Blaise Pascal once wrote to a friend saying: ‘I have written you a long letter as I do not have time to write a short one’. This embodies a perennial problem – that often key messages are lost in a rather wordy explanation. It also highlights an increasing trend in our modern societies – that messages have to be short and sharp, as they compete with so many others.
If someone were to ask why you, as a real estate agent, are so effective at your job, you could likely take hours listing the reasons. You’d work through the numbers of how many houses you’ve been able to buy and sell to the advantage of your client, your responsiveness and a host of other sterling skills.
With all that information, it should be a breeze to market yourself. You have so much to say, so how could folks not leap at the chance to work with you?
Unfortunately, great agents all too often see their marketing campaigns fizzle and fail, despite the plethora of information provided. Sometimes, the cause is the information itself! Trying to explain too many aspects of yourself can be overwhelming and can encourage your lead to tune out rather than take in the info.
This phenomenon should drive you to create marketing pieces with the perfect balance of information and attention capturing. What is this perfect balance you ask?
First, the piece must be eye-catching. Even though many pieces are read immediately upon receipt, it’s still important to stand out from the mix. Pairing a stunning and appropriate image with a headline that explains exactly why someone should work with you will cause the reader to stop and really take note of what you’re saying.
So what are you saying? Ironically, the fewer words used, the more importance will be given to their meaning. That’s where the use of sub-headings and captions can help to let the viewer glance at and take in all the important topics. If they want further details, they can continue reading, but even the deeper reading is summed up in a paragraph.
What about when you’ve got more information than just one paragraph can hold? Instead of creating additional reading, find visual ways to represent what needs to be said. A chart or a graph is far easier to understand and more visually appealing than an additional paragraph. Using this technique, you can provide a lot of information in a small space, sometimes with no words other than the headline and the column headings.
Even with short copy, there are a few additions you can make to sweeten the piece. Though you want to be visually appealing, you should avoid looking too busy. Even the most amazing headline can be drowned if the background is too distracting.
Choosing a single image or series of well-laid images can keep your piece simple, yet effective. The layout of the words, charts, and headlines should be arranged so that the eye is naturally drawn from one to the next. With carefully arranging, you can control the order in which the reader will process your information, giving you added potential for effectiveness.
Oh, and “P.S.”– don’t be afraid to use a postscript, it’s one of the most frequently read parts of marketing copy!!
Combining copywriting, graphic design, and data representation into an effective “short and sweet” piece can increase readership — and thus responses to — your marketing pieces.