People today don’t read like they once did. They glance, skim, and only go into depth reading the information of immediate concern. And a lot of marketing, frankly, is not of immediate concern.

I’ve been trying for years to determine why some marketing, in general, is simply not effective. In fact, sometimes marketing has the opposite effect than what is desired. Case in point: the company brochure or website. Some firms work for months to create the perfect design with the best writing and layout. Yet later they discover that they could have inserted a swear word inside and no one would ever notice it. Why?

The objective of most marketing materials (including your website) is to present your firm describing the services and unique benefits that a client needs and wants. Ultimately, the goal is to have marketing materials so compelling in nature that people look through and then decide they HAVE to do business with the firm. But the reality is, people aren’t reading most brochures or website copy because there is too much of it, they can’t see how it will benefit them, and they know exactly WHY it is being presented to them … to “sell” them something.

A brochure or website filled with well-crafted marketing phrases and pictures of models and ocean waves hitting the shore certainly is aesthetically pleasing. But in order to compel people to read your brochure and find out more about your firm, your message must sound and be authentic.

The words you use should be the words your clients and prospects would use to describe their challenges, needs and wants. Not perfect words and perfect pictures. People want to work with someone they are comfortable with and someone they can trust. In sales, less of the pitch and more of the informal conversational approach has proven to be more successful. And that’s what we need more of today.

Most importantly, we need to appeal to “the glance.” Someone may just take a quick glance at your website to see what you are all about. That first glance typically lasts three seconds and will determine whether they look further and ultimately whether they schedule the appointment with you or not. The key is to engage them with the use of headlines, few but powerful words, and interesting pictures that are authentic to your office.

We are attracted to real, authentic marketing and portrayals of what you do and who you are. So, remove the perfect-ness in your marketing and replace it with you. Use real pictures of people in your office, create a video, write more like you talk, and keep it concise. Show them the real you. You may be surprised at how much more attractive you are — without any of the fluff!

For more from Maribeth Kuzmeski, see: