Scientific Advertising: Is Your Ad Always Closing?
“...Some say ‘Be very brief. People will read for little.’ Would you say that to a salesman? With a prospect standing before him, would you confine him to any certain number of words? That would be an unthinkable handicap."
Today we have the same argument over copy length made complicated by the way we skim digital content. But look at the best direct response copywriters online and you’ll see the higher their asking price the more copy they write.
Copywriter John Carlton’s Simple Writing System costs $787 and it takes him 2,861 words to sell. Copywriter Gary Bencivenga’s DVD course costs $5,000 and it takes him 30,000 words to sell; pasted into Word at 15 point Georgia font it’s an astounding 183 pages. Who’s going to buy that? Selling just ten to his dedicated crowd nets him $50,000.
This helps prove Hopkins’ point about long copy. He says that an ad should never be produced for the masses but rather with the image of a single buyer transfixed in your mind. People had a hard time doing that in 1923. Now, in 2015 we’ve become screen people interacting on devices that have built-in cameras designed only to take pictures of ourselves.
We’ve got data, but psychologically it’s harder for us to reach into the prospect. Here is Hopkins’ antidote:
“Don't think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you sell. Don't try to be amusing. Money spending is a serious matter. Don't boast, for all people resent it. Don't try to show off. Do just what you think a good salesman should do with a half-sold person before him...”
The sale is not about you.
“...Some ads are planned and written with a totally wrong conception,” says Hopkins. “They are written to please the seller. The interests of the buyer are forgotten. One can never sell goods profitably, in person or in print, when that attitude exists.”
But here is the stiletto Hopkins drives into our selfie generation’s side, and I think history will never let us live it down: “Ad writers abandon their parts. They forget they are salesmen and try to be performers. Instead of sales, they seek applause.”