We've all heard the normal KISS principle (Keep It Simple Scholar). When we talk about sales copy, it is important to keep it simple -- but it is even more important to keep it SHORT.
A DIFFERENT LOOK AT BUSINESS WRITING
Let's briefly take a different view of sales copy. Perhaps you take the view that sales copy is meant to talk people INTO purchasing your product or service. For a moment, let's take a different view that it is actually there to talk people OUT of purchasing your product/service. In many ways, this latter view is more accurate.
WHEN BEING VERBOSE HURTS YOU
Think about your prospects as they read your ad copy. They read a sentence and like what it says. They feel good -- they feel hope that this will be the ANSWER to one of their problems. They read another sentence. It affirms the first and they feel more excited. They are READY to buy -- but there is more ad copy. They read on. The third sentence doesn't really apply to their specific problem. Perhaps they start to lose a bit of that excitement. Then the fourth sentence completely alienates them -- they aren't part of that group of people and now feel that your product or service is really meant for someone else. They turn the page or close the browser -- you've LOST them.
STOP AFTER YOU HAVE THE SALE
If your ad copy stopped after the first two lines, you would have made the sale. Start reading your ad copy in this way. Normally, each sentence is viewed as the sentence the potentially "sells" them. In reality, usually your prospect is reading each sentence looking for a reason NOT to buy. Start editing your ad copy to ELIMINATE all of those potential reasons. In general, strive to make your ad copy as short as possible.
A TRUE STORY
Not a believer yet? Let me give you some real-life examples that lead me to this conclusion. In the early days, I would test click-thru rates on my website using a variety of sales copy. I would try a paragraph against another paragraph. This is where I first noticed that shorter is better. The shorter paragraphs almost always OUTPERFORMED the longer paragraphs. This is true for both the click-thru rate and the overall amount of revenue generated over a period of time.
I finally tested this conclusion all the way to its logical extreme... Yep; a SINGLE WORD outperforms two words almost every time. I now use this concept to help others market their businesses. I draw in the largest potential group of customers by using a single word. I then show them a full paragraph describing my customer's exact product/service to narrow that group down to the perfectly targeted visitors to send along to my customer. The others are given other choices so that I can still market to them in the future.
TRIMMING IT DOWN
Need more proof? Try it yourself. Try an exercise with your one-page sales letter. You will need some method of tracking responses and sales. Start off with 10 paragraphs and slowly start to ELIMINATE the least useful paragraphs. In almost all cases, you will find that your response rate will increase as the letter becomes shorter. In most cases, you'll also notice that the total REVENUE will increase as well. Eventually, your revenue per prospect will level off and tell you that the remaining paragraphs all say essential things to sell your product. Then you can start trimming out sentences -- and finally, individual phrases and words. When your revenue levels off, you know that you have reached the point of most EFFICIENCY.
THE PURPOSE OF WRITING
The goal is to tell your prospects enough about your product or service that they are ready to buy and NOTHING more. Anything more than these essentials is just going to convince them that your product or service isn't right for them. Of course, you must be sure to tell them the essentials so that they make an informed decision. This isn't a call to be dishonest by leaving out essential information. It is actually a call to be more honest by leaving out EXTRANEOUS information that would confuse and drive away potential customers.
James Brausch is the Vice President of Marketing for Target Blaster, Inc., an Internet Marketing firm specializing in targeted traffic. Visit his website at www.TargetBlaster.com.
Want to receive these kind of articles via e-mail each month? Sign up for a free subscription.
Click here to return to "Organized For A Living" -- September 2002...
www.OnlineOrganizing.com is a service mark of Creative Solutions for Home and Office, LLC.
To see what people are saying about www.OnlineOrganizing.com, check out our visitor comments.