Full disclosure: Today is a holiday here in Canada, where I’m writing this. In your best interest and mine, I’ll keep today’s article brief.
There’s an ongoing debate in the advertising world about sales copy. Advertisers have been arguing for years over what sells better: long-form copy or short?
When I first started working at Early to Rise, I was in the camp that long-form sales letters were insane.
I couldn’t imagine anyone sitting down and reading a 30-page sales letter, let alone wanting to buy whatever product that lengthy sales letter was selling. But ETR Editor Craig Ballantyne and other team members insisted that long-form sales letters sell best, so I changed my tune. (It also helped that we had the numbers to back it up).
Still, it bothered me. Then I heard what you’ve probably heard that research finds the longer people stay on your sales page, reading, the more likely they are to buy whatever you’re selling.
This one, flimsy, trump card has persuaded me and many others to join the camp that long-form sales letters sell best. But still, something about the argument bothered me.
That was until I read something even more tantalizing that erased any doubt in my mind that long-form sales copy sells best.
In chapter six, “How to Write Potent Copy” of David Ogvily’s book Confessions of an Advertising Man, Ogilvy writes:
Vic Schwab tells the story of Max Hart (of Hart, Schaffner & Marx) and his advertising manager, George L. Dyer, arguing about long copy. Dyer said, “I’ll bet you ten dollars I can write a newspaper page of solid type and you’d read every word of it.”
Hart scoffed at this idea. “I don’t have to write a line of it to prove my point,” Dyer replied. “I’ll only tell you the headline: THIS PAGE IS ALL ABOUT MAX HART.”
Boom goes the dynamite.
Scientists like pointing out the fact that we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish — thanks, technology. But if someone publishes an article or sends you a private message that’s all about you, your flaws, your strengths, your struggles, what they really think about you, I don’t care how short your attention span is, you’re going to listen up. You’re going to read every, single word that person writes.
The point George L. Dyer was making is not that long-form sales copy sells best, his point was that copy length doesn’t matter as much as what’s being said.
Don’t think that just because attention spans are getting shorter and social media is to blame that you need to change your content message. Test different media, sure. If you think one medium might work better than another then test live videos, Snapchat stories, long-form and short-form sales copy, etc., but keep your content message consistent. Keep it all about the person to whom you’re selling.
The Daily Brief
I Screwed Up Last Friday…
Last Friday, I published an article that confused some readers. That’s my bad and I apologize for any confusion. The good news is there’s a lesson to be learned from the confusion…
The article in question was about the value of what other people think about you. When I hit publish on that article on Friday it was a reflection of the current state of my writing ability.
It doesn’t matter that I’ve been improving my writing for over a year now because what you, the reader, read last week was all that really mattered. And since some of you were confused, it means that my writing still must be improved.
Sometimes it’s hard to see what other people see in you (both good and bad), so it helps to gain some perspective. That was the point I was trying to make last Friday and ironically my article was the perfect example.
Special thanks to Daily Brief reader Andy Iskandar for pointing this out.
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