Why Nobody Is Reading Your Marketing Content

Almost every week I’m telling a client that there’s a big problem with their marketing content.

It’s not the subject matter, their writing style, their grammar, or even typos.

The problem is that their content is simply hard to read because of the way it’s formatted.

Def: Format: “the way in which something is arranged or set out.”

I’ve seen web pages with wonderful content that is simply unreadable because of poor formatting.

You’ve taken all that time to write a blog post or service description and nobody is reading it.

You, the writer, probably don’t even notice, because you’re too close to it; you have no objectivity.

The good news is that fixing readability is easy-peasy.

And once you understand the mistakes you’re making, you’ll never make them again.

Here are seven formatting mistakes that make it hard for readers to read your content.

I’m going to concentrate on the formatting of content on web pages and blogs as these are where we read most online marketing content.

1. Text that is too small.

This is the number one text formatting error. If someone has to squint to read your text, you’re in trouble.

And did you know that more than 50% of people now browse the web on mobile devices? This makes small text even harder to read.

These days, with web pages moving to WordPress, page widths are wider than ever, so small text gets lost in the vast expanse of your screen.

How big should your text be? My recommendation is no smaller than 16px, however 20px is becoming more common. Bigger IS better.

2. Text that is too light.

I blame designers for this. Lighter text looks cool. I don’t know why, but it just does.

And even worse is text that’s both small and light!

But after you’ve made that cool impression on your website, can anyone read your text?

No, they can’t!

Your poor readers! They can’t read what you’ve written.

How dark should your text be? I recommend no lighter than 85% black. This will make your text a tad lighter, and less stark (hence, more cool) than 100% black.

3. Text that is too wide on the page

Now that you have a big, wide page to write on, why not format your text from edge-to-edge!

Please don’t.

Adding wide text blocks to already small, light text and you have a major reading catastrophe.

Instead, you want some white space to narrow the text blocks on the page.

On a site such as Medium.com (which gets millions of readers) the font size is 21px and the margins of each side of the text take up about 50% of the screen real estate.

Another way to narrow your text block is to have a narrower left or right margin and then on the opposite side have a wider margin with graphic content or side-menus.

You’ll see this on my blog pages.

I recommend that your main text block take no more than 60% of your screen’s width.

4. Paragraphs that are too long

Long paragraphs are just as problematic as small, light or wide text. Huge paragraphs are simply hard to read online.

A web page is not read like a book. And the same paragraph rules don’t apply.

It’s OK to have short paragraphs.

Even one-sentence paragraphs.

Get it?

I recommend that paragraphs be no deeper than five lines. If you put just one key idea into each paragraph, readership will soar.

5. Poor font choice

This one is trickier as there are a zillion fonts available these days.

I generally suggest a very readable serif font such a “Georgia” or a sans-serif font such as “Open Sans.”

But be careful about mixing fonts. You don’t want your website to look like a ransom note.

It’s common to use a bold serif or sans-serif font for headings, and then the opposite for body content.

This is where a designer can come in handy and help give a unified, professional look to your web pages.

6. Failure to use bolding

This is my secret weapon to increase readability. You don’t see this enough online.

If your text is all black/gray text with no variation, there is no focal point to draw the eye.

Here’s what happens:

A reader comes to your page and sees nothing but monochromatic text. Nothing attracts the eye.

The subconscious mind says, “Where’s the good stuff? Do I have to wade through all of that text to find it? Shoot, that’s too hard, let me go someplace else!”

But if you bold first sentences (sometimes initial clauses), the eye is attracted and there’s an immediate payoff.

The reader is focused and understands what you’re content is about in an instant and is encouraged to keep reading.

If you have lots of bolding throughout your text, then the reader can quickly scan for meaning. And even if they don’t read your whole page, they’ll get the general gist.

One mistake to avoid with bolding: You should almost never bold words or sentences in the middle of a paragraph. That just makes it harder to read.

If you want to add emphasis in the middle of a paragraph, use italics instead.

7. Not using sub-heads

Another great way to increase readability is to break up pages with sub-heads.

This is simply text in a larger font, often colored and/or bold text, as I’ve done in this article.

Subheads serve to organize the most important sections of your content.

Again, all of this increases readability which is what you want when a visitor comes to your website, right?

Cheers, Robert

Starting Your Model Car Collection With Style

It is a human desire to embrace speed and drape themselves in style. When looking at this through the acts of human nature, purchasing luxurious homes, fast cars and wearing bling is what makes us feel we belong. In many homes however, affording the fancy clothes and the fast cars is more of a financial dream than it would be a reality.

If this sounds like you and you have champagne tastes on a Pepsi diet, then there is a solution. For those who like the fast cars and the nice things in life, collecting model cars is a solution that can fit into your budget. When it comes to model cars, Porsche diecast models are possibly the first in the series you should collect.

When it comes to collecting model cars, we are allowing ourselves to expand our imagination as well as hold on to a piece of our dreams. Even though we can’t in most cases afford to purchase and maintain a Porsche, purchasing Porsche model cars is the next best thing.

Creating a collection

When it comes to these and other cars, it all comes down to creating a collection. When we put together a collection of different objects such as cars, we can tailor our likes and passions into a specific set. For example, is you like a specific year of model car you can focus on those. If you prefer a specific manufacturer, size, colour and more, all of these can be addressed when working on your model car collection.

Sharing your collection

Sharing your collection is a great way to enjoy your collection. When sharing your collection, you can do a wide range of different things. First of all you can create a room that is filled with what you collect. Your Porsche diecast models can be displayed on shelves, in glass cases and even placed in scenes that depict a great moment in your life or accentuate the model.

Telling stories

Most collectors will have a reason for their collection. The majority of people will want to tell stories of their past. For men, it is all about helping their dads work on similar cars when they were younger. For women, it may be a remembrance of their brothers or boyfriends who had one of these cars or even their own favourite car. Telling stories is a great way to have a visual to add to these stories as well as a constant reminder of pleasant events.

How to Qualify Leads at Your Events

A marketing event is an ideal way to interact one-on-one with current and potential customers. In a world saturated by digital, a marketing event creates a valuable personal relationship between your business and your ideal client.

Even better, a marketing event can do more than build strong relationships, it can help you generate leads. New leads are the lifeblood of every successful business. They strengthen your portfolio and help the business grow.

What is a qualified lead?
Knowing which attendees are qualified leads and which are just along for the ride ensures that your time and money is spent efficiently.

Identifying qualified leads lets you tailor your pipeline to those potential clients. Don’t turn someone offer by aggressively following up when a lighter touch is needed. And don’t lose out on potential customers by failing to follow up with someone who is on the fence.

So how do you tell if someone is interested? They ask a lot of questions. They opt-in to receive emails or follow up information. They post about your event or company on social media. They try hands-on demos.

Usually, the more touch-points a lead interacts with, the warmer that lead becomes. So create multiple opportunities for attendees to engage with you. That can be through presentations, demos, Q&A sessions, social media sharing, opt-ins and more.

Knowledge is power
Getting the most out of your event marketing starts with gathering as much data as possible about your attendees. Go beyond who showed up and who didn’t. Keep track of who attended which parts of the event and who was most engaged throughout the process.

The tools you use to track attendees can range from the traditional to the cutting edge. You might ask attendees to sign in to a talk or drop their business card into a fishbowl to win a prize. Or you might have attendees scan into a seminar using a barcode or enter a contest by posting to social media using your event hashtag.

Convince attendees to opt-in to follow-ups by promising to email them a link to the slideshow or similar resource. All of these tactics allow you to see who was interested in which topics. That will come in handy when you’re ready to follow up.

Start with sign-up
Start gathering information from the very first interaction. When attendees sign up for your event, they should fill out a simple form that includes such information as their name, title, company, and reason for attending.

This simple information can help you organize your follow-up later. You can sometimes see right off the bat whether that attendee will be a qualified lead.

If you’re selling to businesses, a c-suite executive from a large company is probably a qualified lead from the start. If you’re selling to individual consumers you may need to get more creative with your questions. For example, if you’re a pool company, ask if the person owns their home or is renting.

Use social media
Social media is an effective way to gauge attendee interest. Attendees who are engaged in what you have to offer may post on social media. Make it easy for them by creating a custom hashtag. You can even create photo opportunities that remind them to post their pictures.

Host a Twitter-based Q&A session. And make sure someone is manning your social media during the event to quickly answer any questions attendees may have. Monitoring engagement in this way can help you identify leads that are ready for more information.

The beauty of social media is that even people who can’t attend the event can experience it in some way. You may even find additional leads among the comments and likes from social media during the event.

The proof is in the follow-up
After the event is over, you’ll be left with a ton of information to sift through. Quickly identify your most qualified leads and rank them by level of interest. Then follow up.

Tailor your follow-up to the level of engagement and interest. A lead who shared multiple pictures of the event on social media might be a warmer lead and require a different approach than one who just dropped their business card into a raffle.