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20 November 2008 @ 8am

Sales Letter

Long Sales Copy Don’t Work? Think Again.

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You know, I have been before in quite a fair number of marketing discussions whereby the opposite party will frequently say, "Why bother writing a long sales copy?"

"Nobody will read it."

"It doesn’t work."

"Nobody is going to wade through the pages of words"

Is it really so?

Will interested buyers not even read it at all?

Here’s the truth - long sales copy has been around because - it works! It as simple as that.

I’m not saying long sales copy out-pull short ones ALL the time. But generally, it does.

Here’s a simple example to illustrate my point.

Nothing beats face to face selling where you can see the person, talk to him and address his concerns up front right? There is an inter personal connection you can forge more easily.

Now say you are going to sell a 50 dollar product to a prospect…how long will you take to convince him (assuming that you do)?

10 minutes? 15 minutes? Half an hour?

Okay…let just assume you are a pretty good salesman…and you take ONLY 5 minutes to convince your prospect to buy?

If you were to transcribe your sales pitch, how many words do you think you would have spoken? And how many pages of words that would have filled up?

I’m going to bet with you. At least more than 1 page.

Going back…do you think you could have sold someone with a short sales copy that contains a mere few paragraphs?

Yea maybe. But how effective will that be?

Generally, the higher priced the product, the longer the sales copy should be.

I think you get my point.

Here’s what Bob Bly, one of the highest paid copywriters in the world, got to say about long copy in his recent article on EarlyToRise.com:

"But long copy often out-pulls short copy when:

  • You are marketing information products (or other products) that are sold by telling stories or conveying ideas.
  • You are generating a direct sale… via mail-order… rather than just generating a lead or inquiry.
  • The reader is unfamiliar with your product and its benefits.
  • You are demanding payment with order. The prospect has to pay up front with a check or credit card. He cannot order the product on credit and get an invoice he can choose to pay - or not pay - later.
  • The product is complex and, therefore, requires a lot of explanation.
  • The product is something people want rather than something they need. It is a discretionary purchase.
  • The product is expensive, representing an expenditure the prospect is likely to consider carefully."

It’s Not What You Think…It’s What The Customers Who Votes With Their Dollar Think


And Bob Bly goes on to say:

"What matters is that, in a statistically valid split test, the long copy generated more orders than the short copy - and that’s why those long letters are in the mail.

I close with this quote from advertising legend Claude Hopkins: "Advertising arguments should only be settled by testing, not arguments around a conference table."

100% dead on the ball. I frequently do testing myself. But I can tell you sometimes, what works is totally opposite of what I expected.

So testing is important. And tonnes of marketing studies shown that long copy is not dead. It’s still alive - AND - effective.

What do you think?

Let me know your thoughts.

I’m all ears.



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