Your prospects are busy people, so you should keep your sales pitch short. Right?
When I was in PC sales, our sales manager would lead a daily, early morning ritual.
It was the usual sales pep talk. Lots of famous quotes and slap on the back motivation stuff.
Then the big boss would pull out his clipboard and the ole spreadsheets.
He’d give updates on sales numbers from the previous day and week and give us our targets and projections.
After updating everyone on the overall sales numbers the big boss says…
"Now, I have a very important announcement to make. Management has determined that from this point on we want to limit every in-person sales presentation to no more than 15 minutes.”
Silence comes over the team and everyone’s butt cheeks tighten up.
He barks...“We live in an age of short attention spans and if you can't close 'em in 15 minutes then you should find someone else to talk to!”
Now my sales manager didn’t actually say that we could only sell for 15 min.
No one in their right mind would cut off a good prospect.
My point is that Every situation different, Every presentation is different.
So the first rule of thumb is to always write as much as you need to write but no more.
What is the Goal of Your Sales Copy?
Do you need to make a point in order to convince people to buy your product?
If yes, then be sure to add it to your copy.
Will another section make your copy more persuasive?
Then by all means make sure that section is added to your page as well.
Some points only serve to make your copy longer and don’t strengthen your argument. Those are the ones you want to leave out.
Others make your copy too long and end up talking prospects out of a purchase instead of helping them to buy. I’m sure you’ve experienced a sales person that talks too much.
When you’re writing copy, remember to write it as long as it needs to be in order to make a persuasive presentation, but not to make it so long that your readers get put to sleep and go on to do something else.
You should always test the response rates for your copy (at least whenever possible).
Sometimes, a sales letter will be the most effective, and other times, a postcard is the way to go.
Sometimes a long email is best, and sometimes short and sweet is better.
It’s really difficult to know without measuring the response rate your copy achieves, but no matter what, you always want to write however much copy needs to be written in order to increase sales.
How Aware is the Person Reading Your Sales Copy?
Generally, the more aware someone is, the less convincing your argument needs to be.
The less aware someone is, the more compelling your argument must be.
You should always start with understanding how aware your reader is.
You’ll want to measure awareness on three levels; problem aware, solution aware, and brand aware.
Does your reader even know that they have a problem? If not, a large part of your sales copy will be spent educating them on why they should even take action in the first place.
Since they’re starting at square one, you’ll have to spell everything out for them in detail.
It’s hard to agitate a pain point they aren’t even feeling yet.
Imagine trying to sell a Hemorrhoid treatment to someone who’s never had one. Tough sell.
If you’re dealing with an audience that isn’t even aware of the problem you solve, just know, this will take a lot of convincing. This will be a job for long-form sales copy.
If your reader is aware of the problem you can help them solve, congratulations; a third of your work is already done for you. Now you just have to describe the problem in their own words, agitate it a little bit, then move on to the solution.
The more aware they are of the problem, the shorter your sales copy can be.
Does your reader know that solutions to their problem exist?
If so, then they’re already in buying mode by the time the read your sales copy.
This means you won’t have to spend a bunch of time explaining the problem or how bad it can get. They already know about that.
You also don’t have to waste a bunch of their time explaining how they solve their problem. They’re already well aware. They’re just shopping their options. At this point, they’re trying to figure out if yours is the best solution for them.
You’ll still need to touch on these things – problem, agitate, solution – but you won’t need to spend nearly as much time on them.
For solution-aware prospects, the main point to get across is what makes your solution different, and why that should matter to them. This can have a huge impact on cutting down the size of your sales copy.
Does your reader know who you are?
If so, most of the work has already been done for you.
Most obstacles in sales come down to one thing, the reader doesn’t know, like, or trust you. If your brand is already familiar to them, chances are, they already know, like and you.
Brand awareness is why Nike can sell $300 basketball shoes off of a billboard with only three words. “Just Do It”.
When your reader is brand-aware, you can sell them with a slogan. You can sell them by mentioning 20% off. You can sell them by adding “limited time offer” to your message.
Prospects don’t believe a word you’re saying - Copy length can handle sales objections
The next point to keep in mind is that long copy allows you to answer more objections.
Every time a customer is considering an offer, different objections pop into their head and stop them from making a purchase.
Potential objections include:
Your company may not seem trustworthy so customers decide not to buy.
The product or service may seem too expensive, and the customer may feel like they can’t afford it.
Customers may not understand the product and pull out of confusion.
Whatever the case, there’s a long list of objections for every product. Customers aren’t ready to buy for one reason or another.
One of the core jobs of great long copy is to identify these objections and help get the prospect over the fence.
One of the most important benefits of long copy is that it allows you to answer more objections which eventually can lead to more sales.
Where Will Your Sales Copy Appear?
I mentioned earlier, the example of a billboard. If this is where your sales copy will be seen, then a long-form sales letter is out of the question.
Where your sales copy will appear has a big impact on how long it should be. This is because where it appears dictates the state of mind your reader will most likely be in. It also determines the time your reader has to sit down and consider your message.
Is your reader scrolling through Facebook when they read your ad? If so, how long do they pay attention to one post before moving on to the next?
Are they reading it while they get ready for bed or while they’re waiting in traffic at a red light? These things matter.
Will your sales copy be in a piece of direct mail?
Are they reading it with a pipe in their mouth, at the kitchen table, hovering over the trash can? These things matter.
The market you’re writing to, the media you are writing in, these things should inform the message you craft and send out. Where your copy appears has a big impact on how long your sales copy should be.
So, How Long Should Your Sales Copy Be?
As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It should be as long as it needs to be, and not a word longer.
It should be long enough to make the point, but not so long that your reader starts to lose interest. It should be edited down to where not a single word is there that doesn’t also earn its place.
Winston Churchill once said, “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”
The same holds true for the length of your sales copy.
The only way to know for sure is to test the response rate your copy receives to see which converts at a higher rate — long or short copy.
It must also overcome all of the objections in the mind of the reader.
In the end you’re still speaking to a real person whether that’s in person or on screen.
You still need to use all of the same sales/persuasion principles that you would in person.
I also believe that a writer’s job is to not waste the reader’s time. People appreciate simple and not feeling like their time is being wasted.
The more concise copy can be while still conveying adequate information, the better.
So when you’re writing, don’t buy into the misconception that people don’t read.
Instead, remember that they do, as long as it’s something that’s of interest to them
The copy should be long enough to do the job it’s required to do.
It must convey all the benefits it needs to.
Nobody just reads everything. People will read what interests them.
Are you looking for someone to write your sales copy for you?
Go ahead and contact me and let’s discuss your project.