Wasting Money on Short Copy 2

“It is simply common sense that the more of your story you can force your prospects to read , the more thoroughly you can sell him. To attempt to do the same selling job in ten words, instead of a hundred, or a thousand, is to shoot craps with your clients’ money. You might as well buy only enough space to print your headline, and use the rest of the budget for repeat insertions.”

– Eugene Schwartz, Breakthrough Advertising


Not long ago, I recorded a Facebook Live video in my group, the Email Copywriting Corner, discussing a recent email marketing example of this principle.  I share some specific performance numbers and what you may be to ascertain from them.

It’s a short video…about long(er) copy.



Wasting Money on Short Copy

“The truth is, the unmotivated 95% won’t read short copy or long! So if you shorten your copy in a misguided attempt to get a higher readership among the unmotivated 95%, you’ll lose that unmotivated 95% anyway. But you will also deprive the motivated 5% of the longer sales copy they need to make a favorable decision. You will waste 100% of your money if you downsize your message to accommodate the unmotivated 95%.

“Write instead only to the motivated 5% and upsize your message to include everything your most motivated, eager-to-buy prospects want to know!”

– Gary Bencivenga, from his 29th Marketing Bullet


Quote of the Week 19

I’d like to touch on the perpetual “long copy versus short copy” battle one more time. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief. (Sorry, that was funny to me.)

This week’s inspiration comes from French Enlightenment political thinker  Charles de Montesquieu:

“What orators lack in depth, they make up in length.”

Again, the lesson is pretty plain. Many times, a person who has little to say will take a long time saying it. Their comments seem more substantial (in their minds) because they are more lengthy.

This goes for writers as well. All kinds of writer, from novelists to journalists. And, yes, copywriters, too.

Many times you will read a marketing message that takes 1,000 words to say what could be stated in 500.

Writing is a discipline. A huge part of what makes it a discipline is deciding on the best words and the best way to make a point. Well-chosen words and sentences keep writing tight, and protect your readers from boredom.

In advertising, a writer can’t afford to be too long-winded. Each word has to earn its place on the page. Like poetry. The audience needs to get all that you have to give, but you have to keep them interested in reading.

In the interest of brevity, I won’t drone on. My point, in short is this: GET TO THE POINT! The quicker the better.

That doesn’t mean I favor short copy over long.  I do prefer it when writers don’t waste words. Say everything that needs to be said. Then, not another peep.


Courtship Copywriting

A thought for your consideration (which happens to be a comment that I made on John Carlton’s blog last summer)

Selling is just like a marriage proposal. You can’t just walk up a stranger and ask her to marry you. You have to take the process one step at a time, starting with small, easy-to-make choices (“hey, wanna catch a movie?“). Make the first step for your prospect irresistibly easy to take. Over time, the actions get larger.

Long copy allows the message to start small and move the customer increasingly toward making the purchase. Short copy doesn’t have that ability-there’s no time!

Long copy is can be a “greased slide” to the sale. Short copy is one big step, and grease on a step (stair) is not usually a good idea.

This is what Gary Bencivenga called “throwing the monkey fist.”  Most big tasks can’t be accomplished in one move. Master salespeople (that includes smart marketers) use a sequence  of expanding steps to move the prospect to take the desired action.

Think about it…

More importantly, implement it.