Marketing “Rules”

You may or may not know that there are “rules” of engagement when it comes to how your marketing looks. My air quotes are there because I’m in the “rules are made to be broken” camp.

You too?

Perfect. We’re on the same page.

But speaking of pages …

There are some rules that make good damn sense and ought to be paid attention to when it comes to your sales pages … you know those important pieces of internet real estate that exist in order to sell your thing.

You should know the rules (and walk the line) when it comes to increasing readership, increasing engagement, and obviously when it comes to getting people to buy from your sales pages.

Here are a few rules NOT to screw with when it comes to putting $$$ in your bank account

(formatting your sales pages = same diff)


I know you love your logo and you’ve worked super hard at branding your business. But, headlines are for captivating your prospect.

The whole 5 inches at the top of a landing page is precious space that should be strictly reserved for your killer headline.

The point is, you need to pretend that your prospect has the attention span of a 2 year old … he or she has no time to waste digesting your logo image, and no motivation to search for the meaning in your sales copy.

The meaning … the “what’s in it for them” has got to JUMP right off the page and grab them by the throat right there in the beginning.

Don’t put your logo there.

This goes doubly true for direct mail. If you need your logo or typical letterhead information on a piece of paper, put that at the bottom of the page.


You know how people say “oh, I hate those long scrolly sales letters”?

Well, those people are not your prospects.

If they were, they would have eagerly devoured your entire sales page (so long as your copy is up to snuff) and not noticed that the page was long because they’d be genuinely interested in what you have to say.

But second, people hate those pages because they can’t find what they need when they need it.

If they’ve read to the point where they’re sold, primed, and ready to buy, then they should not have to scroll 12 more times to find a buy button.

Place one button right after you introduce the offer and then place them every so often (about every 400 words or so) to give them easy access to invest when they’re ready.

I do NOT recommend placing so many buy buttons that it looks like Las Vegas on your sales page.

But I do recommend some common sense placement after important points, often enough so that your prospect can EASILY buy from you.

Because you don’t want to make it hard for them to buy, right? Right.


I could (and might) write a book on this one topic. But I want to keep this short and actionable for you.

The main idea here is that if your prospect has to squint or work really hard to read your offer, they’re not gonna do it.

And if they don’t read, they don’t buy.

Widen the margins – I recommend a 2.5” margin on both sides of the page. Of course if your page is mobile responsive it will adjust to fit a phone or a tablet.

But when someone reads from a computer, the last thing they want to do is ping pong their neck back and forth while they read your sales copy.

Give ’em a break and make things super easy by having those nice wide margins.

Hey, you can even do a fancy parallax sales page or a more modern approach cosmetically and still adhere to this rule. Just focus on readability.

Limit reverse print – Reverse print is when the background is dark and the text is light. It’s just harder to read.

We break this rule on some of the sales pages on this website where we’ve used a dark background in some areas. But, yep, rules are meant to be broken. And we’ve done so sparingly and just for visual impact, to keep things interesting.

Do you. Just be smart about how hard it might be for Homer Simpson to read what you’ve written after a few beers.

Use cosmetic enhancements … sparingly – So many times when I review copy for those who are new to Direct Response, I see them go overboard with the underlining, bolding, and highlighting. It gets a little crazy.

I actually love cosmetic enhancements like that and highly recommend you use them to help the skimmers quickly and easily digest your sales message without having to read every word.

But if you go overboard and enhance every other phrase and lots of single words, it will have the opposite effect. It will not be easy to read. It will make things harder for Homer.

Hint – check out my bolding on this page (couldn’t highlight, dangit WordPress). What I’ve enhanced tells the story so you can skim if you want. Most of your prospects are skimming. It’s a very good idea to cater to them and point out the stuff you don’t want them to miss.

And a word about underlining …

Don’t do it online unless the word or phrase is hyperlinked.

Underlining when there is no link makes your reader potentially think that there is a link to be clicked, then he tries to click, and thus gets distracted from the task at hand (buying your thing). Let’s just remove all obstacles from the buying process that we can find.

In fact, I know if you could you’d find a way to help your prospect take his wallet out and buy your product or service … because they NEED you. You’ve got good stuff.

Go get em Tiger! reconstruction update:​

This blog is a hot mess! 

But better for you

to have some weird looking content that's interesting

to read than NO CONTENT at all!

Enjoy, if your eyes can handle it.