Wow, we’re heading into our second straight day of 43C-plus temperatures (43.7C yesterday at nearby Essendon Airport — that’s 110.6F on the old scale!).
Tomorrow’s going to be the same again.
A “sizzler”. A “scorcher”. Sweltering, searing summer heat.
(All those hot summer words beginning with “s”!).
Anyway, while we’re wilting under the summer heatwave, there’s a few businesses making the most of this weather.
Ice suppliers — running at full speed. 7-Eleven stores selling Slurpee’s at astronomical rates (so much so our local 7-Eleven ran out of big Slurpee cups yesterday! But we’re lucky enough to be good customers and were given one even though they’d sold out!).
Wanna buy an air conditioner or evaporative cooler? They’ll be flying out the door too. Same for the ice-cream sales at the beach — especially well into the evening when it’s a bit cooler (low 30’s celcius) and people venture out from their homes.
So here’s my question:
Do you think you’d need a lot of copy to make sales of this kind of product in a heat wave?
Or are your prospects ready to buy?
You’re not gonna need that much copy … although it’s a great time for relationship building as you do the extra things you really should do, even though it’s busy enough not to do them.
Even when it’s a roaring sales period, you’ll do wonders if you invest the time to look after your customers.
A customer will remember the positive experience they had in a time when you didn’t need to work hard to get sales.
(There’s a BIG lesson here of course given the state of the economy at the moment — you know that amongst the “doom and gloom” you do need to be smarter with your customer relationships … the job is easier if you’ve doing that during times of economic buoyancy).
Anyway … back to the length of copy.
Here’s my take — and I’ve heard this from other marketing mentors —
your copy is never too long, only too boring.
In other words, say all that you need to say — and no more.
Air conditioners in a heatwave? You don’t need to say much.
Other times, you’ve got to say more.
For example, sales letters. Some I’ve written are 18 or 20 pages long (I’ve seen one that was 56 pages long).
There are people that’ll instantly say “hey, that’s too long, I wouldn’t read all that stuff.”
And they’re right — because most likely, they’re not a qualified prospect. You’ve got to get the opinion of people who matter … your target market!
(They may also be right because they’re a skimmer — more about that in a moment).
But I’ve also written letters that are just 2 pages long and had a great response.
For example, I wrote a 2-page sponsorship letter for a client last year — just one single letter to just one single prospect. And we got a “yes” answer.
(In fact, a moment to be shamelessly happy — I met the client’s prospect (V Australia, the international airline division of Virgin Blue) in December at the event they sponsored — and they specifically wanted to meet me to tell me that if it wasn’t for how I’d written the letter, they’d have never agreed to the sponsorship! Boy did that give me a buzz!).
In that case, all that needed to be said could be said in two pages.
So long as the copy does its job in getting the attention of your prospect, and getting a response …
it doesn’t matter how long it is!
But back to those who’d say a 20-page letter is too long.
If it’s done right, the copy is “just right” for the job it needs to perform.
Two Types of Readers
And if you apply clever formatting — then a 20-page letter that seems too long can cater to both “types” of readers … those who read every word, and those who scan/skim along (like I do!).
Formatting (which we’ll go into more depth later) helps get across your main message using mini-headlines, graphics, images, captions, handwriting and other elements.
So a prospect could spend just a minute or so skimming through a 20-page letter and still get the message you want them to get.
Imagine Your Copy In Person…
Here’s another point I’ve picked up over the years (I can’t attribute it, it’s been a long time since I heard this) … it’s another great way to look at the “too long” question.
Imagine for a moment you meet your prospect face-to-face.
You say hi. You build rapport. You create empathy.
You’ve got their attention.
They’re interested in what you have to sell.
You start talking about your product.
They want to know more, they’re getting more interested now.
But then — you glance at your watch.
Hey, we’ve been speaking for 3 minutes. That’s enough. Bye!
And just like that, you’re gone.
You’ve left them stranded. Frustrated. And lost the sale.
You wouldn’t do that, would you? Heck no!
You’d keep talking with them long enough to sell your product.
And that’s just like with copy on paper.
You wouldn’t stop after 3 pages if you hadn’t yet accomplished what you needed to say.
You’d keep going until your prospect was convinced and ready to take action.
So, Can Copy Be Too Long?
Yes. You can bore your prospect and lose their interest.
Can 5 pages be too long? Yes. Can 20 pages be too short? Yes.
Your copy should be as long as it needs to be
to get the result you’re after!