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The eMarketing Digest
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Volume III, Issue XIX, Nov. 22, 2008
Keep It Short Scholar
We've all heard the normal KISS principle (Keep It Simple Scholar). When
we talk about sales copy, it is important to keep it simple. It is also
important to keep it short.
Let's briefly take a different view of sales copy. Perhaps you take the
view that sales copy is meant to talk people into purchasing your
product/service. For a moment, let's take a different view that it is
actually there to talk people OUT of purchasing your product/service. In
many ways, this latter view is more accurate.
Think about the prospect as she reads your ad copy.
They read a sentence and like what it says. They feel good; they feel
hope that this will be the answer to one of their problems. They read
another sentence. It affirms the first and they feel more excited. They
are ready to buy, but there is more ad copy. They read on. The third
sentence doesn't really apply to their specific problem. Perhaps they
start to lose a bit of that excitement. Then the fourth sentence
completely alienates them. They aren't part of THAT group of people
(perhaps you were selling a fitness product and the fourth sentence was
related to weight-loss). They turn the page or click the BACK button or
close the browser. You've lost them.
If your ad copy stopped after the first two lines, you would have made the
sale. Start reading your ad copy in this way. Normally, each sentence is
viewed as the sentence that potentially "sells" them. In reality, usually
your prospect is reading each sentence looking for a reason NOT to buy.
Start editing your ad copy to eliminate all of those potential reasons.
In general, strive to make your ad copy as short as possible.
Not a believer yet? Let me give you some real-life examples that lead me
to this conclusion. In the early days, I would test click-thru rates
using a variety of sales copy. I would try a paragraph against another
paragraph. This is where I fist noticed that shorter is better. The
shorter paragraphs almost always outperformed the longer paragraphs. This
is true for both the click-thru rate and the overall amount of revenue
generated over a period of time.
I finally tested this conclusion all the way to it's logical extreme...
Yep, a single word outperforms two words almost every time. I now use
this concept to build traffic for others. I draw in the largest potential
group of customers by using a single word. I then show them a full
paragraph describing my customer's exact product/service to narrow that
group down to the perfectly targeted visitors to send along to my
customer. The others are given other choices so that I can make some
other use of them.
Need more proof? Try it yourself. Create a link on your site that says
something like: "For the least expensive high quality widgets, click
here". Obviously, change the "widgets" to something you want to actually
sell. Also make sure you use some method to track click-thru rates and
sales. Expose that link to a test group of visitors and record your
results. Now repeat with the following progressively shorter phrases:
Least Expensive/high quality widgets
Least Expensive Widgets
In almost all cases, you will find that your click-thru rate will increase
as the phrase becomes shorter. In most cases, you'll also notice that the
total revenue will increase as well. Your revenue per click will level
off at some point. This is the point of most efficiency.
Try the same exercise with your one-page sales letter. Start off with 10
paragraphs and slowly start to eliminate the least useful paragraphs. You
should notice the same effect. Eventually, your revenue per visitor will
level off and tell you that the remaining paragraphs all say essential
things to sell your product. Then you can start trimming out sentences...
finally, individual phrases and words.
The goal is to tell your prospects enough about your product/service that
they are ready to buy and NOTHING MORE. Anything more than these
essentials is just going to convince them that your product/service isn't
right for them.
Of course, you must be sure to tell them the essentials so that they make
an informed decision. This isn't a call to be dishonest by leaving out
essential information. It is actually a call to be more honest by leaving
out extraneous information that would confuse and drive away potential
Diego Norte, Contributing Writer
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