When designing any marketing communication, it’s important to stay on the lookout for tips to help with the design, the list, the offer, and the CTA. However, tips to improve readability can make a big difference, too.
If people can’t read the message easily or if you have inadvertently created stumbling blocks that limit their ability to absorb it, your response could be diminished. Improve the readability of your message and you will improve your response rates, conversions, and sales.
Let’s look at five tips for improving readability.
1. Be specific.
People are drawn to details. Pat Friesen, author of The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook, gives the following examples:
- “Save money.”
- “Save hundreds of dollars.”
- “Save an average of $478.22 per year.”
“’Save money’ is a powerful draw, but ‘save hundreds of dollars’ is more compelling,” she says. “Even better is ‘Save an average of $478.22 per year.’ We see this approach a lot in the auto industry.”
2. Be relevant.
People’s eyes are drawn to messaging that talks about things that matter to them. For example, your audience has children about to graduate from high school. You can add, “Save money to put your child through college.”
“Pair that life stage incentive with the specific detail of saving $478.22 per year and it makes a strong statement,” Friesen explains.
3. Add images.
Even the most specific, relevant copy can fall on deaf ears without an image to accompany it. For example, you might create a banner ad that says, “Download your free retirement guide” that goes totally unnoticed, even if it’s hitting your ideal target audience. Add an image of the cover, however, and suddenly the ad gets noticed.
Images in email newsletters and other digital media can look flat, so try adding drop shadows for dimension and depth.
4. Use numerals when possible.
When discussing numbers in running text, use numerals instead of spelling them out. This makes those details pop. Readers’ eyes will be drawn to numerals right away, even in the middle of a paragraph.
Try it! Which one of these stands out most to you?
- 10 thousand
- Ten thousand
5. Avoid using all caps.
For the most part, the human eye has difficulty distinguishing between words and letters in all caps. Avoid using all caps except in rare instances.
If you must use all caps, use smart font choices to make the words more readable. “A general rule of thumb is that serif fonts are easier to read in print,” notes Patrick Fultz, president and chief creative officer of DM Creative Group (Woodstock, VT). “But on the Internet, serif can fall apart. The thicks and thins break up. Traditionally, sans serif font reads better online.”
Want more ideas for great design and type that make your message stand out? Give us a call!
Taken from the webinar “Design & Copy: Little Things You Don’t Want to Overlook (2016 DMDay Virtual Conference Session)” hosted by “Direct Marketing News.”