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Question on Highlighting of Text

I would like to get some opinions from direct marketing people on the use of highlighting (yellow, for example) text in direct mail copy--and on websites. I'm looking for pros and cons, and, comparisons in effectiveness with underlining text and the use of bold type.

Thanks in advance. - by Gary Boye
First, I'm not in Direct Marketing so I don't really qualify to respond to your question. However, if you're interested, from a visitor perspective I don't mind bolded words but highlighted words seems fake or contrived. - by Calvin
I don't have any stats, but conventional wisdom for Websites is underlined text means hyperlink...doesn't mean it isn't effective though. I've also noticed a lot of highlighting going on with some of the major online marketers (as well as in some direct mailings), which means it may be working.

Every situation is different. To really tell, running a test would be in order (one version without highlight or underline, one with). This could be pretty quickly set up online...use testing software to alternately serve up two versions of a Web page and record cliks and conversions for each. You could generate traffic through AdWords, Overture or other ppc program. - by Bobette Kyle
I've also noticed a lot of highlighting going on with some of the major online marketers (as well as in some direct mailings), which means it may be working.
Yes--I noticed some real conflicting opinions among the experts on this. Calvin's comments are in line with some reservations I have myself.

It's interesting--I've met a couple of old pro direct mail copywriters in my travels. They have been successful sellers over the years seeling "how to" packets and they put a lot of stock into writing with a visual flair. Both were adamant on using yellow backgrounds on the web--and lots of black and red in text. Obviously you can't highlight in yellow on yellow backgounds--but their philosophy of schmaltz was consistent with those who advocate it. - by Gary Boye
Here's my two cents as a consumer (of course, I have no idea if I'm typical). I like to be lead through the most important ideas. If a headline catches my eye, I'll glance through reading the bold. highlighted or otherwise emphasied points. If I'm still interested, I'll read more detail.

If you do some testing, I'd love to hear what you learn. Personally, I think times are changing and I'm skeptical about whether what worked for years will continue to work in the future. My father sold his "wares" entirely through mailings (in the 70s). He swore a sales letter needed to be an 11 X 17 (folded in half like a book) 4-page 2-color letter. He consistently got his 3%-5% percent response. I think people are much more harried today. I can't picture my prospects taking the time to read anything that lengthy.

That having been said...eye catching contrast still gets my attention! - by RainMaker
I think you'll find subheads highlighted in yellow (not all of them) and also some testimonials.
On average, people spend 7 seconds before they click away. Highlighting text helps draw the reader in, so they be more likely to read further.

Susan - by susana
Highlighted text screams old school sales copy. I'd avoid it and stick with effective use of bolding, italics, underlining and white space. - by Jolly Roger
Highlighted text screams old school sales copy. I'd avoid it and stick with effective use of bolding, italics, underlining and white space.
I agree. Highlighted texts remind me of old-school internet marketers. But again, it really depends. I'll do A/B testing first.I won't use underline texts online if it is not a hyperlink though. - by msato
I don't mind bolded words but highlighted words seems fake or contrived.
I'm on the same opinion. Some bolding is fine, but I hate highlights and big red headlines. To me that's tacky. - by Bald Dog
Having spent the last 5 years learning all about marketing on the internet and having spent at least $80,000 to learn it I can proudly boast to being only the second person here to have the right answer to the question.

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