You hear, “My customers don’t read because they are busy professionals” in so many B-to-B categories, and of course, it is all nonsense.
Many medical device marketers have told me long copy won’t work because doctors have no time to read.
But reading is part of their job! They are mandated to keep current in their field. If your content helps them do that or improve their patient care or practice revenues, they will read thousands of words.
One writer on Facebook chastised me, explaining, “People do not read; they only skim.”
My answer: That’s why we break long copy up into short paragraphs, lists, bullets, charts, tables and sections with subheads — to make it easy to skim and scan. And here’s a secret: As long as they respond and convert, who cares whether they read it all? It doesn’t matter one iota.
The biggest constraint on copy length is not that people do not read today — they do. Rather, it is the format or medium in which the copy is presented.
“Many B-to-B marketing pieces have a standard format that influences how much copy you have to work with,” explains copywriter Steve Slaunwhite.
“For example, a press release to announce a new B-to-B product is typically no more than a page or two in length. So the word count will fall somewhere between 400 and 1,000. A Google AdWords advertisement is severely restricted in word count — just 85 characters in total, including spaces.”
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.