Short copy vs. Long copy? Think again...

18 replies
Can you ever feed a hungry buyer enough?

If You Think Short Copy Sells More, Think Again! - Business Insider
#copy #long #short
  • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
    I'm most likely in the minority when I say that long copy doesn't interest me. The fact that I'm even looking at the ad is because I already know what I'm looking for, I just want to know the price. So I might do a cursory scan of the copy, and look for the bottom line. Then I make my decision.

    Of course there are the few exceptions, but mostly that's how it is. Short copy I'm willing to read, long copy wastes my time. But I'm not blind to the point(s) made by Mr. Kalb. Just sayin'.
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    Internet Marketer gone back to his original profession as a musician. May be back someday..... maybe not.....

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    • Profile picture of the author timpears
      Originally Posted by Joel Young View Post

      I'm most likely in the minority when I say that long copy doesn't interest me. The fact that I'm even looking at the ad is because I already know what I'm looking for, I just want to know the price. So I might do a cursory scan of the copy, and look for the bottom line. Then I make my decision.

      Of course there are the few exceptions, but mostly that's how it is. Short copy I'm willing to read, long copy wastes my time. But I'm not blind to the point(s) made by Mr. Kalb. Just sayin'.
      I am with you Joel, the long sales letters I just scan. Moat of it is pretty much hype and bull crap anyway. I pick out the highlights and move on to find the price. And more times than not it does not fulfill those wild claims anyway. Si U gave not missed anything anyway, and I have saved a lot of time.
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      Tim Pears

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  • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
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    Andrew Gould

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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Rule #1: Write enough words to persuade your prospect. No more. No less.

      Rule #2 (assumes you're driving targeted traffic and have an irresistible offer): If your copy isn't converting, see Rule #1.

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonwebb
    I am not reading 10 pages of copy unless I am doing a critique or if I am doing a study on a past promotion. If I am shopping for me it needs to be 800 words or less

    - Jonathan Webb
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  • Profile picture of the author SeanIM
    It depends...
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    Sean Mitchell -
    Online Marketing & Tech Consultant Since 1999
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    • Profile picture of the author galitsyn
      Long reading may be a bounce factor. But indeed, it depends. Once you come up with a winning way of presenting your sales letter you may get to the point. 75% of every sales letter is hype anyway but if you won't mask it, this may work. Creative approach is needed here..

      What about sales latter in the form of a video presentation? Don't you think that todays audience is more willing to watch than to read..?
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      • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
        Originally Posted by galitsyn View Post

        ...What about sales latter in the form of a video presentation? Don’t you think that todays audience is more willing to watch than to read..?
        I do enjoy watching/listening to a pitch rather than reading one, especially if it's going to be long. The downside is that many videos these days go on and on and on and on and on ad nauseaum, and I'm waiting for the real meat to be served. Lots of repetition and, almost desperate pitches to "watch this video to the end for a wonderful offer".

        Still, I can better tolerate a long video/audio, because I can play Free Cell while listening to ease the boredom, lol.
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        Internet Marketer gone back to his original profession as a musician. May be back someday..... maybe not.....

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        • Profile picture of the author galitsyn
          Originally Posted by Joel Young View Post

          .. and I'm waiting for the real meat to be served...
          Right, we have become more exacting and demanding to the information we get.
          Time consuming reading is not welcomed in many cases.

          Standard sales letters are a bit from yesterday. Today we favor straight forward propositions.

          But what puts written sales letters above for example a video presentation is a keywords rich content. And you may edit your sales letter in case of any changes while video is not that flexible in such a case.
          But this makes a publisher life easier and not visitors'.

          When you present your video work you show your attitude and engagement which may bring you additional points.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hamza
    bottom lines is : know your market
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  • Profile picture of the author Igor Fridrihs
    Don't feed him enough. Keep him hungry
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  • Profile picture of the author Jennie Heckel
    Hi All,

    I find the length of the copy totally depends on these things...

    1. Where is the traffic coming from? Cold PPC, Optin, SEO or Organic, Warm List... this will make a huge difference on how much I need to educate them.

    2. What is the product? A simple, inexpensive ebook sale takes only a couple hundred words while a video series or membership offer or a marketing even may take several thousand.

    3. How complex is the subject? If it is a complex health related topic it make take more copy to show the research to illustrate the proof.

    4. How many testimonials do I have? This can be an a major selling point if the testimonials are woven into the copy to help prove the product works as stated and so adds to the length of the copy I need to write.

    5. How long is the story? More expensive products mean a longer story to get on the same vibe as the visitor.

    6. How many bonuses? And what cost and length? Again this adds more copy the more complex and expensive the bonuses are.

    7. What is the buyer's age group, needs, demographics, mindset? Will they tolerate longer copy or not?

    8. What are the social proof elements? Do they require description?

    9. What is the price structure? Multiple payments requires more copy to be written to explain the pricing program.

    10. What is the guarantee? Is it to be based on any performance by the buyer? If so the guarantee needs to be longer to explain the refund policies.

    That is just the tip of the iceberg as far as knowing for sure how long the copy needs to be.

    What do I do?

    I write several versions of the sales letter to split test.

    A. Long one with all the bells and whistles.

    B. Medium length - to remove some of the areas where the copy may slow down to try to help to speed it up and keep the reader on the slippery slide to buying.

    C. Short length - to try to cut out as much filler copy as I can for those that want to "speed read" to the sale.

    Then I suggest we split test all 3 with the same headline, same ads, same keyword phrases etc. You need to do this to throw out the variations as far as length. I also add code to verify the time on site and heat maps to help to understand the bounce rate and where the copy may be slowing down.

    Then we take the winner with the best time on site versus conversion rate and we edit that one with 2 different flavors of headlines to determine a final winner.

    Then that winner is edited to increase time on site and boost conversions.

    Now most copywriters are lucky to write one version.

    That is fine for most people, but you really need to know your market and what they will tolerate to boost time on site, because if the bounce rate is too high it does not mean the sales letter is too long -- instead it means the copy bored them and they clicked away.

    So you need to test everything to know for sure what works to make money and what doesn't.

    Some of my highest converting WSOs are over 4,000 words and Warriors read the whole thing because they are entertained and they want to know what the end of the story is...

    So if you can keep them excited long enough to take the time to effectively remove all of their objections to buying -- they will buy.

    In a short sales letter it is 10 times harder to sell with fewer words than it is with a longer sales letter. So it is always easier to write a little longer one and try to handle all the objections to buying and then tweak that copy down to boost conversions.

    Hope this helps you all with your copywriting projects.

    P.S. if you read this whole thing as long as this answer is... Then my long copy kept you interested and the copy was speedy enough to get you to read all the way to the bottom --
    so long copy worked!

    Jennie Heckel
    Sales Letter Copwriter
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    ******* WSO & JV ZOO COPYWRITER -- VLS & SALES LETTERS PROVEN TO CONVERT ******* Get Higher Profits From Launches That SELL! Proven Copywriter with 17 Years of Copywriting Experience. Contact Me Via Skype: seoexpertconsulting Copywriting Website: http://www.VideoScriptCopywriter.com

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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    How long does copy need to be? The old chestnut yet again. The answer is - as long as it takes.

    If I wrote a 100,000 word page on your life - here's $1k that says you'll read every word.
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  • Profile picture of the author serryjw
    I think there is a place for it in B2C BUT it should be the educate on a new product/solution. B2B are just not going to read it. The sales letter is just to grab attention, not make the sale.
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    • Profile picture of the author markanderson917
      If you are targeting first time readers to your copy...SHORT. If readers are used to your copy...you might be able to hold their attention longer. In General..GO SHORT. Use your WORDS wisely.
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      Sell Something

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  • It seems pretty clear to me that "long" copy generally does better than short copy, but keep in mind, when people say "long copy" they're going by the standards of mainstream advertising; where 15 second television spots are the the norm. The 5000-6000 words that many internet marketers use in their sales letters is clearly overkill.
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  • Profile picture of the author elmo033057
    I read a long sales letter back in the 80's. I spent over several thousand dollars with that individual over a 10 year period. I guess it works!

    ELMO
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