ReadabilityIf you’re creating marketing material then you really need to get the message targeted – and most marketers know about that.  They do lots of research into what attracts their ideal client’s attention.  However, few marketers know HOW people process information – and there lies a massive sink hole!

Combining what people read with how they read will improve the pull of all your marketing material.  So what do you need to know?

  • People handle different types of flyer in different ways.  So if you give them an A4 single sheet they’ll read it differently to the same A4 sheet folded into a trifold.  If it’s on card they’ll look at it differently to a paper document – you need to watch how people handle different flyers; where they’re looking most is where your key message needs to go.
  • The core message needs to be focused on what your reader wants – but it also needs to be in the place their eyes go first.  The first thing they read needs to be a compelling headline that encourages people to want to find out more – and it needs to be in the right place.  If you understand where this is you’ll have a much better return on your marketing investment.
  • When it comes to the copy part of the document – remember that nobody HAS to read your material.  If you make it look hard going, they’ll simply file it in the bin!  Long paragraphs put people off – they like ‘easy’ short paragraphs, with lots of white space.  The same applies to sentences – keep them short and to the point, when you get to an ‘and’ or ‘but’ see if you can break the sentence into two shorter ones.  This will encourage your reader to keep going.
  • Write at basic English level – don’t use your marketing copy to show off your command of the English language (or any other language, come to that).  Stick to simple language, words in common usage – the KISS technique – Keep It Simple and Short.  If people don’t understand they stop reading.  People with a larger vocabulary won’t notice that there aren’t any long words – and the secret is to make it all effortless to take on board.
  • There’s a great deal of controversy about the number of spaces that are needed after a full stop.  There’s an argument that this was an invention created when typewriters had comparative spacing.  However, there’s more to it than that.  While you may not consciously register how big the space is that slightly bigger space creates a ‘brain break’ and allows the reader to digest the previous thought before moving on.  It really has got nothing to do with typewriters!
  • People like lists!  We are usually more willing to read a list than a paragraph so, where possible, break up your paragraph into a bulleted list – people will read more of your message.

These are just a few things that will improve your marketing messages’ readability – and they are things your competitors almost certainly don’t know!