“It’s Not Long Enough”

Got a voicemail from a client the other day, wondering about the copy I’d written for his sales page:

“Is this all, or were you planning to write more?” he asked. “I thought it would be longer.”

If you hang around with marketers for even a little while, you’ll discover that there’s a HUGE debate about long copy vs. short copy.

The short copy people insist that no one reads anymore. They point to studies that show declining attention spans and argue that you have to keep your copy tight and to the point, or your readers will tune out.

Then there are the long copy advocates. They point to decades of measured results that show that long copy sells, and insist that people will in fact read much more than you’d think.

So who’s right here? Am I ripping off my client by giving him fewer words than he was expecting?

How do you decide how much copy is “enough”?

Here’s the deal:

Long copy DOES work… but not because it’s long. It’s not that your readers start to whimper as they scroll down and down and down through your page until they’re begging for mercy and buying just to make it all stop… 

Long copy works because it gives you the chance to make a complete sales pitch.

You make the best case for your product. You spell out the most compelling features, and you tie them to the real benefits your customer will enjoy. You offer proof that you’ll deliver on your promises. You take away the risk with a powerful guarantee. You spur them to action by showing how they will lose out if they don’t act now.

Good long copy doesn’t bludgeon the reader with thousands of unnecessary words.

Good long copy makes a strong sales pitch—and then it stops.

In the case of this client, I’d presented all of his most powerful selling points. It was time to stop. To go on and on would risk losing the reader… and the sale.

So if you’re wondering whether you need more copy, don’t think in terms of word count or pages.

Look to see whether you’ve left out any important selling points.

And if you’ve got your bases covered, then your copy is “long enough.”