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Successful Dentist Advertising #7

Published by Galen Stilson
Direct Marketing Copywriter/Consultant
Relationship Marketing (for dentists) a speciality

Continuing with the topic from last issue ... Design Elements Than Can Help Improve The Response To Your Printed Advertising 1. BODY TEXT COLOR ... Text printed in black enjoys a higher comprehension level than text printed in any other color. Text printed in black on white has the highest comprehension level versus all other color combinations. That holds true for headlines also. However, judicious use of color can be extremely effective in direct response advertising if not overused.

2.  COLORED TEXT ... Next to black on white, the best color combinations
(for ease of reading) would be dark green on white, dark blue on white, and
brown on white.  The brighter the color, the more difficult it is to read
and the less the reader comprehension will be.  If you do print body copy
in color, it is recommended that you increase the type size, shorten lines,
and add leading between lines.  Again, however, judicious use of bright
colors can be an effective attention-drawing tactic.  And drawing attention
to key points can boost response.  (Plus, use of certain paper/ink colors
can reflect a specific style and/or image that one might want to portray
... particularly when using direct mail.)

3.  HEADLINE COLOR ... Although color can be used effectively to draw
initial attention to the headline (and subheads), one must be selective
with the choice of colors.  If you use very bright colors (high chroma
colors like hot red or orange) not only does headline comprehension drop
drastically (by about 86%), so does comprehension of the associated body
text (by about 75%).  The reason.  It's distracting.  The bright colors
keep drawing the reader's attention from the body copy.

4.  INDENTING ... Indenting of paragraphs (and/or double spacing between
paragraphs) can increase readership by up to 12%.

5.  WIDOWS ... Widows (a single word at the end of a paragraph on a line by
itself) seem to slightly increase rather than decrease readership as was
once thought.  If you always format your ads/letters/publications to
intentionally avoid widows, you can comfortably cease and desist from the

6. JUSTIFIED COPY ... Justified copy enjoys the highest comprehension
level.  Switching from justified to flush-left-ragged-right reduces
comprehension by about 44%.  Switching from justified to
flush-right-ragged-left cuts comprehension by about 85%.  (However, one
study showed that those individuals who do not read well find justified
copy more difficult to read than flush-left-ragged-right copy.)  As a rule,
justify ad copy when using equally sized, multiple columns in your ads.

7.  THE FIRST 50 WORDS ... Readership usually drops off substantially after
the first 50 words, so make sure your first 50 words get to the key points.
 For example, in one study of advertisements there was a 30% drop-off in
readership from 50 words to 100 words.  Between 100 and 150 words there was
an additional 17% drop-off.  From 150 to 200 words, an additional 10%
drop-off.  And from 200 to 250, another 9% drop.  (I'll go into more detail
on this "First 50 Words" concept in a future issue.)

8.  TYPE SIZE ... Body copy typeset in 11 point with 2 point leading
("leading" -- pronounced "led-ing" -- is the size of the white space
between lines of type) is easiest to read.  Don't vary much from the 10-12
point type size with 2 point leading ... except when targeting older
adults.  Because many older adults have difficulty reading, you should
increase the point size to the 12-14 point range.

Please keep in mind that ease of reading and comprehension only make up a
part of what goes into creating  successful response advertisements.
Attracting the attention of the reader is so critical in newspaper and
magazine ads that often one must give up some of the less important
comprehension in order to do it. 

If you have questions about any of the above tips, let me know and I'll try
to answer them for you.

And, again, if YOU WANT to continue receiving this newsletter but have yet
to let me know, please e-mail me today at so I can
put you on the VIP subscriber list.  

In addition, if you want to receive free information about my
soon-to-be-launched Ad Subscription Service for Dentists, please e-mail me
your mailing address so that I can rush you the Information Packet as soon
as it's ready.

Thanks ...


P.S.  Hope you are finding your free subscription to "Successful DENTIST
Advertising" enjoyable and helpful.  If you have advertising questions or
suggestions on topics you'd like to see covered, let me know.  In an
upcoming issue, I intend to post some web sites for dentists.  If you have
a web site that is "interesting or helpful to dentists," let me know where
and what it is.

Thought for the day ...
"Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long
time."  Chinese proverb.

Copyright 1998 by Galen Stilson. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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