Long Copy Works Better - Or Is It Short Copy?
by: Karon Thackston
never-ending battle. I'm sure you've heard both statements made with
passion. Those that believe you must walk your customer through each and
every benefit preach, "Long copy sells better!" Proponents of this
copywriting method say customers need to be "lead" or "teased" into
reading the next paragraph and the next. Finally, when you have them
drooling, you reveal the punch line.
On the other
hand, advocates of short copy state that consumers today have extremely
short attention spans. Copy that's "to-the-point" is a necessity in
order to make a sale at all. According to these experts, the long,
drawn-out copy gets tossed right out the window by busy, impatient
readers. Feed it to them fast or you'll lose them to the competition. So
exactly who's right? They both are!
No, I'm not
being politically correct and I'm not avoiding the issue. The honest
truth is that all people in the world do not communicate in the same
way. Due to this fact, no one copywriting approach will work with every
single product or service. As with every other aspect of advertising,
you must look to your target audience for the answer.
this analogy for years... when you begin to write a letter you do not
sit down and write then decide who you will mail the letter to. Before
you put pen to paper you know who the recipient of the message will be.
You know their communication style and how to best phrase the
information so it will be well received. The same applies to
just as an example, that your target audience consists of small business
owners. These business owners happen to all be Certified Public
Accountants. Just from this tiny bit of information I can tell you the
target group is extremely busy, is very detail oriented and has a bottom
line mentality. These people are generally analytical thinkers. Based on
these facts, I would not write copy to this target audience in long
form. Why? It would most likely not be read.
above communicates in short, precise bursts. They are looking for the
bottom line first and an explanation afterwards. The most effective way
to get the attention of this group (in writing) is to keep it short,
sweet and to the point. Otherwise you will lose them in what they
consider to be a "bunch of fluff." These folks are definitely members of
the short copy group.
belongs to the long copy group? People making an investment for one. I
don't mean an investment in the stock market (so to speak). I'm talking
about people who are going to make a large investment of time or money
in anything. People who are thinking of joining an affiliate program or
multilevel marketing program would be receptive to long form copy. Those
who are going to invest many hours in a self-help process would
appreciate long copy. Let me explain.
are going to invest time or money (or both) in something they get
nervous. Customers need to be reassured that they are making the right
decision. They need to be reminded of why they need to purchase this
product or service. A wealth of information makes these prospective
clients more secure about their decision.
are other target groups that would benefit from both long form and short
form copy. There are a multitude of them to say the least. As the
advertiser, your job is to discover which type of communication style
will be received well by your prospects. (A company named Myers-Briggs
offers an excellent course on defining communication styles. I've
participated in their training and found it to be highly beneficial.)
about the writers who swear their copywriting approach will cause major
increases in response rates? What about the writers who say their method
works for any product or service?
guy said his copywriting style caused a 50% increase in the direct mail
response rate of a jewelry store." I've heard this at least a hundred
times. Maybe it did. However, I've never been a real fan of statistics
when used to prove a point such as this.
two items in the above statement that cause me concern. The first is the
percentage. We don't know how many direct mail pieces were originally
mailed. Perhaps on the first campaign 50 envelopes were sent. Direct
mail normally provides a 1-3% response rate. If we allow the 3% in our
example, that would mean the original campaign received 1.5 responses. A
50% increase means the mailing using the new copywriting style received
2.25 responses. Technically, that is a 50% increase even if only two
alarm that goes off is the phrase "response rate." Most advertisers
don't understand this statement. Response rate does not equal sales.
Response rate equals responses. Literally, if a person calls to ask a
question in relation to the mailing it is considered a response - even
if that person never purchases. I caution you to beware of those with
"one-size-fits-all" copy- writing approaches.
are big names out there that will tell you that one particular style of
copy works to sell each and every product and service. Again,
technically, I suppose they are right. However, it does not sell to each
and every target audience member. If you don't get through to the target
audience, the copy - regardless of whose style it is - is a waste of
time and effort.
Most buying decisions
are emotional. Your ad copy should be, too! Karon is President & CEO of
Marketing Words, Inc. who offers targeted copywriting, search engine
copywriting, and ezine article writing. Subscribe to Karon's free ezine
at http://www.marketingwords.com/ezine.html or visit her site at http://www.marketingwords.com.
You can also learn to write you own powerful copy at http://www.copywritingcourse.com.
|About The Author
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