In business, even a semi-colon or an apostrophe can make the difference between sales won and sales lost. Something we must get right if we are to write for success.
Who would have thought that a punctuation mark could have such an effect? But it’s true.
One misplaced semi-colon in your website code can give Google the wrong command and stop your prospects finding you.
One missing or incorrect apostrophe and your reader stops thinking about your offer. Instead, she’s thinking about the apostrophe.
This is how simple punctuation errors can send your prospects to a competitor.
And that is why it is so important not to make these mistakes.
We don’t want people to think about punctuation. We want them to think about buying from us.
Write for success
Of course, successful marketing communications are about much more than good punctuation.
Websites, emails and sales literature need great headlines, lots of action verbs and a wealth of highly persuasive sentences.
But how do we find the time to write to such high standards?
We need shortcuts
In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to show you how your writing can achieve better results.
First of all, my ’Improve Your Content in One Evening’ post will help you write better content in a matter of hours. Using the Flesch Readability Score – available to every Microsoft Word user – you will instantly make your content a more persuasive read.
Take the Flesch test and aim for high readability scores
You’ve checked your work, made some changes and are nearer the 60% score for easy reading. What’s the final step? See the checklist in my proof reading blog http://tresil.co.uk/a-simple-trick-to-successful-writing-proof-reading/
What else to check:
- The headline. Does it focus on the main benefit of your product or service to the reader?
- The first paragraph. Is your offer clear and specific?
- Can you prove the benefits? Show testimonials? Refer to recommendations from other clients?
- Have you given reasons for buying, or taking action?
- Have you told the reader what action to take? What is a call to action? http://tresil.co.uk/web-content-writing-tips-for-results/
Write with clarity, brevity and relevance
All you need to do is to use shorter words with fewer syllables. Because people read these short words faster, they’re more likely to read all of them.
Keep sentences and paragraphs short too.
Sub-headings will help readers to scan or scroll through your content without missing the essential message.
Active verbs add instant clarity to a sentence – and shorten them.
|Sentence with active verb||Sentence with passive verb|
|Sue looked after Fudge.||Fudge was looked after by Sue.|
(Fudge is my daughter’s rabbit. I have the delight of looking after him when she is away.)
Tone of voice
Write in a conversational style.
Me to You
Take the Me to You test – see my blog: ‘How to keep people on your web page.’
Be informative. Write the right amount: enough information to get people to take action.
What should you write about?
Always write from your readers’ point of view (and not from your own). Write what they want to hear rather than what you want them to read.
Read more about understanding your customer in my ‘Understanding your customer’ blog and help people to buy your services and products.
Write for results
What matters to your reader is how they will benefit from your product or service. Find out how to write about benefits in my ‘how to write for results talk benefits’ blog.
Measure your success
How can you be sure your hard work is paying off? By measuring the action visitors take when they come to your website. The figure you need to pay attention to is the conversion rate. Read more about encouraging people to take action on your website in my ‘customer service on the web’ post.
Want even greater success?
You’ll need to do some more testing. My post on ‘the basics of usability testing’ is a good start.
Need help with website planning?
Take it step by step as shown in my ‘objective setting in easy steps’ post.
What else can I help you with?
Please get in touch if you’d like more advice. Or let me know if there’s a topic you’d especially like to know more about and I’ll make it the subject of my next blog.
If, as you implement these tips, you need urgent help call me and ask for an Emergency Consultation Coaching Call. I’ll give you half an hour – free.