Why Are Sales Copy So Long?

39 replies
I just don't see the importance of a long sales copy or sales pitch. I believe that a long sales pitch bores customers. I doubt that anyone reads through an entire sales copy before they purchase.

I believe a sales copy should be short and to the point. Don't sell to the customers, but make an ad advertise a service or a product. If the product or service is in demand, targetted audience will purchase.

Big companies adveritise to their customer if they don't like the product then they get a refund.

Do you think a short ad ( I hate to say sales copy) would do better than a long sales copy?

Secondly How Often Do You Go To A Sales Copy & It's Too Long And You Leave because it is just too long?
#copy #long #sales
  • Profile picture of the author LMC
    Depends on the Product, Reputation of the Owner, etc, etc...

    A big company can drop a three word slogan like "Just Do It" and make millions.

    The average joe needs to convince... that is why they are long.
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    • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
      Originally Posted by LMC View Post

      A big company can drop a three word slogan like "Just Do It" and make millions..
      Yes they can. Millions of TV and radio spots, newspaper and magazine ads, web impressions, you name it.

      Dr,

      "Do you think a short ad (I hate to say sales copy) would do better than a long sales copy?"

      Not likely. Not statistically, anyway if we're talking about a visitor on the web who has less than a snowballs' chance in hell of ever seeing your webpage again.

      That's why you have to take the opportunity to tell them the whole story. This has been tested to no end.

      These sentances;
      "I believe a sales copy should be short and to the point. Don't sell to the customers, but make an ad advertise a service or a product. If the product or service is in demand, targetted audience will purchase."

      That's an ideology not a marketing plan. The difference is in the conversions you'll get. If your assertation produces a 0.2% conversion rate and yet that same product or service is marketed resulting in a 3-4% conversion rate you need to figure out what is driving the difference in conversions.

      Guess what? A good portion of the increase is supported by your ability to tell your story first shot out of the gate. And guess what that usually means? That's right, a long sales letter.

      You can hook 'em with Adwords or Twitter, but they're still long way from commitment. Why invite them in if you're not going to do a good job of explaining the benefits, providing social proof, eliminating objections, and a host of other triggers that convince your visitor deciding on buying your product is the smartest action they could take at the moment.

      "Secondly How Often Do You Go To A Sales Copy & It's Too Long And You Leave because it is just too long? "

      I leave because I don't need or want the product. Sometimes all it takes is a paragraph.

      Bottom line...test your beliefs. Everybody else has.

      KJ
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      • Profile picture of the author kf
        Originally Posted by LMC View Post


        The average joe needs to convince... that is why they are long.
        Yes, but what about the killer joe?

        Originally Posted by Killer Joe View Post

        Yes they can. Millions of TV and radio spots, newspaper and magazine ads, web impressions, you name it.
        Exactly, they've spent millions branding themselves, so now they can just drop a word or two. It doesn't happen overnight, or alone, or without deep pockets.

        Originally Posted by Killer Joe View Post


        Bottom line...test your beliefs. Everybody else has.

        KJ
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    • Profile picture of the author disi
      Originally Posted by LMC View Post

      Depends on the Product, Reputation of the Owner, etc, etc...

      A big company can drop a three word slogan like "Just Do It" and make millions.

      The average joe needs to convince... that is why they are long.
      I am not sure about it. Frankly I NEVER read whole sales pages! To be honest, when I was complete newbie to IM I though they are made that long for following reason:

      the more text there is to read the easier it is to 'sell' parts of text that are bold and big, as nobody has time to read everything

      I do not know about other guys but when I see long page I just scroll down and my eyes only look at those bigger elements between text. So maybe it is the way it works? It makes people so tired that they decide to buy it anyway?
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    Not to put too fine a point on this, but there's really just one simple reason you see so many long sales pages....

    THEY WORK!

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
      Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

      Not to put too fine a point on this, but there's really just one simple reason you see so many long sales pages....

      THEY WORK!

      John
      This sums it up right here.

      -Bill
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    • Profile picture of the author Rueann42
      Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

      Not to put too fine a point on this, but there's really just one simple reason you see so many long sales pages....

      THEY WORK!

      John
      Then, how long is long, and how long is too long? I can appreciate putting the "BUY NOW" in on a frequent basis, but some things I am not so sure about. Also, a lot I have read are reallyhard sell. Maybe in the case of ads or sales copy, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Originally Posted by Dr. Pro View Post

    I just don't see the importance of a long sales copy or sales pitch. I believe that a long sales pitch bores customers. I doubt that anyone reads through an entire sales copy before they purchase.
    Depends. Sometimes you might hook them early on and they'll jump to the buy button. Other times it may take more convincing.

    Do you think a short ad ( I hate to say sales copy) would do better than a long sales copy?
    Depends on the media. But, on the Internet, the answer may largely be "no."

    It depends on the product too. If I'm selling shoes, I don't need to convince you of the value of shoes. I just need to convince you to buy my shoes instead of the other guy's. Even there, long copy can best short copy.

    I've used long copy in places where (offline) marketing experts have advised me to keep it short and simple. For me, the long copy performs better, so I've stuck with it.

    Secondly How Often Do You Go To A Sales Copy & It's Too Long And You Leave because it is just too long?
    Length isn't an issue. It's whether the content engages you. If it doesn't engage you, it doesn't matter whether it's long or short because you've probably left already. Plus, if I can tell early on that the product is not for me, I'll leave. If I'm not sure, I might start to skim. If I'm really interested, I keep on reading.

    But, you don't know which of those behaviors your potential customer will follow. That's why I think it's a good idea to occasionally mention (and link to) the buy button where they can skip straight to the purchase link if you've already convinced them to buy.

    I think the majority of people that leave leave because they weren't interested in the product and not because the copy was too long. You can always skim and skip if the copy is too long but you're interested in buying the product.
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  • Profile picture of the author JWB
    Good question why copy is so long...

    I would think that maybe in the sellers mind, he thinks
    that the longer the copy...the more valuable his product might
    be in the eyes of the prospective buyer...

    However, the seller more often than not has both sides covered
    cause at the beginning of a long sales letter there seems to be a little
    box that reads something like.." If you are ready to order now, click here"

    Obviously for all the people that dont want to read long sales copy..
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  • Profile picture of the author MSGeek
    I wonder, why the discussion? Put a long one, put a short one, do a split test. In my experience reasonably short one works better, but I guess it depends on the quality of the copy, product, the market and a lot of other factors. So, what's better for me, may be not better for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohammad Afaq
    Long sales pages do work.

    If you just put a 500 word sales page up there then I don't think you will make sales.

    By the way if a customer who doesn't even want to spend 10 minutes knowing more about your product then he probably will not your customer and even if he buys he will not have any tolerance for your product.
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  • Profile picture of the author ScottFox
    Killer Joe answered this well above.

    I would simply add that if they're still interested they will keep reading. Different people will arrive with different expectations, time constraints, preconceptions and desires. You want a chance to serve them all.

    Don't you?
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  • Profile picture of the author Talinn
    A long text only would be very boring, but sales copies are full with different fonts, colors, pictures, etc. so even if you get bored and scroll down, you can't help but "inhale the sales fumes", and when you reach the bottom to see the price, you will be better convinced that it's a good deal.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
    Glad you asked. Glad to answer:

    In a nutshell:

    "The more you tell, the more you sell."

    Just make sure it doesn't get boring at any point and keep it
    riveting all the way down the greased slide til we finally
    reach the destination (order button yay!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Collette
    Originally Posted by Dr. Pro View Post

    ...I believe that a long sales pitch bores customers. I doubt that anyone reads through an entire sales copy before they purchase.

    Do you think a short ad ( I hate to say sales copy) would do better than a long sales copy?
    *sigh* Thinks: Where's that flogging whip again?

    Do you prefer having sex, or having good sex?

    Sometimes good sex is short. Sometimes good sex is long.

    Depends on your interest, skill, and the time available.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    I tend to read above the fold and if I like what I see, scroll all the way down to the price.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude
      Originally Posted by TinkerAndPo View Post

      I tend to read above the fold and if I like what I see, scroll all the way down to the price.
      I do this as well. I look for to many hard sales verbiage. The more hard sales wording, the less likely I'm to consider it. If the copy has good information however, then I may read it and consider the offer.

      The one thing that kills it for me though is the checks and Clickbank statements claiming that a product will deliver xxxx money, then at the bottom, there's the "results not typical" type disclaimer. The copy giveth and the small print disclaimer takes it away. LOL.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Fier
    As much as people may be interested in a product, I don't think that solely written sales pages are the best way to sell a product. Wouldn't ANY potential customer be more interested in watching an informative video that completely explains the product and gives them an inside look as to what they might buy?

    There have been many people that have compared results from tests between written sales pages and video sales pages... and the video pages KILLS the other in terms of conversions.

    I could say, just has other have said, that I have not completely read many sales letters, even when I was interested in the product. I'd much rather sit and have the product explained and displayed in front of me... not having to put any extra effort in during the buying process.

    I'm sure some others could relate...
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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      • Profile picture of the author yourreviewer
        Originally Posted by alexa_s View Post

        Nope. Some people will immediately close the page if there's video on it. I see them posting in several forums saying so, and I have no reason to imagine that they're making it up. I particularly dislike videos myself, too, and am less likely to buy from a sales page with video, though they don't lose me right off the bat as they lose some people.

        Obviously I'm not suggesting that you lose more than you gain by having video. But you do lose some people.



        I don't doubt it.
        Again it depends on the niche. But videos do help in better conversions.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rueann42
      Originally Posted by Joe Fier View Post

      As much as people may be interested in a product, I don't think that solely written sales pages are the best way to sell a product. Wouldn't ANY potential customer be more interested in watching an informative video that completely explains the product and gives them an inside look as to what they might buy?

      There have been many people that have compared results from tests between written sales pages and video sales pages... and the video pages KILLS the other in terms of conversions.

      I could say, just has other have said, that I have not completely read many sales letters, even when I was interested in the product. I'd much rather sit and have the product explained and displayed in front of me... not having to put any extra effort in during the buying process.

      I'm sure some others could relate...
      Perhaps a combination of both? Some people like me, learn from reading words. Others learn from watching a demo, etc. I have never put a video in one of my blogs, etc., but some day I suppose I might. Just not of me.
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      • Profile picture of the author JordanFrancis
        If you're wondering how long your copy should be, I'd strongly recommend you spend 5 minutes reading the Paul Hancox article that is mentioned above. Here's the link again:

        At Last, Here’s The Definitive Formula For The Length Of Your Sales Copy! | CopySnips

        Ultimately though, you *must* test your copy. There is simply no substitute for actual results. If you are not testing, you are wasting money. Testing may not sound sexy, but I promise you will enjoy doing it when you see more money returned from money spent.

        And... if you are writing copy based solely on the wisdom of others, you're assuming. You are assuming it must be right because so-and-so said so, because THEY already tested this stuff, or because they heard it from Bob who's a proper copywriter and he said so. There's nothing wrong with assumptions mind, just be sure to test your assumptions as quickly as possible. Confirm them. You might be surprised what you find out.

        Lastly, when testing, be sure your testing is valid. Learn how to test. Get it right, otherwise you may as well throw your test results out the window.
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  • Unlike almost everyone in this thread, I agree that long form sales copy is overused.

    But when I say "overused" I don't mean it should be "never used."

    There are cases where long-form copy is the best way to sell a product or service. The problem with many sales sites I see now is that once someone has spent much time at copywriting sites or, dare I say it, the Warrior Form, they see the long-form copy as the ONLY way to sell EVERYTHING.

    Test alternate forms of copy. Pick the one that works.

    My two cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Here is the ultimate answer for the length of sales copy. As you'll see, sales letters should be as long as a bridge.

    No more, and no less. Seriously, if that doesn't answer your question, nothing will.
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  • Profile picture of the author RTM
    So we have an interesting collection of subjective points of view on long (vs. short) sales copy; now how about some quantitative analysis.

    More specifically, has anyone actually run heat maps showing click throughs by readers at various link points (that lead to the close) in a long text? I.E. If there is a "order" link after 250, 500, 1500 and 3000 words, which one generates most CTR and, of course, conversion?

    Interesting thread!

    Rob
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  • Profile picture of the author zerofill
    Because they aren't marketing to you or me in most cases.

    When marketing to internet marketers you can get away with "this is what it does, why it does, and how it does, helps you this way" I am noticing a lot of sales pages that are becoming shorter when marketing to internet marketers. But not when marketing to Susie home maker etc...

    It works...do you think people would spend stupid money for sales copy and continually make the same mistake over and over for years if it didn't? I don't like to read the **** either but they aren't selling to me...I am not their target audience.

    You want to hear about a long sales page? Jeremy and I are working on a project where a small ebook is basically the sales page...for an offline ad to online squeeze, and 10 page report to make the conversion. Wouldn't do that if we didn't think it was necessary for the target audience we are hitting.
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    • Profile picture of the author disi
      Originally Posted by zerofill View Post

      When marketing to internet marketers you can get away with "this is what it does, why it does, and how it does, helps you this way" I am noticing a lot of sales pages that are becoming shorter when marketing to internet marketers. But not when marketing to Susie home maker etc...
      Agree.

      It works...do you think people would spend stupid money for sales copy and continually make the same mistake over and over for years if it didn't?
      Actually I CAN imagine that! First human reaction is to do what majority does. They do not ask if it works or not - they copy it. I would put it another way - is it easier to gain more audience by doing what everyone does or by doing something exceptional? My personal believe is that in few years sales pages will be losing their potential. There is growing number of sales pages in the internet and sooner or later there will be complete 'trash'(internet is already becoming 'trash').

      When I look at offer of some CPA networks I can see 'products' like 'How to shake your hand'($42) or ' How to get up from the bad'($39). What's next? market is full of c**p. Sooner or later the best marketers will have to become different than this in order to keep the edge.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matt James
        I will be doing some split testing to see if my theory "short salescopy can be just as effective, if not more effective than long salescopy."
        Please, please share the results.

        Though I think I can guess the outcome already.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dr. Pro
          Most definitely will let my fellow warriors know the results of my testing.

          I believe what I will do is do a split test with another website that has a long sales copy and I will create a product for the same niche with a short sales copy and see the out come.

          wish me luck.
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          • Profile picture of the author Rueann42
            Originally Posted by Dr. Pro View Post

            Most definitely will let my fellow warriors know the results of my testing.

            I believe what I will do is do a split test with another website that has a long sales copy and I will create a product for the same niche with a short sales copy and see the out come.

            wish me luck.
            What about same product, one long sales copy and one short. It might be hard to control for variables, especially if you have 2 different products.
            Just so everyone knows, I tend to read the wholething, just in case there is some "small print."
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  • Profile picture of the author Mangozoom
    Zeus66 hits the nail on the head ... it is because long copy works.

    Professionally written copy has headlines, fabs and the writers know that readers skim them only stopping to read bits that they see as relevant.

    I guess the up to date version of these is the 10 minute video sales presentation and squeeze page.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Perry
    I think you have to take into consideration that the majority of the people that go to those sites don't have the knowledge of IM and etc. that we have.

    I personally agree with you. I hate the long pitches. Chances are that people like us have already done our research and will have made up our mind about the product without going through all the fluff. In that case I would just scan through quickly and head right down to the bottom and get down to business.

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    • Profile picture of the author Dr. Pro
      I just believe that many sales copy are full of fluff and not a lot of stuff.

      I will be doing some split testing to see if my theory "short salescopy can be just as effective, if not more effective than long salescopy."

      What I beleive is that If i'm selling a product or service i can simply boost sale by simply explaining to my targetted audience the benefits of purchasing the product, why the product is important to them and backing it with a Guarantee.

      I think a sales copy can be short, concise and relevant.
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  • Profile picture of the author RTM
    Interesting that some of the comments above mention that the target market is NOT pros such as "us", but then... why is it that the products or services being obviously pushed to IM pros (CPA,SEO systems and the like) also have the 50 page copy ?

    I think part of it is to drown the potential buyer (regardless of niche, target market, or victim category - be it pro or newbie end user) in information.

    This latter strategy seems to rely on the herd mentality approach, where if there is enough repetitive iteration of the same value "proposition" the victim will eventually cave in.

    Of course, when I say victim I am of course referring to the reader a.k.a. potential conversion target.

    I don't think it makes a difference if the buyer is a seasoned pro in the niche being targeted, or a newbie. It boils down to the word count... more words help obfuscate the true numbers... and build hype, no?

    I prefer short, hard, cold stats. Whether it's for a new MRI machine pitch from GE medical, or from a CPA advertiser who wants exclusive top header placement on a 50K UV/day site...

    All IMHO and experience as a "victim" myself

    Rob
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  • Profile picture of the author Rueann42
    Originally Posted by Dr. Pro View Post

    I just don't see the importance of a long sales copy or sales pitch. I believe that a long sales pitch bores customers. I doubt that anyone reads through an entire sales copy before they purchase.

    I believe a sales copy should be short and to the point. Don't sell to the customers, but make an ad advertise a service or a product. If the product or service is in demand, targetted audience will purchase.

    Big companies adveritise to their customer if they don't like the product then they get a refund.

    Do you think a short ad ( I hate to say sales copy) would do better than a long sales copy?

    Secondly How Often Do You Go To A Sales Copy & It's Too Long And You Leave because it is just too long?
    Too long or confusing. If I am there, I am interested. and I do not need a huge, looong sales pitch with an overabundance of repetition.
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