One Simple Trick for Copy to Boost Sales

Readability is reduced when paragraphs are long, as in a novel, or full of complex sentences

Readable copy is a big key to sales!  People today don’t want to wade through information that reads like a dull textbook.  Most of us skim-read, instead of word for word. We are such multitaskers and so many choices that we aren’t patient with reading. 

Recently, I received an email promoting a new product from a spa supplier.  I knew the product was a performer, but the description was hard to read. So, I copy/pasted it into an analyzer. The readability was at the post-college level.

This prompted me to go online and look at descriptions of the same type of product marketed by department store brands. Their descriptions were much easier to read and focused on what their customers wanted to know. What it would do for them. 

Readability sells and lack of it loses sales.

Readability refers to how easy a sentence is to read and understand. There are several formulas, that’s another article. The important thing to remember is to keep it simple. The harder it is to read, the quicker your reader may hit the delete key or leave your website.

Originally, it was used to evaluate training materials.  Today it is used by smart marketers.

In today’s world, we are bombarded by electronic marketing. Junk mail, emails, newsletters. We go online; lots more marketing.  Sensory overload.  We are in a hurry. We want what we are looking for quick and easy.  Your potential customers want the same thing.

Every written piece put out there needs to be easy to read.  Website pages, emails, newsletters all need to be visitor friendly and quick to read.

Get their attention fast…

In 2014, Hubspot Marketing reported that you have less than 15 seconds to engage your reader. A surprising 55% of them will click off your page in that period.

If the reader is on a page that doesn’t answer their question or meet a need – they are going to be gone. They are in the wrong place.  

However, if they are looking for what you have, we need to help them stick around and find it.  We need to make sure our message is clear, simple, and easy to skim read.

Think about opening your email box first thing in the morning. There are probably at least 50 new emails waiting. Most of us, scan for the obvious ones to delete.  Check, check, check, delete – done.  Then you start with the rest.

3 Tips for more readability

You don’t actually read most emails completely. You quickly skim them to see if you’re interested. If they are hard to read, it bogs you down. The more you have to “work” to read information, the more apt you are to think, just stuff it, and hit delete.

Ever been caught in a loop and realize you’ve been rereading the same sentence over and over?  Simple words, short sentences, and white space make a huge difference. The combination of words plus sentences is the basis for how easy something is to read.

Simple words

Once you have your first draft complete, read through checking word choices.  The more syllables a word has, the harder it is to read. It mentally takes more energy.

“Harder” is easier to read than “more difficult” or “more challenging”. It has fewer syllables and doesn’t require a support word. 

Choosing a shorter word won’t make it sound like you have a limited vocabulary or it was written by a grade-schooler.  It’s only about that mental energy use.

Sometimes you can’t avoid complex words. Technical materials or say medical topics need their specific words.  

Short sentences

The longer and more complicated a sentence, the harder it is to read. Look for ways to break them into shorter sentences.  

A good tell is to read the segment out loud.  If you have trouble speaking it, people will have trouble reading it.  Run out of breath in the middle of a sentence…shorten it.

There are lots of readability analyzers out there. This is good because most document creators don’t include it.

Grammarly uses a straight Flesch score system that the lower the number the harder it is to read. You’ll need a paid version to get the function. 

Hemingway uses the Flesch-Kincade US grade scoring system so the higher the number the harder it is to read. A 14 would be post-graduate. Seven would be 12-13-year-old students. Most of the time, you want to have your text at nine or lower.

The unique part of Hemmingway is when you paste your text into the system, it renders it color-coded.  

Yellow text is hard to read. Red text is very hard to read. Green is passive voice and purple is words that may have a simpler option.  It’s very quick to see where the problem is and hone in on it. 

As you shorten sentences, your red or yellow disappears and your grade score drops. It can also be used as a document creator with marking turned off in the write mode.

I find using one of the many analyzers speeds up the editing process and gets the job done.

White space

If you have a solid page of text it is hard to focus on let alone read. Look for ways to break up long paragraphs.  It’s like letting the reader take a breath.

Another good way to evaluate your white space is to look at your document in mobile format. If your document creator doesn’t let you see desktop, laptop, mobile views, a WordPress Post will.  

If your reader has to scroll, and scroll, and scroll to get to the end of a paragraph…or a sentence, it’s too long. 

Even product descriptions are not immune. Bulleting key benefits are good. However, lumping all of the description into one paragraph takes more mental energy to read. Give the reader a break. Break it into shorter paragraphs to make it more readable. 

Word choices, shorter sentences, and white space make reading your offer a breeze and increase the ease of buying.

When I work with clients

Part of my get-acquainted process is to look at the existing content and email funnels. Is it recent, relevant, and readable? Copy plays a big supporting role in buying decisions. If I see readability issues, I show them how much more effective it could be.

8 Quick Seconds Will Make You More Money

8 -second rule means you have 8 seconds to engage a viewer before they click away
Focus on Ease and Clarity in 8 Seconds or Less

If your website can’t pass the 8-Second Marketing test…you are losing customers and money.  It’s true… you have only eight seconds to get their attention before they click away. Microsoft’s research proved a goldfish will hang around a second longer than people will. The argument might be that goldfish aren’t as smart.

That’s down from 12 seconds in 2000. Canadian researchers have been tracking the changes in a survey of 2000 participants. In another study, they used EEGs on 112 volunteers to validate their findings. Reduction in attention correlates exactly with the rocket-paced evolution of technology.

What it boils down to is with so much information coming in, it’s harder to hold our attention. Our brains try to sort out what is most important to us and protectively operating on semi-auto pilot, delete the rest.

Choices Evolved and Exploded

Back in the early 1960s, there were three television choices and no internet. You could watch ABC, CBS or NBC.  That changed rapidly over the next two decades. It blossomed to over 700 UHF and VHF stations.  By 2013 the growth had stalled and the number of stations peaked at 1781.

If you had access to cable your choices became far more vast than stations broadcast over the air. Today it’s not uncommon for the average viewer to have access to well over 200 choices.

At the same time television was evolving, so were computers and the internet. By 1991, the first chatrooms on the internet became open to the public. From what started as small private forums choices exploded. 

Home computers, popular for work tasks, took on a whole new life. We could work, socialize, play games, stay in touch with family and friends. All you needed was internet capability and your choices exploded. 

The internet race was on.  Now we have access to entertainment on our televisions, and on every electronic device, we own. Small wonder it became the new marketing playground.

It’s a Mistake to Underestimate Your Viewer

The research documented a decreasing attention span. Somehow this got linked to less intelligence. It couldn’t be farther from the truth.  We’ve had to become more choosy.  

We don’t have time to deal with every option, email, or offer that comes our way. So we let our puzzle-solving brains help us out by filtering and deleting what it sees as not of interest.

It’s also a mistake to think that this only applies to websites.  When you’re driving at 60 miles an hour you are whizzing past marketing. Billboards and roadsigns have 6 seconds…think six words or less…to get read. 

Direct mailers have long known we can decide in three seconds whether to put their mail in the open file, or the trash.  

Short, clear, and concise is always better.

Three Ways to Pass the 8-Second Marketing Rule

Everything you put out there, emails, content, articles, needs to pass the scan test. Test the message by getting feedback from a shopper for their first quick impression.

Marketers and brands work so closely with projects, they can miss what a shopper won’t.  Get outside feedback.  

Kill Clutter

Make sure each page, article, email has one clear message. Eliminate confusing.  Reinforce that concept with the right images, videos, and scannable content.

Graphics and images reinforcing the single clear message increase engagement. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words,” holds true.  It helps us remember what was important.

There is one common problem I see repeatedly. Graphics departments tend to go for visual over readable. They take that carefully crafted message and put it into a long-lump of single content so it fits beautifully next to an image.

The mistake is that the paragraph is hard to read.  It fails the scan test.  We need white space built-in for easy reading. White space is like breathing room for the visitor. 

Unfortunately, many web designers would take each of my sub-sections and make them a single paragraph.  You will lose the reader. Give them room. Make it easy to scan and read.

Engage with Emotion

We can’t help ourselves, we respond non-verbally to visuals, images, color, and sound. 

Fast food restaurants have used color for years.  Red and yellow energize us, however the colors are so stimulating, we can’t stay in the environment for a prolonged period of time. That worked to generate quicker turn-over of the tables and more customers in the store.

Now, living in an age of stress and uncertainty, we crave calm and soothing colors. Look to see more serene blues and greens and gentler background music for all sorts of businesses. 

If you offer a website with a diversity of products for different needs, make navigation easy. Avoid confusing navigation. Anything that brings up roadblocks or frustration is a negative experience. Negative emotions lose customers.

Entertain, educate, and engage their attention.  

It may be harder to make your first sale to people with all the choices out there, but engaging, educating, and entertaining, will keep them coming back.

8-Second Rule Wants Simple Clarity

Sacrificing clarity to put something clever and catchy on your website backfires more often than not.  Clever and catchy are often vague. They create frustration and stop any chance at conversation.  

When it comes to the viewer’s number one question – “Do they have what I need?”  straight forward, clear and relevant is what they want.  Avoid meaningless, vague jingle or clever slogans. There are too many better choices to put up with those.

I love the phrase I’ve seen repeatedly, “If you confuse them you will lose them!” 

Your copy AND your graphic design need to be clear and straightforward.  Get your design department thinking in terms of helping the viewer…not being cute or clever.  

Quality content counts. Copy written for scanning and quick reading, it’s far more useful to the viewer.

Make sure to clearly answer all the questions the visitor may have. You want them to know you can solve their problem, and improve their quality of life. 

Visitors want proof like testimonials from other clients. They want to know what makes you different from the other two billion websites out there.

Guests want to see and feel you are reliable and honest. And a key sticking point can be how to contact you to get questions answered.

Most of all…they want it clear, simple, easy.

How does your content measure up?

If you haven’t had an outside take a look and give you feedback, you should. I have a quick service that I offer to first-time clients to do just that. Message me or book a call on my website.

You may also enjoy these articles on customer engagement.

What’s Your CBD Marketing Plan?

Group working on a marketing plan
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
Build Your CBD Marketing Plan to Succeed

The CBD niche is no different from any other. It’s highly competitive and requires a CBD marketing plan to succeed.

It’s really easy to throw up a LinkedIn presence, Facebook page or website and announce that you have something to sell. But is that the most effective way to market your product?  Not in today’s world. It’s too competitive for that.

Let’s look at some considerations for maximizing your marketing efforts. The right system can help you tap into the demand that is escalating out there today.

The CBD market is growing rapidly. Some companies have been out there for years, others are startups or new to the scene.  Whether it is a social profile or a website…you need a plan. Websites aren’t static…they need to be evolving to maintain position with competition and search engine attraction.

Start with research

Your first step is to do a competitive analysis.  Are you working toward national exposure or marketing to a specific area?  What’s your specialty?  The more clearly you identify the specialty that makes you unique, the better.

What is your target market segment?

B2B formulators? Are you targeted toward seniors looking to alleviate pain or sleep better? Or maybe toward children with seizures? Are you selling direct to consumers or wholesaling to retailers?

Each is going to need a different plan and be found in different places. An analysis of your target audience is essential…complete with demographics. The more clearly you identify them, the easier and more effective your marketing will be.

Maybe you have a mixed market. Perhaps selling to consumers but also selling wholesale to retailers across the country.  Then each avenue will need its own research analysis and create its own plan.

How strong is your statement?

Does your reputation include a way to collect referrals and promote by word of mouth? Do you have a fabulous spokesperson who has had amazing results? Or maybe your products are found only in medical establishments recommended by professionals.

Each scenario plays out a little differently and it evolves. Every business needs to re-assess annually and tweak as their brand grows and matures.

Do you have a mission statement, a purpose statement and value statements about why you are unique and special?  Each of these will be important in connecting with buyers.

You’re going to need a short and a long-term plan.  Your long-term plan might be 3-5 years. But you’ll need a plan and targets for the immediate future, 6, 12 and 18 months.  This will help keep you on track.

Whether you are going to do-it-yourself, hire a team or work with an outside agency or freelance specialist, these details will help guide them and you to having a greater impact and result.

Look for optimization opportunities

You’ll want to start with your website because this is where you want to drive traffic for sales. Think of it as the backbone of your marketing efforts.

If your website doesn’t clearly share your vision, your unique selling proposition, products, and services…this needs to be fixed.

You need a traceable phone number that shows up on every page…this builds trust and connection.

If you have an inquiry form, keep it simple.  It should only ask for the necessary information. 

Make it easy for prospects and clients to bond with you and connect with you via phone, chat and or email.  EASY for them is the key.

Make sure you are following all existing Alternative Health and Supplement FDA and State guidelines.

Take advantage of Google, Yelp, Facebook and other directories where people can post reviews.  Reviews are the number one thing senior markets use to find a place and a product to purchase.

Be readable and connect with your audience.

People today have a 7-second attention span.  That’s how long you have to connect with them before they move on. A goldfish has an 8-second attention span.  Getting your message across in a quick engaging way is crucial.

We have so much information at our fingertips we seldom read word-for-word any more.  Most people are skimmers/scanners.  You need to present your information in a way that caters to this.

What’s your FK?

Long paragraphs, complex wording, stilted writing, and a high FK reading score all drive people away. Hard to read fonts, low-contrast print and backgrounds likewise discourage people from staying.

Present your information in both text and video forms.  Some viewers, especially the younger crowd and people personalities like to sit and watch videos for hours.  Business people and more task-oriented personalities want to see it in text – quick, succinct, and let them scan it.

Once you have these components in place, you’re ready to implement and leverage a full-funnel advertising campaign.

A full-funnel CBD marketing plan…

This type of program needs to cover multiple aspects.  It needs to generate awareness, connect to the viewer, get them considering you, and then drive them to the sales process.

It requires building a relationship with your prospect.  Why? The weaker the relationship, the higher the risk of returns and dissatisfaction.  If they have a positive experience, they will tell nine people.  If they have a negative experience…they’ll tell 16.  

You’ll need both outbound marketing and internal systems. 

When your marketing team drives someone to make an inquiry…what happens next?  Is your internal team adequately prepared to pick up the baton and help the prospect move forward?  Do they know how to build touchpoints to generate new and retain existing clients?

Make sure positive team coaching is core to your efforts to maximize marketing efforts. A niche that promotes anti-anxiety assistance shouldn’t come across with a stressed-out team.

What are you doing with the leads you do collect?  A file of email addresses doesn’t do any good if you’re not nurturing them. 

When to start emailing your list?

I’ve had clients say, “I only have a few names, I’m not ready to do that yet.” Big mistake and you’re leaving money on the table.  Do you have 10 leads?  Start the email-nurturing to build and develop the relationship.

An automated email system is one of your most cost-effective tools to stay connected with both clients and new prospects.

The market has never been so open and people so aggressively looking for alternative health solutions. Make sure they can find you….and help them build a long-term buying relationship. 

Need help revamping, creating or leveraging your message to build your business? Message me or call me at the number on my profile or website.

Blogs for CBD and hemp products…

Use photos in your blogs about CBD and hemp products
Close up photo of cannabis plant by Rick Proctor on Unsplash

Alternative health is exploding with interest in ways to manage health issues like pain and anxiety. People are hungry for information and solutions that avoid the use of opioids.

So it’s no surprise that CBD and hemp are garnering a lot of attention.  While they’ve been used for centuries, we still lack scientific testing and approved proof portions. Consequently, there’s a lot of miss-information and missing information out there.  And this leads to people saying… “it didn’t work for me.” 

Blogs and articles are great ways to provide information and educate prospects and consumers. They also serve to build trust in your brand.

Here are three ways to achieve this goal in blogs…

First, share your news. 

If you’ve been recognized, share that story.  It might be about your company, team members or new research findings.  Talk about what’s behind that recognition. Independent outside certification and it’s validity are hot topics. Be transparent and set yourself apart from your competition while building trust in your brand.  Awards, rewards, recognition at the local, regional and national level all help validate you.

People love what’s new. If you have a new product being launched a blog can share its backstory. How and why it was developed and formulated in a certain way.  Be sure to include pictures and other images that support and help tell the story.

Use your Blog to Share information.

While it may seem basic or common sense to you, it might not be that way for your reader.  Dispel myths about what it is and isn’t and what it’s properties are that may yield benefits.

Many prospects first learned about CBD and hemp products from a friend.  But they may have no idea that unlike taking ibuprofen, it may not have an immediate outcome.  They need the how-to-use or what-to-expect information so they don’t try it once and quit.

Share tips and tricks. Keep information easy to read, easy to understand, useful and unique.  A great headline and useful content keep your reader with you.

Blogs Can Tell Success Stories

While we have to tread carefully to be within the sometimes confusing federal guidelines, testimonials rock.  People love to read about other people’s results.  It’s attention-grabbing.

If someone shares a great testimonial with you, think about reaching out and interviewing them. Then share their story…with the appropriate caveats.   

Make sure your website and social media pages allow comments and places to share so you can get customer feedback.  It’s priceless. People trust what other people say far more than what you tell them. But if your messages are corroborated by testimonials, social proof, your brand believability soars.

For each blog/article, you want it to tie to something you offer and or the USP of the product you are indirectly marketing in the content.  At the bottom of the blog, include a link to the product’s landing page where they can “get more information”  or place an order. Let the blog educate and build trust, then let the landing page handle the sales content.

Overwhelmed and need help with your blog content? Contact me. As a business builder, I make things happen. or

12 Tips to Improve Your Website

12 Tips to Improve Your Website

Sad business woman needs help with website UX

Is your website working for you?

Your website is often your first connection with a prospective new client. In today’s world, it needs to engage them and get them to take the next step. They might sign up for your newsletter, or schedule an appointment or shop. There are some very important considerations to get them to take that step.

1. Your website must be guest-centric.

It must immediately show them how you can help them… from their point of view.

What problem or need do they have you can solve?  Your website needs enough information to help them understand what you do, how you help and proof that they can trust you.

It needs to be expressed in customer-focused language that explains the unique benefits of your products and services… a reason to choose you.  Testimonials from former clients, success stories and your credentials are the proof they can trust their decision to contact you.

 2. Invite them to share.

Invite every visitor to share your site with others and to join your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Make it easy!  The easier you make it, the more people will do it.  Make it clear whether you are taking them to a “follow-you” page, or a share page.

3. Keep website content fresh.

It’s important to keep your content fresh and current. It needs to be topical and timely to their interests and needs. If an event or offer is over… change it. Give the reader a reason to come back for new information… maybe monthly specials or combo offers.

4. Optimize for mobile.

Take a look at your website on a tablet and smartphone. How easy is it to read. Can you navigate it EASILY or at all? Can you schedule an appointment? If it’s not optimized fix this first. Tracking shows over 65% of page views are now from mobile devices. If you aren’t optimized for these views you are losing appointments.

5. Key information on the top or left.

Your company name and logo need to go in the upper left-hand corner. When smaller screens crop they crop off the right. Keep important info to the left.

Tabs for pages need to be across the top or down the left, never on the right. Have enough tabs to do the job but avoid too many choices.  It may be more effective to have some topics clustered under an easily identifiable heading.

6. Make it easy to connect with you.

Have an easy way for clients to get more information from you.  An opt-in form to gather their email is essential to guide them through the purchasing or contact you process.  People love to get something free.

This makes the easiest way to connect is to offer them free information, a report or other helpful item in exchange for their name and email.  Don’t ask for more than minimal information or you won’t get as many responders.  First, they need to get to know and trust you.

Your free information should be followed by a series of 3-7 autoresponders that offer them additional useful information.  This is also where you need to connect them to a product or service you have for sale.  Be sure to ask for the purchase.  Once this series is set up, it will work for you while you focus on the clients.

7. About you

This tab is essential but often misunderstood.  Its focus should be on what you can do to help the reader…not a brag sheet about you.  Credentials are important proof that are included to show you have the background to do what you say you can do.  Keep it focused on the client.

8. Shopping cart…

If you have a shopping cart, place its access button on the upper right-hand side. Do a test order to make sure it is easy to do on a cell phone or tablet. It’s also valuable to make sure it functions well for both ios and android systems and on a desktop, laptop and mobile devices.

9. Navigation on your website

Group similar items together and place pages in a logical order guiding them forward. You want to help them get acquainted with you, build trust, show your problem solutions and ask them to book. Use page names that clearly state content. Clever names may be confusing. Confusion leads to clicking off your site.

10. Graphics

Images should show experiences, people having a fabulous time. Empty rooms are not as inviting and don’t communicate what they will feel when there. Photos should always relate to the content, not be filler. Make sure their size is appropriate and not slowing down the load time.

11. Animation / videos

Avoid flash. It slows down loading and people also click off. iPads don’t support flash so it will be invisible to the visitor. If you have any animation or video it should always default to the off position. Let viewers have the option of playing it. Have a clear PLAY button. Even better offer a MUTE button for sound… you never know where they are when visiting you. Sounds may not be appropriate.

12. Website SEO

Many websites foundations like WordPress help you with this via a specific plug-in. But, you want to make sure your tech team has the behind-the-scenes elements are in place. Tags, keywords, title lengths, and alt tags are all key elements so search engines will help clients find you. Make sure any keywords/key-phrases are ones your guests would use in searching.

All of your website components should work to get the viewer to take action. You want them to book or call. Help them see the great experience they will have with you. Let them meet the friendly team who will be caring for them. Make choosing you their best possible decision. Easy, smart, a no-brainer.

Need help improving your user experience?  Call Judith today: 541-543-3070 or contact us here.

Readability sells

Readability Sales or No Sales

Frustrated administrator viewing webscreen

Poor readability is stressful

Keep your copy readable to increase sales!

Recently, I received a product promotion from a spa supplier.  I knew the product was a performer, but the description was hard to read.  Readability was at the post-college level.

This prompted me to go online and look at descriptions of the same type of product marketed by department store brands. Their descriptions were much easier to read and focused on what their customer wanted to know.

Readability sells and lack of it hinders sales.

Readability refers to how easily a sentence is read and understood.  Originally, it was used to evaluate educational materials.  Today it is used by well-trained professional marketers.

In today’s world, we are bombarded by electronic marketing. Junk mail, emails, newsletters. We go online; lots more marketing.  Sensory overload.  We are in a hurry. We want what we are looking for quick and easy.  Your potential customers want the same thing.

Every written piece put out there needs to be easy to read.  Website pages, emails, newsletters all need to be visitor friendly and quick to read.

Get their attention fast…

In 2014, Hubspot Marketing reported that you have less than 15 seconds to engage your reader. A surprising 55% of them will click off your page in that period.

If the reader is on a page that doesn’t answer their question or meet a need – they are going to be gone. They are in the wrong place.  But if they are looking for what you have, we need to help them stick around and find it.  We need to make what we have written simple, clear and readable.

Think about opening your email box first thing in the morning. There are probably at least 30 new emails waiting.  You have the time it takes for that first cup of coffee, or whatever before you have to get on with the to-dos.  If you’re like most of us, you look for the obvious ones to delete.  Check, check, check, delete – done.  Then you start with the rest.

Keep it simple and readable with a clear message…

You don’t actually read most emails completely. You quickly skim them to determine their importance and your interest. If they are hard to read, it bogs you down. The more you have to “work” to read the information, the more apt you are to think, just stuff it, and hit delete. The sender loses a potential client. You may miss important information, but it wasn’t presented in a user-friendly way. We are so pressed for time it doesn’t seem worth it to try.

There may be a few you will flag to read later. But later may never come. You see that file still sitting in your inbox several days later. Without reading beyond the subject line, you hit delete. Lost potential sales.

Our potential clients are doing the same thing with what we send to them and when they visit our web pages.  Help them with simplicity, clarity, and readability.


Judith Culp Pearson is a trained marketing specialist with over 30 years in the Spa/wellness industry. She specializes in web copy for Alternative Health & Wellness.  If you’d like to improve the return on your business marketing:


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