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With Fonts, Use The K.I.S.S Principle

There’s a lot that can be said about the appearance of your fonts. Remember this: serif type fonts reads easier than sans serif. This is Times-Roman, a serif font. See the little tails, or serifs, on each letter? They serve to lead the eye to the next letter, making it a smoother read.

“Sans serif” fonts don’t have serifs, like this sentence. They require more effort to read. Look, you don’t have to believe all this if you don’t want to. Just know there have been zillions of dollars spent testing the best font, the best layout, etc. for the last 70 years. It works.

When writing a sales letter, it’s OK to use Times-Roman in the headline, and I prefer it in my body as well. But test Courier as your body font. This is Courier. It has the comfortable look of an old typewriter. It also says, “It’s true, you can believe me.” Even today in our world of word processors and desktop publishing, Courier still often outperforms in terms of results. Why? Remember how your customer loves to dance? They know it’s not a personal letter from an old typewriter, but they like the make-believe of seeing your letter in Courier.

Only use all capital letters, bold, italics, reverse type (white letters, black background) and other formatting tricks sparingly. These are only for effect. The next time you see an entire paragraph in caps, italics or some of the other neat stuff, notice how hard it is to read. That’s why you don’t want to overuse them; you don’t want to wear out your prospect before you get to close them.

In the online world, using all caps is considered rude. Cyberspace prospects will consider that you are “yelling” at them when you use all caps, so do so very carefully, or not at all.

Almost never use type over graphics, except in bursts (and screen the graphics way down underneath). Having a photo or cool design layout underneath your text looks neat, but again it’s just plain hard to read. Avoid it, except in short sections like headlines or subheads.

Don’t do anything to distract…anything that takes your customer out of his “norm” or comfort zone. In other words, content will almost always win over style, unless your style outshines your content. That’s the formula for the “great” Super Bowl ads that were so cool… who was that company? If the customer pauses… even for a split second look at something distracting, or strains to read your copy, you have to win him back all over again.

Create an environment where the prospect’s thought process can be transparent… thoughtless… instinctual… leading him through your message to the close with minimal distractions.

Carpe Diem!

Emerson Brantley

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