Before we get into this piece…
A thank you.
Thank you to all those readers who took part in my live webinar last Thursday (30th August).
It was great to chat to you and from the feedback I’ve had, people found it really useful.
If you were unable to attend but you did pre-order the book, you should have received an email from me with the recording.
Plus…you should have received a link to my swipe file document too.
If you still haven’t pre-ordered the book, the webinar bonus is now gone.
If you pre-order BEFORE the official launch on October 1st, you can still claim a copy of the swipe document, where I share three long copy promos with my notes on them.
After October 1st – I won’t be sharing it again.
If you want to claim that extra bonus – as well as securing a copy of the book – just pre-order on Amazon and then forward the order confirmation to me at the usual address and I’ll send you the link to the swipe document.
The book is now back from the printers and is looking very nice.
If you’ve already pre-ordered – as I know many readers have – thank you so much, it’s appreciated and I hope you love it when it arrives.
One other thing, if you’re into awards
I’ve been asked to be a judge at this year’s prestigious DMA Awards in London, which is very nice.
It’s something I’ve never done before, but looking forward to it a lot.
I’m judging the ‘Best Use of Email’ category and you can enter yourself.
I’m looking for stuff that makes me double take and then nod in appreciation.
If you’ve written something for email that you think might do that…
OK. I think that’s all the news. Let’s get into this week’s email proper…
I’ve got a blank space, baby
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 on the words you use – and quite rightly so.
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…
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 proven 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.
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.
Size matters a lot more than you think
Finally you should think about size.
I know they say size doesn’t matter.
But it does.
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 copy 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 would think.
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.
P.S. If you have any questions about copywriting at any time, just drop me a line at the usual email and I’ll cover whatever issue you might have in a future piece.
P.P.S. Have you pre-ordered the book? You won’t regret it. You can do so here.