I know. I’ve been preaching long copy for as long as I’ve been a copywriter.
In fact, I continue to do so.
There’s nothing quite like having the FULL effect of a well-flowing, mesmerizing sales pitch run before your eyes and take full effect.
Whether that’s print, email, video or anything else. Doesn’t really matter.
HOWEVER, short copy has its place and it CAN be effective.
Especially in the world of e-commerce, I’ve personally HAD to hone my copywriting skills to an extreme.
Because on e-commerce sites, you don’t really always get the luxury of a long pitch.
You HAVE to create that pull, that effect in a cramped space while competing with a lot of other eye candy.
But it IS possible.
Lately I’ve had some internet marketing friends test short sales letters, and it seems they’re coming to similar conclusions.
It doesn’t ALWAYS work, and whenever there’s choice I’d go with long copy, mind you.
But it does seem there ARE some exciting nooks and crannies online where short copy works very, very well.
The drawback? It isn’t that easy to write, believe it or not! If you’re looking for a shortcut, short copy is not it.
You’ll have to pack that much more into the sales piece without compromising readability, the feel of the page or any of those important things.
It takes a FORMULA. Which I’m working on, by the way. 🙂
But for now, I’ll leave you with a few short tips that’ll get your brain juices started.
Juho Tunkelo’s short copy tips:
1. Consider copy flow carefully. Even in a cramped space, the reading experience must make sense. Don’t leave out major parts of your pitch, have them all there but in a condensed form.
2. Don’t skimp out on the headlines. Headlines are as important as ever, and you’ll want to make the fewer subheadings work extremely well, too. So forget those ‘And so what happened next…’ type of subheadings, they must ALL count towards the decision.
3. Use visuals strategically. If you’re going to use images to generate emotion, make sure it’s something relevant like a picture of a membership or bonus card, instead of a feel-good image. Stick to the essentials of persuasion.
4. Run your persuasion checklist carefully. You’ll want to include as many persuasive psychological triggers as you need, but don’t overload the prospect either. In short copy, you want to make the effect quickly but have some trust in the process. Don’t drive them away by hitting them over the head.
5. Stack up the offer! In shorter copy, paradoxical as it may sound, people may STILL not read the entire copy. So make sure you condense your core offering in as many places as you can: in the headline, in subheadings, at the close, in the PS even. That way you’ll catch as many decision making points as possible.
Ok, that’s enough for a short copy primer right now.
I STILL recommend you to think in terms of long copy, and consider short copy an anomaly to be applied only in specific circumstances where it’s called for, physically necessary and where it can actually be effective.
I think that those writers that write long copies and those that write short ones are just two different types o writers. I, myself, have a really hard time writing short and well. To be honest, even headlines are very hard for me.
Jennie – that’s a good point. For some people, long copy comes easier and that’s a good thing AS LONG AS every word counts. If it’s boring or feels long-winded, it’s a goner.
In the end, the marketing task at hand should dictate whether it’s short, not the writer’s personal style. But as you say, there are different style too.
As for headlines and everything else.. keep coming back, I’m going to be going back to the basics quite a bit in the near future here.
Nice share juho..
Keep writing good articles.
Hi Juho, this is going to be hard. Am on a write as long as possible process. Will try it if I can. Thanks for sharing.