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Successful Dentist Advertising #8

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

NOTICE: For those of you who are waiting to receive my Ad Subscription Service info packet, I hope to finish it up by the middle of next week and mail it out to you by the end of the week. If you haven't requested information on this special Ad Service and would like information on how it can help you boost the quality and quantity of patients, please e-mail me ( your name and mailing address so that I can get the info packet off to you as soon as it's ready. Thanks.

Now, let's finish up our specific discussion concerning some of the ...


(See issues #6 and #7 for more of these design elements.  If you are
missing either of these issues, e-mail me at and
I'll be happy to e-mail you a copy.)

Continuing ...

1.  TYPE SIZE ... Body copy typeset in 11 point with 2 point leading
(11/13) is easiest to read.  Don't vary much from the 10 to 12 point type
size with 2 point leading ... except when targeting older audiences.
Because many older adults have difficulty reading, you might increase the
type size to the 12 point to 16 point range.

2.  ITALICS ... Italicizing long strings of copy can reduce reading speed
by up to 14 to 16 words per minute.  So, for attention-getting and emphasis
of longer strings of copy, you're better off bolding or underlining.

3.  DROP INITIALS ... Drop initials (printing the first letter of the first
word of an article or ad in much larger type size) used in long
articles/ads increases readership by up to 13%.  Like other
attention-getting devices, though, more is not better.  If you use more
than one drop initial per article (one for each paragraph, for example) it
distracts from -- rather than adding to -- readership.  Stick with one drop
initial per article and you'll be better off.

4.  KERNING ... The tighter you squeeze letters and words together, the
more difficult they are to read.  Kerning by just 3 units reduces
comprehension by over 50%.

5.  THE LAW OF GRAVITY ... Layouts that comply with the principles of
reading gravity (people naturally read from left to right, top of page to
bottom of page) increases readership by about 100% over layouts that don't.
 Therefore, when designing an ad, please keep the reading law of gravity in
mind and create a layout that uses a logical, quickly comprehensible and
understandable oriented progression of copy/illustrations.  Don't make
readers skip all over an ad trying to put the pieces together.  

6.  HEADLINE/PHOTO POSITIONING ... If you use a large photo or illustration
in your ad, it is what readers will generally look at first.  Then, because
of the law of gravity (see above), their eyes will naturally move down
from, or to the right of, that photo.  Thus, if you place the headline
above a large photo, it will get less attention than if you place it below
the photo.  And I can't think of a time when you don't want your headline
to get maximum attention.  Therefore, when you use a large photo or
illustration in your ad, it should be at the top of the ad with your
headline below it.

7.  PHOTOS AND COPY READERSHIP ... The larger the photo associated with a
block of copy, the higher the readership of that copy, usually.  In various
studies it was found that people will read about 25% of the copy associated
with a two-column photo and about 50% of the copy associated with a
four-and-one-half column photo.  Of course, the quality and appropriateness
of the photo has a bearing on total readership also.

8.  PHOTO CAPTIONS ... Whenever you use a photo, you should always use a
caption.  One to four lines of photo caption copy will enjoy some of the
highest readership in your ad.  Caption readership is often 100% higher
than body copy readership.  Because of the law of gravity, the caption
should be placed below or to the right of the photo.

9.  PHOTO SHAPES ... As far as attracting attention, studies have shown
that readers will generally go to a vertically shaped photo before a
horizontally shaped (80% to 20%).  And generally they'll be drawn to a
circled area before a square shaped area.  Closed shapes get attention
before partially opened shapes.

If you'll follow the ad design guidelines I've given you over the last
three issues it's likely that you'll see an increase of readership,
response and profit from your advertisements.  And ultimately, that's what
it's all about.

If you have any questions about this article, don't hesitate to e-mail me.

And don't forget, if you want to continue receiving these free "Successful
DENTIST Advertising" e-mail newsletters you must send an e-mail request to
me ( so that I can put you on the permanent
subscriber list.  Otherwise, at some point soon, you will be expunged from
the temporary subscriber list.

************* INTERESTING WEB SITES ********************

Here are a few web sites you might want to visit (thanks to those of you
who e-mailed me web addresses) ...

Next issue I plan to include more dental-oriented web sites that you'll
probably want to visit.  If you'd like to recommend a web site or two,
e-mail the URL addresses to me and I'll consider including them.  Thanks.

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

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