Bullets are the little typographical symbols that signify a list is coming. They show items of equal importance but listed on separate lines. The reader sees them as little mini bits of knowledge that help them make their decision about buying from you.
These are extremely powerful in copy. Often these little guys make or break your sale. They are very quick to read and can explode on impact, creating an emotional response more effectively in many cases than a longer paragraph. But do you know the rules of punctuating bullets?
Copy isn’t bound by the strict rules your English teacher from grammar school forced you to follow. Nevertheless, you should know the rules before you break or bend them. Consistency keeps the flow going. So be aware of these rules of style to keep you on track.
1) If the list items are complete sentences, go ahead and treat them as such. You’d start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark.
• This is a complete sentence.
• Don’t forget to capitalize the first word.
• Remember to add a period at the end.
2) Got an incomplete sentence on your hands? No problem. Here are two different accepted methods of attack.
• You don’t even have to capitalize the first letter;
• but end with a comma OR a semi-colon;
• again, consistency is key;
• the second to last line ends with “and;”
• the last item has a period.
Start the introductory sentence with a dash or a colon or my favorite…the ellipsis point (the trailing off of a thought or a significant pause)…
• This is my favorite brand of bullets
• Always start with a capital letter
• No end punctuation in sight
Make Your Bullets Work Harder
These benign looking little dots can pack a powerful wallop in the sales arena. But do you know how to make them even more effective? Allow me to demonstrate:
• Always aim for a minimum list of 5 or more bullets. (Odd numbers are more effective than even numbers.)
• It’s okay to have more than one set of bullets reinforcing some of the same facts.
• Add every feature and benefit in here.
• Strategically bold or italicize keyword phrases so scanners can still get the gist of what you’re selling without having to read every word of copy on the first pass.
• Alternate what are called “blind bullets” with hard facts. A blind bullet is a teaser that whets your appetite, but can use without ever having to get your product.
o What should NEVER be on your webpage – yet 88% of websites ignore it. (blind bullet)
o Nearly twice as many women (12%) as men (7%) are affected by a depressive illness or overwhelm from life each year. (hard fact)
• Add the page number in parenthesis where the reader can find the information (example: see page 96).
Bullet Templates You Can Steal
Ever get hung up writing your own bullets? Me too. So keep these templates handy for your swipe file.
• One mistake _____ make is….
• How to _____________…
• The truth behind __________________.
• Do _________________ effortlessly and easily.
• Has a proven track record so that _______.
The way you word your bullets can psychologically move your prospect toward the sale. They help him or her overcome internal objections they may not even be aware of. Plus they add a graphical element to your copy, making it breezier to read through.
Author Resource -> Copywriting guru Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero has been helping entrepreneurs and copywriters get their marketing messages razor sharp since 1999.