Words matter. They matter when you speak them, and they matter when you write them. That’s especially true when you write them down for consumers to read. As much as you would like to believe your customers or members are reading everything you write, they’re not. The truth is they may not be reading anything you write if you aren’t giving them anything relevant or meaningful. Here are some tips for writing copy consumers will actually read.

Get to the point

The phrase “less is more” is so true for marketing copy. Most consumers are browsing your website or skimming your brochures for a specific purpose. Give them the most important information first and continue on with the second most important thing, and so on. It’s called writing in pyramid style.

Have you ever looked for a recipe online and had to scroll past five pictures of the blogger preparing the recipe before you found what you needed? That’s how your customers or members feel when you bury the information they need. If you make them read or scroll too much before they find any information of value, you lose their attention.

Kiss (Keep It Short and Simple)

The most effective marketing pieces are the ones with just enough copy to tell consumers what they want to know. Most of the time, it doesn’t even require full paragraphs – just an introductory sentence or two followed by bullet points.

Years ago when digital marketing first became a thing, marketers took advantage of unlimited space, which allowed them to use as many words as possible to tout their products or services. At the time, consumers ate it up. Technology has evolved, however, and attention spans have become so short that people can’t even put down their phones long enough to drive. They don’t want paragraph upon paragraph of information and industry jargon. They want short and sweet in their own language.

Explain what’s in it for the reader

Marketing teams love their financial institutions, and they want to share everything they know about them with consumers. Is that what their customers and members want to hear, though? Your financial institution has made great strides since the day it opened in the closet of the local general store, but what does that have to do with consumers today? Is that story saving them time, earning them money or putting them in the car or house of their dreams? Consumers want to know what’s in it for them. If you don’t answer that, you’re wasting your marketing dollars on material they aren’t reading.

Focus on benefits over features

Financial institutions are notorious for marketing features over benefits – especially on loans. Terms as high as 60 months. 100% Financing. Quick approval. Those are all features. Turn those into benefits. For example, affordable monthly payments when you choose longer terms, pay no money out-of-pocket and apply, get approved and drive away on the same day. Your customers or members don’t want to pay more than they have to, and they want the process to go smoothly and quickly. That’s what you need to promote. If you have a really unique feature that nobody else has, definitely promote it, but also explain how it benefits the consumer.

When you give consumers relevant messages in the format they want to receive it, you increase your odds of getting a better return on your marketing collateral and marketing dollars.

Note: This article originally ran on Deluxe.