If You Try to Say Everything, You Say Nothing

[If You Try to Say Everything, You Say Nothing
October 1st, 2005 • Written by John Gumas
We see it time and time again. Advertisers can’t commit to emphasizing only those selling points that are most critical. They try to say everything. As a result, their main points get diluted, and they end up saying nothing.
Whether it’s a brochure, website, print ad or sales letter, there are some critical benefits or ideas in every marketing vehicle that are more important than others. Maybe you need to highlight a special price or a key benefit to your consumer. But your main messages are probably buried in your copy. We need to unbury them!
Ask yourself, “If someone looked at this and would only remember three things, what would I want them to be?” No cheating””you have to pick no more than three, and be sure to rank them. Now that we know what they are, we have to give them proper prominence.
Avoid these typical mistakes:
– Do not bold the key words. We’ve all seen the ads that have 30% of the copy bolded. It looks amateurish, and the bolding actually makes the copy harder to read.
– Don’t over-underline. The same idea applies to underlining. Underline a word or two and it’s effective. Underline half the sentences and it becomes a blur.

Some strategies to consider

So how do you effectively call attention to your most important messages? Try one or more of these tips:
– Cut the copy. Don’t bury it in more words than necessary.
– Use a subhead to deliver a big punch.
– Use white space to create a “frame” around your important fact.
– Put a postscript (P.S.) on your marketing piece. Studies show a P.S. often has a much higher readership than your body copy.
Don’t assume your audience will be able to sift out the information you consider critical. Make sure you don’t make it even harder for them to find it. Instead, use some of these tips to take their hand and lead them right where they need to be.
Until next month…

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