Sometimes copy has nothing to do with the words you write

August 29, 2012 | By | Reply More

When you walk into a classy restaurant you usually notice one thing before anything else…

Sometimes, in fact, you don’t even realise you’ve registered it: it’s something that happens on a subconscious level.

But the fact is, this seemingly minor detail can have a huge effect on your overall experience.

I’m talking about a sense of visual cleanliness. I’m talking about the crispness of your surroundings. I’m talking about those times when the place just LOOKS inviting.

With direct-response copywriting you mostly concentrate – and quite rightly so – on the words you use. It is what you write, after all, that will ultimately make the sale.

But as well as considering the intellectual content of your copy, you should also consider the VISUAL CONTEXT of how you present that copy.

That might sound a bit flowery, I admit. But really, all I’m talking about is how your words appear on the page.

You see, when it comes to presenting sales letters, there are three key things that you should always remember…

1. Never forget the wise words of this advertising legend

First and foremost, David Ogilvy’s dictum still stands:

You should NEVER ‘reverse out’ the main body of your copy.

Even if white text on a black background looks ‘cool’… just don’t do it.

Years and years of testing has proved this. And even then, that didn’t stop ME from going ahead and testing it anyway. What did I find? Don’t reverse out your text! Black (or a strong , bold colour) on white always wins.

Yes, you’ll see people ignoring this. You’ll see people using all sorts of crazy designs and reversing text out left, right and centre. And sure, they might make sales. But you can be just as sure they’re not making as many as they could if they weren’t reversing out!

2. Surround your copy with white space

When you realise that a white background is the best approach, the next thing to realise is that the more of that white background the reader can see, the easier it will be for them to read.

Yup, when it comes to long copy… white space is incredibly important.

If you’ve got huge blocks of black text everywhere, a reader is going to take one look at the page and think “jeez, that looks like a lot of serious reading, maybe I’ll take a look later…”

And just like that, you’ve lost a reader and a potential customer before they’ve even read a word of your copy.

Instead you should ensure that you use small, bite size paragraphs and clipped sentences that are surrounded by white space and look easy to read.

3. Size matters a lot more than you realise

Finally you should think about size!

I know your partner keeps telling you size doesn’t matter, right?

But it does. Especially online.

First, any text should be set to a font size that is easily readable. Within reason, the bigger the font, the better. The size of headlines will vary, but your standard body text should be at least 14 points, and more likely 16.

Second, you should make sure that the width of your text is relatively slim.

I see so many online sales letter set to incredibly fat widths. This is a mistake. Ideally, your page text should be set in a table no more than 600 pixels wide. It might seem thin, but it will make it an easier read.

If you’re used to a much wider setting, ease yourself in. Start at 800 and knock off 50 pixels a time until you’ve worked your promo thin!

All of these cosmetic changes might seem small, but they can have a much more dramatic effect on the conversion of your sales copy than you’d realise.

Try adapting your current sales material with what I’ve shared here in mind and I’m sure you’ll soon see some positive results.

Cheers,
Glenn

P.S. To discover even more tried and tested conversion booster techniques that have been proven to increase sales, make sure you get hold of my brand new e-book, Write Better Copy.

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Category: Technicals

About the Author ()

Glenn Fisher is a professional copywriter, founder of AllGoodCopy.com and author of Write Better Copy. He is an expert in long copy sales letters, having written copy that has so far generated more than £10 million in revenue. Born in Grimsby, he now lives in London.

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