Marketing Tips for Dentists
Published by Galen Stilson
Direct Response Copywriter/Consultant
Dental Marketing a specialty
Design Elements That Can Help Improve
A few years ago I was hired to help a client launch a new health promotion
The Response To Your Printed Advertising
It was designed to be sold to businesses (and then distributed to their employees). It is a highly competitive field with the primary health promotion benefits being well known and accepted by corporate decision-makers. Those benefits include less absenteeism, higher productivity, and reduced health care costs.
My problem in launching this newsletter was how to make it uniquely and
beneficially different from the competition.
To make a long story short, I came up with the idea of promising businesses
that their employees would be able to read and comprehend everything in the newsletter within 10 minutes or less. The benefits of that
promise are obvious ... employees would not waste lots of
time on the job reading the newsletter (which would reduce
productivity), and, because they would be able to
immediately comprehend the info, they would be more likely to use it
(thus improving their health).
The next problem was, how to design the newsletter to match such a benefit
Surprisingly I found lots of research on the subject. The
result ... we WERE able to design this new newsletter so that virtually everyone
could read and comprehend it within ten minutes (as tested in
focus groups). Then, to give this difference-making
benefit an even higher value perception, I developed a
descriptive name for it (which has since been trademarked
by my client).
I called it the ...
Quick Read ... Fast-Comprehension Design™
Interestingly, those same design elements are just as applicable and
to advertisements as they are to publications. Your ad MUST look easy
to read ... it MUST be easy to read ... and it MUST be immediately comprehendible
and understandable ... if you expect it to succeed.
What are these design elements?
Here are a few that you can immediately apply to your advertisements or
newsletters. I'll have more for you in future issues.
SERIF TYPE ...
There are two reasons why you should always use serif type
instead of sans serif in all body copy. 1--It's
easier to read. 2--It makes the material easier to
comprehend. Research shows that it can boost reading
speed by 7 to 10 words per minute ... plus ... it boosted comprehension
by over 300% in one study. (In one test comprehension went from
12% for a Helvetica sans serif type to 67% for a Roman serif
QUOTES & RECALL ...
Using quotes in headlines, subheads, text and/or call-outs
can increase reader recall by up to 28%. The highest recall in headlines
comes from using a quote along with the name of the person who said
UPPER/lower CASE HEADLINES
All cap headlines cut reading speed by up to 13% and
comprehension by about 30%. So, don't use all cap headlines ...
unless it's an extremely short headline.
HEADLINE TYPE STYLES ...
Serif type upper/lower case headlines produce the
highest comprehension at 92%. But for headlines (unlike body copy), sans
serif upper/lower case is right there at the 90% comprehension level. Virtually the same. So, it's okay to use a sans serif headline
... but if you do, be sure to switch back to serif for
the body copy. The worst headline type style is a
cursive in all caps. It comes in at just a 26% comprehension
Long runs of copy printed in reverse (white copy on black background,
for example) cuts reading speed by nearly 15% and comprehension by
at least half. If you do use reverses as an attention-grabbing device (and
they do work), keep the copy short ... and large enough to easily read.
SENTENCE LENGTH ...
Using a variation of sentence lengths makes reading easier.
When averaged out, an 8-word average sentence length produces the highest
readership (92%). The longer the average sentence length, the lower
the readership. Of course, the education level of your audience has a
major bearing on the average number of words with which your reader will be comfortable.
LINE LENGTH ...
The line length for easiest reading is between 20 and 60
characters ... with 42 being about the optimum. A good rule of thumb is to avoid line lengths longer than two alphabets of the type
size and type style you intend to use. Obviously, the
smaller the type size, the shorter the line length
PARAGRAPH LENGTH ...
As with sentence length and line length, varied paragraph
lengths within the text produces the highest readership (try to avoid
paragraphs over seven lines). A series of long paragraphs will reduce
Background tints reduce readership and comprehension. Background
tints of 30% or more reduce readership substantially. The higher
the percentage of tinting (screening), the greater the reduction in both
readership and comprehension.
Readers tend to scan pages and ads (to determine if they
have any interest in the material) in a sideways "U" pattern.
They tend to move from the upper right to upper left to middle left
to lower left and off the page (or ad) on the lower right. If you design
around this tendency, you have a better chance of grabbing the reader's
attention and interest with a key benefit promise.
If you have any questions regarding the above tips, don't hesitate to e-mail me.
Talk to you next issue ...
Copyright 2006 by Galen Stilson. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.