01/02/2009: "Learn To Pack a Powerful Sales Message In a Few Words."
A young entrepreneur called me about a year ago. He wanted to know if I would write a landing page for him. After some discussion, I agreed to write it.
His main request, however, was that I write "long copy" no matter what. I told him I would write the amount of copy it took to make the sale. No more. No less.
Turned out I wrote about nine pages (8 1/2" x 11" size pages) of copy. He was not happy with me. He liked the copy. It just wasn't long enough for him.
Somewhere along the way to becoming an onine entrepreneur, he determined that because all the so-called "gurus" used long copy, he should too. He believe that long copy was the only kind of copy that would make the sale.
Well, that's not true.
Long copy is fine when it's called for. But here's the trouble with long copy. Unless it speaks directly to the reader and addresses something the reader is terribly interested in (himself), he will not real all of your sales message.
So the secret of good copywriting today is to keep the copy short and simple if at all possible. At the same time, address the reader and his or her needs. When long copy is called for, use it. But don't use it just because you can.
What I've discovered about the Web 2.0 world is that readers want their messages in short, easy sentences. They want their messages short when possible. When faced with long copy, they scan. They often miss critical parts of your sales message.
So put your hot stuff in the first 200 words. And make the copy so clear a four-year-old can read and understand it.
If you hang out on Twitter (and you should), you'll discover that your messages must be 140 characters or less. Not 140 words, as in a radio commercial, but 140 characters. Can you say anything worthwhile in 140 characters? If not, I suggest you practice. Why?
Because that's Web 2.0. Short is sweet. Short sells. Learn to put important messages in short sentences and short paragraphs and finally in short pages.
When you must use long copy (and there are times you must) use it smartly. Know how your reader approaches your copy. Understand that he'll not grasp each thought you so painfully layout on the page. Learn to think like the reader.
The Web 2.0 Web browser, your prospect, wants to grab the idea fast. He wants to connect with you now, not tomorrow or next week. He wants to make a decision now, not tomorrow.
When you learn the rules of the Web 2.0 road, you'll discover that you have to do more with less. Personally, I love it.
My mother used to tell people that I could say anything in 700 words or less. Coming from a newspaper family and being in the newspaper field many years, I learned how to get the story and write it in full in the length I had in which to write.
I once was told that a man told his wife of me, "She doesn't say much. But when she does, it's worth hearing."
That's what you want in your sales message. You don't need to say much. Just make sure it's worth hearing. Make sure it makes the sale.