Here is what I have learned from chapter 14 of the adweek copywriting handbook by Joseph Sugerman.
So, many people think that the advantage of short copy is that people will not feel intimidated to read it.
When in reality people don’t read anything that doesn’t interest them, doesn’t matter if it’s a short paragraph or a mini book.
They just don’t care.
But people who do feel strong interest or passion about a particular subject or a product will read basically anything about that subject or a product.
Let me explain,
Picture this, You are reading the newspaper and you see an article like this…..
Headline: _______________ (Your Last Name) Family Chosen as Heirs of Multimillion-Dollar Fortune
Subheadline: Family who lives on ____________ (Your Street) in ___________ _ (Your City) was willed millions of dollars by an anonymous person.
Wow, what a score! How would you like to inherit millions of dollars from somebody you don’t even know? Well, that’s what happened to __________ (Your Full Name), who has yet to be found but who might have fallen into one of the greatest fortunes ever received from somebody who remains unknown.
I am pretty sure you would read the 4000 word article.
Because it involves you, you relate to what is being written in a very intense way and it’s both informative and interesting, to you in particular.
So, it doesn’t matter how long your copy is, as long as it stays interesting people will read it.
And the long ads kind of work like a filter. Only the people who are interested to buy will read your ads.
But it’s your job to make them keep reading.
I have said it before and I will say it again, Don’t try to sell meat to vegans. So know your target audience.
My previous example was a little extreme.
If the copy is informative and interesting the reader will be intensely interested in it and will read it all—maybe not with the intensity of somebody who just won millions of dollars, but with an intensity that could come very close if your copy is effective.
So how can you make your copy more interesting?
If you want to make your copy more interesting you first need to understand the nature of your product.
Why does your product have a market?
- Does your product solve a particular problem?
- Or do people use your product to express themselves?
For example, if you teach dancing most of your potential customers might be folks who want to make some friends.
So if you just tell people how you would help them be a great dancer or how good you are at dancing, that approach may not appeal to them.
So you need to understand their real intentions.
In this case you could try to show the prospects, the Friendly environment and how people have lots of fun in the classroom.
And If your product solves a particular problem.
Try to find out the exact problems that your prospective customers are facing.
- Mention those problems.
- And give them a way to solve it.
A couple years ago, when I had to replace my old phone with a new one. I remember reading and researching about every smartphone on the market.
I even watched multiple multiple reviews of the same phone!
Even though there is so much information on the internet I could not get enough of it.
So copy will be read if it is interesting to the reader.
Long Enough but Short Enough.
So your copy should be long enough to deliver the sales massage and short enough to keep it interesting.
You need to tell your reader all the features and benefits of your product. But in an interesting way.
Take a look at this ad for example;
In this Ad they have gone through all the features, benefits and testimonials while still being interesting.
And It was a very successful brand. They needed 3 minutes and 32 seconds to completely deliver the sales message.
It wouldn’t be as successful if the video was more than 4 minutes or less than 3 minutes.
If a sales presentation takes an hour, then it should be an hour long— not more and not less.
And so it is with copy. Depending on how long your sales pitch is, the copy should cover the amount of time you need to create the selling environment, develop interest in the product, relate to the prospect’s needs and make the sale.
The Long-Copy Approach.
There really is no limit to how long copy should be if you get results.
It can sometimes take 10 minutes for a salesperson to convince a customer to buy a 50 dollar watch.
And it can take upto 6 months to convince someone to buy a million dollar house.
Advertising is salesmanship in print. So the same rules also apply here.
So, there are two factors that increase the need for long copy.
The higher the price point, the more copy required to justify the price or create the need.
This is a general rule unless the price point is perceived to be a tremendous value (then less copy may be required) or the lower price point appears to lack credibility (then more copy is required).
For example, If rolls royce dropped their price they would lose credibility and brand value.
More copy will allow you to increase the value of a product and add many more dollars to your retail price.
In short, by educating the consumer you can demand more money for your product.
The more unusual the product, the more you need to relate that product to the user and the more you’ve got to focus on creating the buying environment and explaining the product’s new features.
That’s why unusual items don’t do well in retail.
In conclusion, there are two basic reasons for using the long-copy approach.
- The first is to allow you to create an environment that will place your prospect in the proper buying mood. ( check out my previous blog if you are not sure what buying environment is…)
- And the second is to give you the time necessary to tell the full story of your product.
Short Copy Works, Too.
Here the pictures tell a million words.
You can not describe how tasty your candy or burger is but you can show it.
Short ads work for big established companies. They don’t need to build credibility through words.
They don’t even need to tell the readers all the features and benefits because everyone knows a lamborghini is fast.
So do not use short copy unless;
- You have a very big established company..
- What you are selling is really cheap.
- Your product is something you can not describe in words.
For example; you can not really tell people about how good your food tastes.
But you can describe them through nice pictures.
And most of the time that does the job.
Thank you for reading!
And stay safe!