No matter how many times I slay this argument…
…It always reawakens like an undead zombie.
“Which is better?” people ask. “Long copy or short?”
The real answer is neither.
You need enough copy. That is: however much it takes to make the person buy.
Though for most people that’s more copy than they originally thought – even seasoned pros. Heck, I remember reading in John Hegarty’s book on advertising that he ‘didn’t believe people bothered to read long copy.’
Hegarty, though an advertising legend, has spent his career in general advertising – t.v. and glossy magazine ads.
The belief that ‘nobody reads copy,’ is super common amongst these people who aren’t held accountable for sales.
In direct response, life is very different.
Every sale is measured.
Every word of copy can be tested to see what gets a result. And yes: in most cases you find that longer copy beats out short. Because long copy gives your reader more reasons to buy.
As David Ogilvy once said, “The more you tell, the more you sell.”
I saw this happen again the other day with Motley Fool UK.
“Your sales page is crushing it,” their marketing director wrote me in an email.
Now, I’ll be honest. There was nothing particularly, spectacularly brilliant about this page. But it was longer than all the others I’d seen them use. Most of Motley Fool’s sales pages were short – a headline, a few bullets and an order form.
So I wanted to test out something longer. I wrote a 3500 word page, giving the reader every reason to act. I left nothing out.
Now that page is pulling in more profits – day in, day out. I rather wish I’d negotiated more money.
But hey ho.
At least there’s a lesson to be learned: a little effort now pays you back massively in the future. And your first step is easy.