Long Copy Sales Letters-Do they really Work?

43 replies
Long Copy Sales Letters-Do they really Work for marketers today?

I'm not a personal fan of "long copy" sales letters that I believe are a hallmark of Dan Kennedy proselytes, that go on and on and on. It's my personal belief that this type of sales copy is ineffective, yet I see a large majority of marketers churning out long sales copy like they have nothing better to do than write copy all day long in their attempts to hook new customers.

I own a brick and border business and I write the sales copy myself, the longest sales letter is on the front page of my insurance web site including only 1 real testimonial.

To me I'm inundated with marketers attempting to sell me products and services each week and half if not more are the inevitable 5-12 page Dan Kennedy type of letters. I read the headline and skip to the end to see the offer and don't even bother wasting time reading the fluff in the middle.

Here's my theory on why long sales letters are a complete waste of time in our day:

Business owners are super busy, so your sales message needs to be concise and to the point. As some one mentioned previously if you don't "hook" them immediately they will spit out the bait and swim after other tasty morsels.

What do you all think? Long sales letter copy thumbs up, or thumbs own?
#copy #lettersdo #long #sales #work
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    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for the reply and consolidated back posts, they are helpful for new folks like myself who hate reading long sales copy or wasting hours of time reading through back posts!
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  • Profile picture of the author CabTenson
    Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post

    I own a brick and border business and I write the sales copy myself
    Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post

    Business owners are super busy, so your sales message needs to be concise and to the point.
    Your logic fails:

    You are the owner of a brick-and-mortar business.
    Business owners are busy. Too busy to read long copy.
    However, you DO have time to post on the Warrior Forum and wait for responses (which most busy business owners would not do).
    Are you REALLY that busy?

    Come back here when your opinions match your behaviors. Options:
    (a) Accept that you are not as busy as you think and often waste time. THEN you can come back and solicit opinions on the Warrior Forum.
    (b) Become truly busy and watch as your desire to post on this forum fades into the distance.

    -Cab

    P.S. I openly admit that I am not busy and often waste time, which is why I am allowed on this forum.
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      • Profile picture of the author CabTenson
        Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post

        Wow that's quite insulting...touch a nerve somehow with yourself?

        How could you make any type of judgement call on a person's level of activity? (immaturity perhaps)

        It's amazing to me the things that some individuals feel free to spout freely and openly on forum pages when they are not face to face, would you make such a judgemental statement to me if you met me face to face? (Or would you not have the courage to make such a forthright statement if you met me personally?)
        It's not "insulting" to point out that your opinions don't match your behavior. You are being defensive, though, which I understand.

        This is not the first time I've had a conversation with a business owner about this.

        They say: Long copy doesn't work.

        I say: Remember that long letter I sent you that got you to call me?

        They respond: But...the studies on people's attention spans...The fact that business owners are busy...

        I respond: You are a business owner. You are "busy", and yet you responded to my long copy which is why we are talking right now.

        Anyway, long story short, I've had this conversation before. I'm not hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet. You're just being sensitive because no one likes to be pointed out as a hypocrite. Understood.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
          Banned
          I don't think Jack wants to be persuaded or told otherwise. He already thinks he's right and everybody else is wrong rendering the original question perfectly pointless in his particular case.


          Mark Andrews
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          • Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

            I don't think Jack wants to be persuaded or told otherwise. He already thinks he's right and everybody else is wrong rendering the original question perfectly pointless in his particular case.


            Mark Andrews
            So Mark the same applies to you? (don't confuse me with the facts kind of guy)

            I do have a strong opinion, long copy may have merits in the informational sales, but how big is that industry compared to lets say a tire manufacturer?

            Sorry that it offends you, but it is my opinion and others opinion as well...I guess I really stirred up a hornets nest with you copywriting folks...well it's good to get the blood pumping through our veins don't you agree?
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            • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
              Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post

              I do have a strong opinion, long copy may have merits in the informational sales, but how big is that industry compared to lets say a tire manufacturer?
              You're comparing two things that aren't anything alike so it's not a relevant comparison. Different needs, different markets, different customer demographics, different price points.

              For example...

              Your insurance office may be a multi-million dollar office... there's been a number of info-products that have produced more in sales in a few days or a week than your company makes in a year.

              Not a relevant comparison.

              Your insurance office might be larger than most insurance offices in your area (or the U.S.) of the same niche... but if I compare your business to Nestle' (69.6 billion in 2011 sales) then your business looks like a dust particle in comparison.

              Again, not a relevant comparision.

              Moving on...

              You asked about selling products or services to non-marketers. I've done it numerous times in my career as a small business owner and as a copywriter.

              When I owned a massage therapy center, I used a 4 page direct mail salesletter for a brand-new referral generation campaign I created. That letter produced more than a 15% response rate and brought in dozens of new clients for my center.

              As a copywriter, I've written a lot of health-related (disease prevention, natural cures, weight loss, etc) copy over the years but here's two current examples.

              One of my recent projects was for a healthy weight loss bootcamp for women. Using a 9+ page online salesletter I produced five figures in a week for my client on a program that was less than $100 to enroll. Several months later, we brought the program back again and produced another five figure week with the same 9+ page salesletter.

              I'm currently working on a project for a client that sells nutritional supplements... over $50 million per year worth of them. I've been hired to write a 10+ page sales letter and video script to sell one of their products. They hired me to do so because they have tested extensively and they have found long copy sells THEIR products better than short copy.

              That's the big takeaway that you seem to be missing Jack.

              There is no marketing method that fits every situation. Kind of like assuming that one type of insurance fits the complete needs of every single prospect who contacts your office.

              Yes, long copy doesn't work for every marketing need. Neither does short copy. Neither does video... or radio... or any other form of media.

              A smart marketer recognizes that and uses the right tool for the job at hand.

              Take care,

              Mike
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        • Originally Posted by CabTenson View Post

          It's not "insulting" to point out that your opinions don't match your behavior. You are being defensive, though, which I understand.

          This is not the first time I've had a conversation with a business owner about this.

          They say: Long copy doesn't work.

          I say: Remember that long letter I sent you that got you to call me?

          They respond: But...the studies on people's attention spans...The fact that business owners are busy...

          I respond: You are a business owner. You are "busy", and yet you responded to my long copy which is why we are talking right now.

          Anyway, long story short, I've had this conversation before. I'm not hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet. You're just being sensitive because no one likes to be pointed out as a hypocrite. Understood.
          I agree with you on one point, at one time I did respond to long copy. After wasting tens of thousands of dollars on empty promises from marketers more interested in stuffing their pockets with my cash versus providing a legitimate system that is actually valuable to a business owner...i wised up.

          Much of the informational products sold are essentially useless, did I hit a particular nerve with you?

          Why don't you share your opinion with me in person? I would be happy to meet with you in person. Next time you are in Cincinnati stop on by let's chat in person. This is my address: 4221 Malsbary Rd. Suite 201 Cincinnati, Ohio 45242. Office number is 513-662-7000, feel free to call and schedule an appointment with my assistant Jada. Occasionally I answer the phone myself, let's get together and have a discussion.

          Since I shared my address why not do the same, how about your telephone number, we can chat when we both have a few minutes, how does that sound to you?

          PS: All you need to do to verify that is my correct address is to google pathway insurance, or click on my link. I sure hope you are not some kind of psycho killer with revenge in our heart for calling you out. You aren't a psycho killer are you? If so let me give you the address to my closest competitor.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wytnyt
    Gary Halbert's own example (written in my own words, of course, I couldn't remember everything he said exactly):

    "One day, God gives you the opportunity to choose the woman of your dreams out a selection of women. The catch is, you can't speak to them or even see them. They can only communicate to you through one letter.

    Naturally, you wouldn't like a short, concise, direct-to-the-point letter containing something like 'Hi I'm Angie, I'm a good God-fearing girl who loves to take long strolls on the beach and watch movies...". Instead, you would want to know every single detail about her. From the color of her hair, to her eyes, down to her toes.

    The same way with long copy."

    I think that's how he said it in an interview with Michael Fortin.

    My take on that was, even though businessmen are super busy with their lives, they need to know every single detail about a certain investment or product they would be buying. Scratch that, they don't really need to know, they actually WANT to know every detail.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Vincent.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    Pathway,

    So when you go buy a brand new reliable car...but tired of being screwed by other car dealers...

    ...all you want is a page length pitch?

    Maybe for you, but not for me...

    I'd want to hear EVERYTHING that has to do with the car...EVERY detail, the complete guarantee, why I should buy from that dealer and not the other desperate ones...

    And maybe that's what everyone else wants...

    Remember, the costumer is always right.

    If long sales copy is all you see, then there is a reason for that... we don't do it because we are bored....

    ....Or because we have nothing better to do.


    My 2 pesos...

    David
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    • Here's a few thoughts, on a never - ending subject.


      Copy can never be too long - but it can be too boring.


      Apart from us copywriters and red hot prospects - nobody else in the history and future of the universe is likely to say they "like" long copy - "Oh wow - just what I need a 24 page letter to read - bliss and joy!" (they are too busy, it'll take ages, it's a "sales spiel" ...)


      Also unenlightened clients hate the idea of long copy (it's too expensive, it's "selling" - we shouldn't really do that, nobody will read it...)



      And most people don't read every word in long copy pieces - they skip through it (that's why it has subheads, bullets and P.S's).


      So why do we do it? - well the cynics might say - we would all be paid a lot less less if we only wrote 1 or 2 page letters.


      But that's not the reason.


      It's because...


      $100's millions of "tests" conclusively proves that long copy sells.

      It always has - and always will.

      No great need to wonder why (but if you must - the best answer is - the more you tell - the more you sell).

      You've just got to write is properly.


      Steve
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  • I'm not going to get into a long argument about this, but here's a pro tip:

    Long form sales letters are typically written assuming that the reader will skip to the end, hence the quick recap and post script notes emphasizing the most important points. The point of the pages and pages of copy is to persuade readers who aren't convinced right away when they skip to the bottom of the page.
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    THUMBS DOWN for long copy!

    Bottom-Line: "the less you tell the more you sell..." I've been trying to convince the company I work for to start mailing blank pages.

    Colm
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    • Originally Posted by colmodwyer View Post

      THUMBS DOWN for long copy!

      Bottom-Line: "the less you tell the more you sell..." I've been trying to convince the company I work for to start mailing blank pages.

      Colm
      I completely agree!
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      • My personal opinion is that long copy is stone age marketing in an era of short attention spans...that being said I attempt to delegate as much as I can to my employees working in my business.

        Proof is in the pudding so to speak. A personal opinion is different from a fact...if you truly believe that long copy works and can prove it by new business sales, I.e. how much new business revenue did you generate in 2011 and so far in 2012 for long copy sales letters?

        I am honestly curious, my intention is not to insult or embarrass as some feel free to do.

        I have become quite a skilled copywriter for my insurance business, I generate a significant amount of business to my company by means of short copy sales letters, we insure business owners and those who are not business owners and I have personally found long copy to be completely ineffective.

        If you are skilled in long copy sales letters, what products are you selling? Is it to only other marketers? If so do you year in, and year out generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit to yourself from long copy sales letters? Or is it feast and then famine?

        I honestly want to know if you are a long copy sales letter pro what you target? Do you make $250,000 or more per year in US dollars? I'm not asking you to share your copywriting secrets if you are skilled in writing copy... because I would not share with anyone how I do it myself...my general opinion is that long copy sales letters is stone age marketing, other than to other naive marketers looking for the next get rich scheme...prove me wrong.

        Prove to me long copy sales letters work on non marketers by fact, not opinion. (I can prove short copy works for my main business.)
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        • If short copy works so well for you - that's great.


          If you've proven that your long copy was a disaster - at least you know.

          You've done your own research, you tell us you're "quite a skilled" copywriter.

          And for you in this ceaseless argument over Long Copy v Short Copy - short copy wins.

          Good.


          Certainly there is no harm at all in you asking your questions.

          But why are you bothered?


          Steve


          P.S. Over 28 years I've sold stacks of different stuff mainly to consumers, business and domestic (not marketeers) - and long copy has always won by a country mile.

          In the beginning it surprised me - because it's unlikely anyone reads the whole "pitch"

          But the results don't lie. Sales jumped by over 70% with longer copy. And bigger Ads.

          Revenues are considerably more than $250,000 a year. And they increase year on year.


          For what it's worth - I've found - sometimes - not always - short copy can work if the stuff is very cheap, or if your "audience" knows you extremely well.
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
          Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post

          My personal opinion is that long copy is stone age marketing in an era of short attention spans...that being said I attempt to delegate as much as I can to my employees working in my business.
          Attention spans might be shorter, especially with the under 30 markets but long copy still works. Even video salesletters are long copy (transcribe one by hand sometime and you'll see what I mean).

          Delegating to employees in a brick and mortar business is a great idea to free you up for other vital tasks.

          Proof is in the pudding so to speak. A personal opinion is different from a fact...if you truly believe that long copy works and can prove it by new business sales, I.e. how much new business revenue did you generate in 2011 and so far in 2012 for long copy sales letters?
          Due to signing non-disclosure agreements with some of my clients, I can't share how everything I written for my clients has performed. Since some of my deals include ongoing royalties, I'm not going to cut my own professional throat to publicly divulge details of those projects.

          What I can say is for 2011 and 2012 (by your request) what I have written is 100% long-style copy (including emails) and it has produced millions in new sales for my clients. One of my current non-IM controls is a 15+ page online salesletter. It has been converting at better than 3% for more than 4 months for $300+ service.

          In 2010, I wrote a 12 page direct mail salesletter for an insurance marketing guru. It was selling a $1K+ training seminar to insurance agency principals. That piece produced about $70K in the first 48 hours and over $300K in the first week alone for my client.

          As for short copy working for your insurance business... good for you. If your writing style works best with shorter copy, then congrats on finding what works for your business. You may only need short copy to sell the benefits of your insurance programs and position yourself differently from your competition (hopefully on something other than low price).

          Please keep in mind that what works (marketing-wise) for your business may not work for other niches.

          It's been my almost 20 year experience (first as a brick and mortar business owner and then a professional copywriter) that the higher the price point, the more copy you frequently need to sell it. You need the extra space to cover all of the benefits they'll gain by becoming a customer. The same is true for products with multiple benefits or features (i.e. an ebook on 50 different ways to drive traffic to your website).

          One more point on long-copy... you or your staff may already be using it with your sales scripts. Specifically phone scripts on answering prospect questions and overcoming objections.
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          • Importantly – long copy doesn’t mean an endless rambling monologue full of drivel going nowhere - desperately screaming “Buy this!” Buy this!” Buy this!”

            Instead it’s got to be an irresistible sales piece – but it should never read like a "pitch"

            It’s enthralling, entertaining, persuasive and compelling. Firing up the reader’s desires for the service or product.

            Well formatted and easy to read – the result being the reader says - “Yes, this is good, and I’m buying it” – and they are buying for their reasons - they never feel they’ve been sold to.

            It's very difficult to do this using short copy.


            Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author Robert_Rand
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          • Wow hit some sensitive spots for some of the copy writers, someone mentioned that there are ones as forum members that are making 10 million per year, that I seriously doubt.

            Still what I've read from the responses convinces me further that long copy sales letters are targeting marketers with the next get rich scheme or how to make a million dollars per year in your underwear.

            If you are not selling a "guaranteed to succeed" business system to other marketers, business owners, or wanna bee home based entrepreneurs, where else would a long copy sales letter be effective?

            For instance copywriters, how effective would a 10 page sales letter be to sell insurance, tires, watches, televisions, new automobiles, iPads, computers, lawn care service, dental service, medical service, stocks, books, houses, boats, farm tractors...I know you get my point I'm assuming?

            Long copy sales letters can't be effective in selling everyday items or services and that's why it is stone age marketing. It's completely ineffective in selling the most common products and services. I'm sorry that offends you but it's the truth.

            If someone wants to buy insurance are they really going to read a 20 page sales letter?

            Absolutely not. However on the other hand if you are an informational marketer selling. $1-$3,000 sales course promising to make your buyers the next millionaire business guru (in your underwear)you need that 20-30 page copy I'm assuming...

            A long copy sales letter for everyday products and services are useless and ineffective...because they do not work. Now a video is a different story as someone pointed out and I personally agree...think infomercials.

            Infomercials do work, but long copy sales letters do not, unless you are selling informational products.
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            • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
              Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post


              For instance copywriters, how effective would a 10 page sales letter be to sell insurance, tires, watches, televisions, new automobiles, iPads, computers, lawn care service, dental service, medical service, stocks, books, houses, boats, farm tractors...I know you get my point I'm assuming?

              Long copy sales letters can't be effective in selling everyday items or services and that's why it is stone age marketing. It's completely ineffective in selling the most common products and services. I'm sorry that offends you but it's the truth.

              If someone wants to buy insurance are they really going to read a 20 page sales letter?
              Long form letters are currently used to sell stocks (though a prospectus is not technically a sales document). I use long form letters to sell niche affinity books and I meet the criteria you laid out earlier.

              As for tires, insurance and other everyday things, of course that isn't the realm of the long form letter. These are commodity items that people know everything about (or at least think they do). There just isn't enough to say that would be both interesting and relevant to the reader.

              Now if you had some creative niche insurance product, or were selling a new kind of tire that never wears out, the long form letter may be the ticket. There would be enough new interesting and relevant information to fill many pages.
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              • Originally Posted by Pusateri View Post

                Long form letters are currently used to sell stocks (though a prospectus is not technically a sales document). I use long form letters to sell niche affinity books and I meet the criteria you laid out earlier.

                As for tires, insurance and other everyday things, of course that isn't the realm of the long form letter. These are commodity items that people know everything about (or at least think they do). There just isn't enough to say that would be both interesting and relevant to the reader.

                Now if you had some creative niche insurance product, or were selling a new kind of tire that never wears out, the long form letter may be the ticket. There would be enough new interesting and relevant information to fill many pages.

                People have a very short attention span, too many things that distract them. Long copy will never work in my industry, especially when they can just watch a commercial and in 15 minutes save 15% or more on thir car insurance.
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          • Originally Posted by Robert_Rand View Post

            No ones need to prove anything to you.

            Your need to come on a forum and talk about your success, and "prove" something reminds me of one of my favorite quotes... "Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to say you are... then you're not."

            The FACT is that there ARE multiple 7 and 8 figure producers (selling things outside of the bizop niche) on this forum. If you did your research you would come to realize that and you might begin to ask yourself, "hmmm what can I learn here? Maybe it's all not relative to me, but what can I apply to my business?"

            That's what successful people do. They're open minded and always looking for the lesson vs. being so rigidly attached to their views.
            I'm sorry but I seriously doubt anyone making that kind of money is on this forum. What I do appreciate about this forum are the opinions that are expressed, especially on certain products that I might be interested in purchasing.

            To give you an example I seek personal opinions and reviews from others on this forum about products or services I may be interested in purchasing...before I buy I always check to see if there are any opinions here on the forum about the product or service, but in this instance I decide to share my opinion, and you have done likewise.

            My opinion on long sales copy is that it's ineffective, some agree with me, while others do not...isn't that what a forum is designed for, or should we all in lockstep agree with your opinion that I should listen and be silent when I already run a multi million dollar business. (that I started from scratch 13 years ago)

            Of course you don't know me personally as I do not know you. But if you are ever in Cincinnati Ohio feel free to stop by to see my operation I'll treat you to lunch or dinner if you have something of value to share with me. (open invitation)
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            • Profile picture of the author Robert_Rand
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              • Originally Posted by Robert_Rand View Post

                You run a "multi-million dollar business"? Is that multi-million as in NET PROFIT? And if I live in KY and want to buy insurance can I call in on Monday and speak to YOU? Because if the answer is yes, then you DO NOT "run a business" - you own a job. Just thought I'd clear that up for you.

                And why do you keep suggesting that people call you or come visit you in person? This is an ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUM and to suggest someone would want to spend time with some stranger off of the internet with a thinly veiled aggressive/violent nature is absurd. Stop flattering yourself.
                This is a very strange comment, people feel very secure making all types of assertions and comments about circumstances they have no basis of understanding or fact...additionally there are those who do not feel any reservation about making comments they would have absolutely no courage to do so if they made them in person, such as your comment.

                People hide behind their anonoymous handles on this forum and feel free to say anything that comes to their mind, but would you have the courage to say what you just did face to face? Would you be so bold in accusations or assertions that you have no basis to back up?

                I am a marketer, I am interested in networking with other like minded individuals, I own a real business that is quite successful. That's my business address and telephone number.

                You and one other person decided to turn this into a personal attack of my opinions making statements that are defamatory. Why? Is there something missing in your life that you personally feel making statements can somehow elevate yourself in your mind?

                For those who were getting a bit vindictive in their statements I used some dry humor, with the pscho killer line. I really hope their aren't any folks like that on this forum, but one never knows...

                I'm not going to waste any more time responding to the insecure, immature statements being made by some because it's pointless ...I'm sure this has been humorous for some to follow along, it was for me for a time period until it really started to get personal...

                I posted my telephone number and address for all too see, I may be at the office on Monday so yes you can call me personally, my employees screen all calls for me, so it's not likely you will get me personally...although based on your accusations with no basis of fact you are not the type of person I would want to network with, sorry if you are offended by that statement.

                I am interested in networking with those marketers who have proven successs that's why I left my address and telephone number...Sometimes the next
                pininterest idea is just right around the corner when 2 like minded persons come together... On the otherhand if you have uncontrolled anger issues with a smiddgen of pscho killer leanings, combined with a lack of success in your business and personal life stay away...
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                • Is anybody else getting a touch bored with all this ranting and raging?


                  We were asked for our opinions - and we gave them.


                  Everything that could possibly be asked about Long v Short copy has been answered.


                  And we now know - because Jack has ceaselessly told us where to buy car insurance in Cincinnati.


                  Hopefully that's an end to it.



                  Steve
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                • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
                  Banned
                  Jack...

                  Whilst this conversation to you might appear to be interesting, God forbid lively even...

                  ...to the majority of us it's the most frightfully dull and boring subject in the world.


                  Mark Andrews
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by colmodwyer View Post

      THUMBS DOWN for long copy!

      Bottom-Line: "the less you tell the more you sell..." I've been trying to convince the company I work for to start mailing blank pages.

      Colm
      Would that be 10-12 pages of blank paper as a mailer then?
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post

    Long Copy Sales Letters-Do they really Work for marketers today?

    I'm not a personal fan of "long copy" sales letters that I believe are a hallmark of Dan Kennedy proselytes, that go on and on and on. It's my personal belief that this type of sales copy is ineffective, yet I see a large majority of marketers churning out long sales copy like they have nothing better to do than write copy all day long in their attempts to hook new customers.

    I own a brick and border business and I write the sales copy myself, the longest sales letter is on the front page of my insurance web site including only 1 real testimonial.

    To me I'm inundated with marketers attempting to sell me products and services each week and half if not more are the inevitable 5-12 page Dan Kennedy type of letters. I read the headline and skip to the end to see the offer and don't even bother wasting time reading the fluff in the middle.

    Here's my theory on why long sales letters are a complete waste of time in our day:

    Business owners are super busy, so your sales message needs to be concise and to the point. As some one mentioned previously if you don't "hook" them immediately they will spit out the bait and swim after other tasty morsels.

    What do you all think? Long sales letter copy thumbs up, or thumbs own?
    You make the same mistake that every non-copywriter makes...you make assumptions.

    You have to test your copy...short vs. long etc.

    Your personal opinion about long copy vs. short copy is not relevant at all.

    When you are selling an expensive product ($500 plus), many marketers have tested long copy and find they make more sales than shorter copy...they come to this conclusion after testing.

    When you have a traditional business, your website probably does better with a navigation bar and shorter web pages than if you were selling a single product. But again, test and find out.



    Testing is always the answer...over and out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
    Originally Posted by Pathway Insurance View Post

    Here's my theory on why long sales letters are a complete waste of time in our day:

    Business owners are super busy, so your sales message needs to be concise and to the point. As some one mentioned previously if you don't "hook" them immediately they will spit out the bait and swim after other tasty morsels.

    What do you all think? Long sales letter copy thumbs up, or thumbs own?
    I have some insurance agency owners as clients and I will agree with you that the car insurance niche does not require long copy. Anything longer than a 2-3 page letter is too much.

    But, if I wanted to be the "Joe Polish" of the car insurance niche and was trying to sell a seminar to you on tips/techniques on how to increase your business there is no way you'd fork over $1,000 (or more) to attend it based on a 2-3 page letter. It would have to be a long sales letter. You'd read the first few paragraphs on page 1 and a few paragraphs (and P.S.) on the last page first and then... if it got your interest... you'd read every page in between (which would answer every question that would pop into your mind about the seminar along with a ton of bullets/fascinations that would peak your interest so much so you'd almost kill to find out the answers to) and then fork over the $1,000 (plus or whatever it would cost).
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Hoffman
    There are some people that don't read long copy. They are NOT direct response buyers. It seems that you are one of them. That's fine. But be careful to not let your personal nature and beliefs color your perceptions of how OTHERS will react to any given type of marketing. It's very easy to get tunnel vision. Nothing is absolute. However, there's just far too much evidence demonstrated repeatedly from many credible sources to think that somehow long copy is dead. It's not. Holding steadfastly onto absolute beliefs like this only hurt one person: You. Why? Because it vastly limits the marketing possibilities for your own business.
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    • Originally Posted by Ken Hoffman View Post

      There are some people that don't read long copy. They are NOT direct response buyers. It seems that you are one of them. That's fine. But be careful to not let your personal nature and beliefs color your perceptions of how OTHERS will react to any given type of marketing. It's very easy to get tunnel vision. Nothing is absolute. However, there's just far too much evidence demonstrated repeatedly from many credible sources to think that somehow long copy is dead. It's not. Holding steadfastly onto absolute beliefs like this only hurt one person: You. Why? Because it vastly limits the marketing possibilities for your own business.
      I agree people do respond differently to various ad schemes. My point is all about the everyday products and services people buy. My opinion is that long copy is ineffective to the average consumer because they simply will not read it. (video is a different story)
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  • Profile picture of the author NickN
    With copywriting, results trump personal opinion every time.

    And the results show long copy far outperforms short copy in certain situations.

    End. Of. Story.
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    • Originally Posted by NickN View Post

      With copywriting, results trump personal opinion every time.

      And the results show long copy far outperforms short copy in certain situations.

      End. Of. Story.

      Other than get rich schemes, home based business opportunities, (including mlm junkies) and other informational products sold to businesses or other marketers, please share an example of a everyday product or service that is sold by a long copy sales letter. (I'm not talking about a brochure.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Hoffman
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    The long form sales letter is not a panacea. It's one way to sell products. Discussion of its merits is moot. In some situations, it's effective. In others, it's not.

    Sales communications should be appropriate to audience and medium.

    Why people evangelize the sales letter is beyond me.
    I think they "evangelize" only when encountering someone with really strong opposing beliefs. It is kind of annoying when someone is so inside a box of thinking, that they are unwilling to hear something that could really help improve their results. AND the people usually having these strong opposing viewpoints are typically NOT experts in marketing either. So I don't know that there's anything wrong with attempting to enlighten them. Praise the lord. Hallelujah.
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  • Here are a few people who disagree with OP:
    Article: Do long copy ads work?

    Here's a long copy letter targeted toward industrial advertisers.
    http://www.directcreative.com/blog/long-copy

    Wedding Planners
    http://successdoctor.com/samples/wi/

    Reverse Mortgage
    http://successdoctor.com/samples/eh/

    Mercedes Benz
    http://www.advertolog.com/mercedes-b...-copy-5536205/

    Speeding
    http://successdoctor.com/samples/bmst/
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    It's awesome this thread is still going!

    Long copy sucks. End of story.

    Colm
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    • Originally Posted by colmodwyer View Post

      It's awesome this thread is still going!

      Long copy sucks. End of story.

      Colm
      I agree 1000%...(watch out here comes the verbal assaults, get the Kevlar out...here they come again.)
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    1) Short copy he writes himself sells discount car insurance effectively for Jack.

    2) Because he's a busy, successful business owner, Jack doesn't like reading long sales letters.

    3) Therefore, long copy is ineffective, stone-age marketing and doesn't work.

    CAVEAT: It DOES work if you sell get-rich-quick in your underwear biz opps, or if your prospects are feeble-minded losers, unlike Jack.

    Did I get everything right?

    Seems like I've read this before once or a hundred times.

    Jack - I'm not busting your chops here, I'm really not.

    But this topic has been debated, argued, and soundly thrashed to bloody knuckles so many times, so many ways, in so many places, by so many people...

    ...what do you hope to accomplish by posting this today - besides argue about it with people you don't know, who don't know you or understand how your business works?

    Do you want copywriters to roll over and yield... admitting before the world that long sales letters are officially dead?

    Do you want someone to prove you wrong? Would you change the way you do anything even if they did?

    I'm appealing to your inner-entrepreneur here - where's the money in this thread?

    Dig your heels in if you like, but there's another dimension to the conversation that you're either unfamiliar with or unwilling to entertain.

    Long copy isn't a way of life, it's one sales tool in a marketing toolbelt... appropriate in some situations and idiotic in others. Surely that can't surprise you or anyone else with half a brain.

    One thing we can probably both agree on is there are very few "absolutes" in business - everything is subjective.

    The long copy versus short copy debate is oh so tired... I can't believe I just got sucked into another one, yet again. LOL
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    • Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

      EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

      1) Short copy he writes himself sells discount car insurance effectively for Jack.

      2) Because he's a busy, successful business owner, Jack doesn't like reading long sales letters.

      3) Therefore, long copy is ineffective, stone-age marketing and doesn't work.

      CAVEAT: It DOES work if you sell get-rich-quick in your underwear biz opps, or if your prospects are feeble-minded losers, unlike Jack.

      Did I get everything right?

      Seems like I've read this before once or a hundred times.

      Jack - I'm not busting your chops here, I'm really not.

      But this topic has been debated, argued, and soundly thrashed to bloody knuckles so many times, so many ways, in so many places, by so many people...

      ...what do you hope to accomplish by posting this today - besides argue about it with people you don't know, who don't know you or understand how your business works?

      Do you want copywriters to roll over and yield... admitting before the world that long sales letters are officially dead?

      Do you want someone to prove you wrong? Would you change the way you do anything even if they did?

      I'm appealing to your inner-entrepreneur here - where's the money in this thread?

      Dig your heels in if you like, but there's another dimension to the conversation that you're either unfamiliar with or unwilling to entertain.

      Long copy isn't a way of life, it's one sales tool in a marketing toolbelt... appropriate in some situations and idiotic in others. Surely that can't surprise you or anyone else with half a brain.

      One thing we can probably both agree on is there are very few "absolutes" in business - everything is subjective.

      The long copy versus short copy debate is oh so tired... I can't believe I just got sucked into another one, yet again. LOL
      Come on Brian where is your sense of adventure? What's wrong with a good spirited debate? I usually sit by and observe but I thought let's have a discussion about what I thought would be a non interesting topic and lo and behold, copywriters are putting on their full battle dress ready for war with some of the more immature members hurling insults and accusations with no real basis of fact.

      Ever in Cincinnati? Come on by and visit, I posted my address and phone number, if you think I am an anti copy writing guy you would be mistaken...I write copy for my business (short sales copy naturally)

      I like to write, I just don't believe in long sales copy or emotional trigger copy is effective. (uh oh, am I about to now unleash additional wrathful comments from other copy writers because I believe emotional trigger copy is useless...here we go again!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    Jack,

    Long copy works when people have a need for more information. From a marketing standpoint, Brian McLeod said it clearly:

    "Long copy isn't a way of life, it's one sales tool in a marketing toolbelt... appropriate in some situations and idiotic in others."

    If long copy did not work for your situation, then great - go with short copy. But to paint the entire marketing industry with that brush just because it did not work for your case is short-sighted.

    Would you buy a new car based on short copy? Probably not, assuming you actually want to know all about it, and how it compares to the competition.

    How about a new office accounting system? Again, probably not. You'd want to know about the exact features it has, and whether they solve your particular needs.

    For simple, everyday consumer items, of course long copy isn't needed. For some things, it is very useful, especially if the potential customer wants to truly understand complex issues (such as financial options). Joe Ditzel posted some examples of these.

    If I understand your postings correctly, you are arguing that long copy is not effective for average everyday items, especially in your industry. Generally speaking, that's probably a reasonable assessment for relatively simple, lower-priced items.

    But then you go and say things like "I just don't believe in long sales copy or emotional trigger copy is effective." Do you mean in the marketing industry at large, or just your particular corner of it?

    Have you looked at marketing research to see if the evidence backs up your conclusions? Maybe there are overlooked opportunities in your niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wytnyt
    Short copy works. Long copy works. Both work. Both are effective.

    Why does it have to be an issue which one is better?

    OP's just trolling everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Jack, it comes down to how pre-sold a person is, and the nature of the product.

    A person looking for car insurance in Cincinnati, who does a Google search using those keywords and comes to your site, is probably already pre-sold on the idea of buying car insurance.

    For them, it's just a question of WHERE to buy. Especially since car insurance is one of those compulsory purchases... if they want to drive a car on the road, they are legally obliged to buy from someone.

    Companies selling luxury cruises don't have the.... ummm... luxury... of compulsion

    You aren't legally required to go on cruises. At least not here in England. (Cincinnati might be different.)

    So it's a different sell. The copywriter first has to sell them on the IDEA of a luxury cruise. (That is also why a smart luxury cruise business will also do lots of pre-selling first, to get more prospects dreaming and thinking of luxury cruises.)

    True, the luxury cruise company might not need an extended 20 page pitch either, but my point is this:

    Different products require different elements to sell.

    Car insurance is a compulsory purchase for car drivers, so you don't need to convince them (much) of its necessity. It's necessary, by law.

    For a non-compulsory purchase, you have to convince them that such a purchase is necessary in the first place!

    That's just ONE of many factors that determine the length of a sales letter.

    Most of the things people purchase aren't strictly necessary. Nobody NEEDS an iPad, otherwise how did those iPad owners cope before 2010?

    Yet Apple created the DESIRE for them, so that people convinced themselves it was necessary to have one.

    Apple also had the luxury of a billion dollar marketing budget, and huge amounts of brand awareness, so they didn't need long copy either.

    Most companies don't have that luxury. So long copy is an attempt to create that DESIRE. Sure, it isn't the only way to achieve desire... but it's one way.

    But this comes back to the nature of the product.

    An iPad can be held in your hands, so it makes sense to sell it visually.

    You can't hold a seminar or a digitally downloadable information product in your hands, so it makes sense to sell it in written form, especially if you want to convey the scope of the information you're providing.
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