Some important measures for all business literature are as follows:
When reading a letter, people look at who it is to, who it is from, then any PS and finally the letter itself. A PS attracts seven times the readership of body copy, it is almost invariably read, use it wisely!
Letters should not run onto a second page unless this is vital to your cause.
Adding a ‘please continue’ increases the response over a ‘continue’.
Reading patterns follow a ‘lazy Z’ – plan your layout accordingly, logos for example are best placed out of the way in the lower right quadrant.
Use short words and short sentences. Twenty words for sentence length (maximum), six sentences per paragraph and only one idea per paragraph, are good guidelines.
If you write towards two groups you split your impact in two – so avoid it!
Go through your copy and see how many ‘ands’ and ‘whichs’, you can cross out – then check if it reads OK – it most probably will!
Only manufacturers read their own adverts. They get bored and change them – this is poor strategy, check if your viewing public are bored first, they might not be.
Don’t write about features of your proposal, write about its benefits.
In spite of Professional Imagemaker’s style guide calling for fully written numbers up to ten, do not use this rule in headlines and advertising – numerals attract more attention.
A reader is more likely to read all five bullets if the number is pre-disclosed – eg, ‘here are 5 reasons to use OMO’.
Beware of bullets or headlines which eliminate candidates. ‘Do you enjoy playing the flute?’ as a headline disqualifies all non-flute players and all people who don’t enjoy it. It depends on what you are selling – ‘Would you like us to photograph your baby?’ disqualifies all childless people, ‘Would you like us to take your photographs?’ brings in pet owners and parents! Think about it!
Headlines should be placed below illustrations. Illustrations are looked at first and then it is an uphill struggle to move the eye upwards again, most people continue downwards from the illustration.
If you place an advert in Yellow Pages, surround it with a dashed box. This makes it look like a coupon and coupons always attract more readership.
The following words have a reputation as attracting interest when used in an advertisement:Now
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