Let me tell you a story…
Years ago, I wrote website copy for a client. It converted well and generated a nice stream of leads for his business.
He was happy. I was happy. The world was a good place.
A few months later, he got in touch and told me the leads had dried up. So I took a look at his PPC account.
When I couldn’t see anything amiss, I checked his website.
What did I find?
I found that his website copy had changed. And, in particular, it was much shorter.
I asked him why, and he told me his business partner didn’t like my copy. He thought it was too long. So he wrote a shorter version, showed both versions to a focus group, and the focus group preferred the short copy.
So he replaced my version with his.
I had to explain to my client that the people in the focus group weren’t prospects. They had zero intention of paying for this company’s service. So, of course they’d prefer the short version.
It’s like if I asked you, what would you rather read: a short article on knitting, or a 200 page book on knitting?
If you have no interest in knitting, you’d pick the short article, wouldn’t you?
(By the way, this isn’t the sexism, that’s coming up soon!)
So here’s the point…
You’ve probably heard that “people don’t like reading long copy”.
I’m here to tell you that’s irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what “people” like. The only thing that matters is what potential buyers do. And buyers read.
As Gary Halbert – one of the greatest direct mail men of the last 50 years – explained:
“Hardly anybody puts enough detail into their promotions. Remember this: People who are not interested in your product or service don’t want to know anything about it but, those who are interested, want to know everything about it.”
So, when you write, include all the information that would be useful to a buyer.
Or, as they used to say in more sexist times:
“Copy should be like a woman’s skirt, long enough to cover everything important, but short enough to keep it interesting.”