People don’t read. They have short attention spans. Copy needs to be short. Really short.
So why did I just receive three envelopes in the mail, each with multi-page letters, multi-panel brochures and multiple inserts? And why did I just write a 4-page letter, oversized brochure and inserts for a client to test against their 8-page-letter control?
These are smart marketers. They use long copy because it works. For them—and for their products and services.
Might long copy work for you, too? It may be worth testing if…
· You have to create or explain the need for your product before you can even start selling it. For example, people might not think they need cancer insurance if they already have health insurance—until they see the statistics.
· You need to demonstrate your expertise. Publishers of investment and nutrition newsletters, for example, give samples of content to show that their publications are trustworthy, authoritative and easy to understand.
· You want to tell a story to show how prospects can benefit from your product or service. A great way to illustrate the value of roadside or medical evacuation services, for example, is to put ordinary people in ordinary situations where they need help—and present the product as hero.
Of course, long copy still needs to be easy and inviting to read. It still needs subheads, bullet points, short sentences and short paragraphs. (Handwritten margin notes can still be used successfully, too.)
There still is a place for long copy in marketing communications. For many marketers, it’s just a different place than it was years ago.
Before people could find information online, direct mail had to do the heavy lifting. Four-page letters were common. Now we can grab prospects’ attention with a brief, engaging email… generate interest and action with a microsite… and persuade them to buy with a downloadable fulfillment package. It’s long copy—broken up into bite-sized pieces and delivered in the right way at the right time.
Technology has changed, and attention spans have shortened. But people still need information to make informed buying decisions. Deliver the information they need, when they need it—and your copy will always be the right length.