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If there’s one rule you should always follow when writing sales copy, it’s to emphasize the most important points as clearly as possible using conspicuous formatting.

The benefits of doing this are obvious: when you emphasize key information using a different font style, size or color, you increase the chance that your readers will actually pay attention to that information. Still, the internet is littered with sales pages that use either “no” formatting (i.e. default formatting), or very little formatting (maybe the occasional bold headline, but nothing more).

Obviously, if your copy is not rich in effective formatting, your conversion rates will suffer. So, without further ado, here are four rules for formatting copy that gets results.

1. In the headline, use bright colors, bold typeface and big letters.

Studies show that the average web surfer doesn’t stay on a website, sales page or blog post long enough to read past the headline. So, naturally, you need to learn how to create headlines that hook the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. A big part of this is writing a headline that is actually interesting; however, it is equally important to format the text in your headline so that it stands out. Using a striking font style (like impact), color (red or blue), and size (18-24 pt, depending on the font). You can also use programs like illustrator to turn headlines into images with shadow, glow, bevels, etc.

2. Use bright colors and bold typeface to emphasize key words and phrases.

In any given paragraph, use bold typeface and/or bright colors to make the most important information stand out. Depending on how much information you want to emphasize, you can just use one emphasis style throughout the copy (for example, using bold black text wherever emphasis is needed), or multiple (for example, using bold black text by default, but also using bold red text when you have a lot of information to emphasize in a paragraph). You can also underline text to emphasize it, but this tends to be distracting.

3. Use bullet points to present important facts

This, again, is related to people’s short attention spans. For the same reason that most people won’t read further than the headline, most people also won’t read information presented in the form of long paragraphs. You can get around this to some extent by using shorter paragraphs; however, when you really need to get a lot of dense, important information (e.g. features and benefits) out there, you should really be using bullet points.

4. Leave a lot of white space on the page.

It’s best to leave a lot of white space on the page, because readers are often daunted and turned off by a lot of dense text. You can leave a lot of white space on the page by double spacing between paragraphs, using sub-heads and using bullet points. When you use these formatting techniques, you create the impression that your copy is not going to take too long to read, which will make viewers more likely to actually read it.

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