Message & Media: When Less Is More
Do you know the No. 1 question I get asked when leading writing workshops? It's these five words: "How long should copy be?"
The answer is simple. Copy and content need to be as long as they need to be to do their job: Make a sale. Generate a lead. Provide sought-after information. Establish credibility.
As direct response writers know, the only way to know for certain whether longer or shorter "copy works better in a specific situation is to test, track and analyze results.
But sometimes it's not feasible to test, so here's my suggestion: Use common sense.
Is your objective to generate a one-step sale? If so, then common sense tells you that you need to provide a complete and compelling sales argument for why your reader should buy now, not later. This includes product benefits and specifications, answers to buying objections and a lot more. You also need to explain where and how to make the purchase. Online. In a store. By phone or mail. The result is one-step sales copy typically is longer than other marketing messages.
When your goal is different from selling off the page in one step, your copy strategy will be different, as well. Here are eight marketing scenarios in which less—in regard to copy—is more. But remember, when in doubt, test to confirm.
1. Lead Generation
Whether you're writing a lead generation email, direct mail letter or space ad, the goal is to leave your readers wanting to know more. So don't reveal your entire sales pitch. If you do, your readers will make a yes-no buying decision without giving you the opportunity to identify their initial interest.
Here's a tip: Pick the most tantalizing product benefit for your targeted audience and tease with it. Then ask your reader to click, call, mail a card or scan a QR Code to learn more. At that point, you've identified (and owned) a qualified lead, and you can take your time nurturing that lead into a solid customer.