Writing Body Copy


Wow! Did You See The Body On That One?

Body Copy is the “body” of your marketing piece, whether it is a sales letter or a space ad. In much the same way the attractive physical form of the opposite sex can communicate thing to you that will make you stare and want them with every fiber of your being, your body copy is what convinces or educates your audience. Whether you are trying to communicate an ideology or get them to want what it is you’re offering.

Just as an attractive person catches your eye and may cause you to study their shape, attractive body copy captures the eye and interest of your prospects. The way your body copy looks is vitally important to the effectiveness of your copy. It has to be easy on the eye and not appear intimidating.

You want to break the look of your body copy up so that it doesn’t seem ominous to the reader and you definitely want to construct it so it gets read.

Here are the most important elements in creating killer body copy.

  1. Use serif and sans serif type properly — I’m writing in sans serif type now (Arial, Helevetica, Verdana). It’s easier to read online for most people, but takes up more space. A serif font like Times, Courier, Times Roman, Rockwell, Bodoni… take up less space and is traditionally easier to to read because it is thought the “feet” on the letters guide the eye from one to the next easier. *NOTE: In print it is often best to use Sans Serif (i.e. Arial) for headlines and sub headlines/paragraph separators, and Serif (i.e. Times, Courier) for your body copy. Online however, Sans Serif fonts are preferred for body copy and Arial and Verdana seem to be the most desired choices.
  2. Don’t use too many different fonts — It’s easy nowadays to put a huge variety of fonts in your copy. But limiting it to a couple makes your copy look more organized and easier to read.
  3. Use italics to emphasize a word, phrase etc., but don’t over use it.
  4. Use a 10-point font or larger— there are some cases where people will read even 6 point type, but as a general rule 10-12 is best.
  5. Break up long copy-use short paragraphs, sub headlines, bullets and illustrations to keep the reader interested and help lead them down the path to the sale.
  6. Avoid Reverse Type it is hard to read and should be used sparingly.
  7. Indent Paragraphs — it give the reader a clear starting place and increases white space for ease of reading.
  8. DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAP’S- use capital letters for emphasis in certain areas but not entire paragraphs.
  9. Use the space your paying for — the more you tell the more you sell. Don’t make the mistake some large ad agencies do like buying two pages in the Wall Street Journal and sticking in three words. In bold type. This can create a lasting memory, but chances are it won’t cause a sale. Too much white space is a waste.
  10. If you use illustrations — caption them. The captions should be strong; a captioned photograph is read more often by prospects than the entire ad or letter on it’s own.

Below you’ll find examples of two different ways to write the same information. One good, and one bad:

Good Example

Dear Friend,

How would you like to double or even triple your business this year — without spending even a penny on hit-or-miss advertising???

If There Was A Strategy That Never Fails…

Would You Want To Know About It?

My friend and marketing genius, Dan Kennedy, (one of the most sought after marketing gurus in the world) often quotes Walt Disney. Disney’s number-one marketing secret was: “Do what you do so well and so uniquely that your customers can’t resist telling others about you.”

This is THE secret to multiplying a business’ income without spending any money on advertising!

And very often it is little things that make big differences.

Little things mean a lot. People remember and tell others about the “little things” you do for them.

I read an article about a minor league baseball team that doubled attendance in one year with one simple marketing strategy: maintaining always-clean bathrooms. Word spread.

The owner of a lawn-and-garden service doubled his customer base solely through referrals when he started re-painting customers’ “old” mailboxes and mailbox posts free. Customers were pleasantly surprised — and told their neighbors.

A chiropractor tripled her usual referrals after installing a juice bar, a lending library of health books and tapes, and courtesy phones in her reception area. Instead of complaining about waiting, these patients bragged to their friends about this “waiting room.”

And so the search began for some “little thing” that we could use or do, that would add the “Wow — look at that!” factor to their businesses.

Something that customers would be surprised by, would notice, would remember, would appreciate and would tell their neighbors and friends about. A “conversation item.”

Doubletree Hotels does this with free, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies given to each guest at check-in. Their research clearly shows that customer loyalty, measured in increased numbers of stays per frequent traveler, has been boosted by-the cookies!

A veterinarian in Pennsylvania saw his referrals increase by better than 60% vs. the previous year, the year after he delivered gift-wrapped boxes of dog biscuits as Christmas gifts to the dogs’ homes.

Sure, we’re talking about “gimmicks.” But if you had a simple “gimmick” like this that GUARANTEED increases in customer satisfaction, retention and referrals, with no extra work & virtually no cost, would you be too “stuffy” to use it?

Bad Example

How would you like to double or even triple your business this year – without spending even a penny on hit-or-miss advertising???If there were a strategy that never fails, would you want to know about it? My friend and marketing genius, Dan Kennedy, (one of the most sought after marketing gurus in the world) often quotes Walt Disney; Disney’s number-one marketing secret was: “Do what you do so well and so uniquely that your customers can’t resist telling others about you.” This is THE secret to multiplying a business’ income without spending any money on advertising! And very often it is little things that make big differences. Little things mean a lot. People remember and tell others about the “little things” you do for them. I read an article about a minor league baseball team that doubled attendance in one year with one simple marketing strategy: maintaining always-clean bathrooms. Word spread. The owner of a lawn-and-garden service doubled his customer base solely through referrals when he started re-painting customers’ “old” mailboxes and mailbox posts free. Customers were pleasantly surprised — and told their neighbors.

A chiropractor tripled her usual referrals after installing a juice bar, a lending library of health books and tapes, and courtesy phones in her reception area. Instead of complaining about waiting, these patients bragged to their friends about this “waiting room.”

And so the search began for some “little thing” that we could use or do, that would add the “Wow — look at that!” factor to their businesses. Something that customers would be surprised by, would notice, would remember, would appreciate and would tell their neighbors and friends about. A “conversation item.” Doubletree Hotels does this with free, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies given to each guest at check-in. Their research clearly shows that customer loyalty, measured in increased numbers of stays per frequent traveler, has been boosted by the cookies!

A veterinarian in Pennsylvania saw his referrals increase by better than 60% vs. the previous year, the year after he delivered gift-wrapped boxes of dog biscuits as Christmas gifts to the dogs’ homes. Sure, we’re talking about “gimmicks.” But if you had a simple “gimmick” like this that GUARANTEED increases in customer satisfaction, retention and referrals, with no extra work & virtually no cost, would you be too “stuffy” to use it?

Yuck! Now that’s uggggggggggly! I hope you can see how the first example was a lot easier on the eye and looked less intimidating.

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