Copy Cosmetics, the Secret to Improved Conversions

Improve Conversions with Copy Cosmetics

Improve Conversions with Copy Cosmetics

There are numerous articles, blog posts and books about how to improve conversions of your sales and opt-in pages.

They talk about the headline, the offer, entering the conversation in the prospects head, the P.S. and all kinds of stuff that is very important but one thing very few people talk about is copy cosmetics.

Michel Fortin talks about it a little in his article “What Copy Cosmetics Communicate“.

Dan Kennedy talks about it in his “Ultimate Sales Letter” and in April 1998 he wrote in his newsletter that “Cosmetics Matter!”

Mike Capuzzi, of course, talks about it on his blog.

And you can find a bit here and there but for as important as it is, particularly nowadays, there’s really a lack of information on what copy cosmetics are, how they can be used, and how much they improve conversions.

So, I’m going to go help rectify that with some blog posts of my own on copy cosmetics.

What are Copy Cosmetics?

Copy Cosmetics are graphical elements that are used to transform plain ad copy into powerful marketing material that engage prospects; basically they are anything that isn’t plain text which spans a wide range including:

  • Bullets
  • Text decorations like bold dace, italics, underlining
  • Scribbles
  • Subheadings
  • Circles
  • Arrows
  • Graphic underlines
  • Highlighting and shading
  • Boxes
  • Accent characters
  • Photographs
  • Background colors and patterns
  • Different fonts

Here’s some examples of copy cosmetics…

Copy Cosmetics Samples

Copy Cosmetics Samples

Why Use Copy Cosmetics

There are a number of powerful reasons you want to be using copy cosmetics in your marketing, they include:

  • Grabs the reader’s attention
  • Make the page or letter easier to read
  • Make the page or letter more pleasant to read
  • Adds personality to your sales copy
  • Highlights key points in your marketing message
  • Gives skimmers an alternate reading path and stops them so they see more of your message
  • Appears more personal
  • Get your prospects to take action

Not sure, let’s look at an example.

Before and After Copy Cosmetics

Before and After Copy Cosmetics

I think you can see even from the small example that copy cosmetics make a big difference.

Where to Use Copy Cosmetics

This is easy, use them anywhere and everywhere!

Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t turn your marketing materials into a mass of hieroglyphics because it’s important to use the right copy cosmetic at the right place; every technique should be thought out and have a specific function purpose in the whole of the message.

But it does mean that there is no place that you shouldn’t use them if it’s appropriate and adds to your message.

The main problem that I’ve seen when people start using copy cosmetics is that they go overboard.

Either they use the cosmetics in too many places — you want to stop the reader at important points not train them that your cosmetics aren’t important because you used to many.

Or they use too many different ones — so that it looks like a wall that’s been tagged by a every graffiti artist in New York City!

Or they use too so many colors that it looks like a mural simultaneously painted by 100, 5-year olds!

And then there are the people who do all three, I call those pages “Tammy Faye Baker” pages :-)

Don’t overuse any of the copy cosmetics, you want that natural look not the heavily made up look and really if you were writing this by hand would you use 8 different styles of writing (fonts) and a dozen different pens (colors)?

No, and you certainly would be scribbled everywhere on the page so that it was basically unreadable.

So, use a scribble font now and then to focus attention on a key point; or add an arrow, circle or underline to emphasize a point; or put in subheading to break up big blocks of text but don’t abuse the privilege and go overboard with the “gunk”.

Quick Copy “Make Up” Tips

Copy Cosmetics Quick TipsThere are some good rules to follow with your copy cosmetics, here are some tips to best use them on your pages and other material:

  • Pick 2-3 colors for all your cosmetic elements and stick to those.
  • Pick 2-3 fonts for all your cosmetics elements and stick to those.
  • Use sans serif fonts for your materials on screen and serif fonts for print materials.
  • Use different font sizes for different things, for example: big sizes for headlines; middle size for section subheading; and regular size for the normal accents.
  • Use text decoration and styling (bold, italics, underlining, highlighting) to put inflections and emphasis into your marketing material.
  • Use hand-drawn scribbles to add accents, “margin notes” and other cosmetic touches to focus attention on key points.
  • Use photographs where appropriate and use benefit-driven captions on your photos except in those rare circumstances where it doesn’t make sense.
  • Use boxes to highlight specific sections like product description, call to actions, etc.
  • Use section subheading to frame sections of your message and to stop skimmers; if they see a subheading they like they’ll stop and read.

Now Go Out and Use Copy Cosmetics

With this quick run through you now know what copy cosmetics are, why you want to use them, where to use them, and how to use them.

If you keep these tips and guidelines in mind you’ll find your conversion rates soar!

Next time I’ll show you some specific copy cosmetics and ways to use them.


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