonials to immediately reinforce the sales argument.
- CAPITALIZATION – se capitalization to set off a single (or two or three) word(s) which need extra emphasis. Use sparingly, since oftentimes it’s perceived as “shouting.”
- Color – Blues and softer colors relax us, reds and hotter colors energize us. Use strong colors to grab attention and create urgency (red is the best.) But be crafeul to not overuse it.
- Highlighting – This adds a touch of realism and color. Use highlights to emphasize key copy. Be careful not to overuse.
Mastering transition phrases is one of the easiest ways to take your copywriting to the next level.
Best of all, they’re dead-simple to use. Plug them into the beginning or end of your sentences and VIOLA, copy improved.
Making the copy communicating as best as you can do it, is one of the most necessary things you have to do.
Nobody likes to read choppy sentences that have 40 words each and are unpronounceable.
These transitions will make your copy flow smooth, readable, and as result, it will create much better results.
So, here we go:
Here are some transitions that will make your copy flow buttery-smooth and skyrocket your readability:
- Here’s why…
- Here is why:
- That’s why…
- The point:
- The point is that
- Personally, …
- That said, …
- Believe it or not, …
- If we’re being honest, …
After you will use these transitions, you will see how much readable your sales message is…
When you use colloquialisms, you draw your reader closer because you appear more familiar, more friendly, more up close and personal instead of distant and at arm’s length.
Use colloquialisms that are understandable to most people who have a reasonable familiarity with the English language. And it increases readability more than you ever thought possible.
Some colloquialisms that have found their way into mainstream online marketing communications include:
slam dunk….. a sure thing
laid-back….. calm, relaxed
make waves….. cause trouble
bent out of shape….. become upset
broke….. having little or no money
come up for air….. take a break
twenty grand….. $20,000 (fifty grand for $50,0000,etc.)
keep your cool….. remain calm
blown away….. greatly impressed, amazed
megabucks….. a lot of money
blow a fuse….. lose your temper
has deep pockets….. has a good source of money
get a kick out of….. enjoy
Avoid using colloquialisms that might cause misunderstandings.
Because the Internet is international, some colloquialisms such as “table a proposal” (postpone the discussion) or “the presentation bombed” (the presentation was a complete failure), which are generally known to most Americans, may mean something completely different to non-Americans. Readability matters, but these colloquialisms would destroy it.
You should also avoid using regional or locally based colloquialisms and slang, as they are misunderstood by Americans from other parts of the country as well as non-Americans.
Remember: Confused prospect ALWAYS Says “No!”
5. Write You-Oriented Copy
In his pamphlet, “Tips to Put Power in Your Business Writing,” consultant Chuck Custer advises executives to think about their readers when they write a business letter or memo.
“Start writing to people,” says Custer. “It’s okay that you don’t know your reader!
Picture someone you do know who’s like your reader. Then write to him.” Think of the reader.
Ask yourself: Will the reader understand what I have written?
Does he know the special terminology I have used?
Does my copy tell him something important or new or useful? If I were the reader, would this message persuade me to act?
One technique to help you write for the reader is to address the reader directly as “you” in the copy, just as I am writing to you in this book. Copywriters call this the “you-orientation.”
This is the thing that makes your sales copy readable as hell and the only reason why the reader will continue reading the message.
Check your swipe file, and you’ll see that 90 percent of the sales copies contain the word “you” in the body copy.
So use the word “you” whenever you can when you’re writing sale messages or emails, ads, etc.
This works everywhere. You see many sales messages are oriented on the people that are sending them.
It’s always “I did this, I achieved that, I am here. ” Who gives a damn?
Nobody cares. They care about themselves. And when you’re writing to them, they expect you’ll be talking about them and not about yourself.
This is more important than you think. I guarantee you that if you just skip this step, and your sales message will be oriented on you…you just killed half of the conversions.
Use this step because it’s the difference between a sales copy that’s working and the one that’s flushed into the toilet.
6. Use Short Sentences
Short sentences are easier to read than long sentences. All professional writers— newspaper reporters, publicists, magazine writers, copywriters—are taught to write in crisp, short, snappy sentences.
Long sentences tire and puzzle your readers.
By the time they have gotten to the end of a lengthy sentence, they don’t remember what was at the beginning. D. H. Menzel, coauthor of Writing a Technical Paper, conducted a survey to find the best length for sentences in technical papers.
He found that sentences became difficult to understand beyond a length of about 34 words. And the consumer has far less patience with wordiness and run-on sentences than does the scientist studying an important report.
Rudolf Flesch, best known for his books Why Johnny Can’t Read and The Art of Plain Talk, says the best average sentence length for business writing is 14 to 16 words.
Twenty to 25 words is passable, he adds, but above 40 words, the writing becomes unreadable.
Because copywriters and marketers place a premium on clarity, their sentences are even shorter than Flesch’s recommended 14 to 16-word average. This length creates sales copy with great readability.
And you should squeeze into this range as well. You can use online average sentence length calculators that will help you with this.
Or if you’re old school, you can do it manually, but you’d be only losing time.
7. Use One-Sentence Paragraphs
One-sentence paragraphs are an extremely effective way to skyrocket your readability…
Consider this example:
“This book will make you huge profits. It has 654 pages. It is written in pure English creating an awesome experience.”
“This book will make you huge profits.
It has 654 pages.
It is written in pure English creating an awesome experience.”
Which is more readable?
I would bet my chair, dog, and left kidney that the second one.