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Long Sales Letters vs. Short Sales Letters

... I turn, I'm being asked to weigh in on the issue of whether copy should be long or short in a sales letter. I receive ... ... on ... and ... and they are all s

Everywhere I turn, I'm being asked to weigh in on the
issue of whether copy should be long or short in a sales
letter. I receive countless newsletters on copywriting and
marketing, and they are all still debating the issue.

I doubt that the question will be answered definitively,
but after hearing from other Internet copywriters and after
considering the issue myself, I've learned that if you
follow three guidelines, the issue of length will become
almost irrelevant.

Guideline #1) TELL PROSPECTS WHAT THEY WANT
AND NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE A BUYING DECISION.

Interested prospects will read even a sales letter of
several pages long if they are interested and if your
sales letter has good content. Many of us are more
interested in telling prospects what WE want them to know.
But we should all be telling prospects what THEY want and
need to know.

Guideline #2) OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS.

This guideline is actually Rule #17 from Strunk & White's
famous little book on writing, _The_Elements_of_Style_. (If
you write, you really should read this small but influential
book.)

Anything that doesn't have a direct purpose or work toward
winning over your prospect should be cut out. I don't care
how much you want to tell them about what a great reputation
your company has and how successful you were last year.
Unless that information takes the reader one step closer to
buying (admittedly, sometimes it does), cut it.

Do the research and know your target audience. Then, write
with their needs in mind. Write everything your prospects
want and need to read, but write ONLY what they want and need
to read. Cut the rest.

Guideline #3) TEST. TEST. TEST.

This is the best indicator of how long your sales letter
should be. If you don't like to test, you have to rely on
luck. Not a good idea. Put together the best sales letter
you can with everything a prospect needs to know to make a
buying decision, cut out anything that's not essential
reading for your prospect, then run it. Record the results.
Rewrite a portion of the letter. Test again. Record the
results. Keep doing this until conversion rates improve and
you'll know how long your sales letter needs to be. Of
course, this kind of testing is much easier online than in
offline direct mail, but it needs to be done. (Offline
direct mail will probably require a split mailing.)

Although many people will tell you that "research has
shown longer sales letters pull better," the only research
you should be paying attention to is your own. Long sales
letters don't pull well for everyone.

There's an easy way to answer to the question of how
long or short a sales letter should be. (It's the same for
other similar questions of tone, dictionArticle Search, and how much
text you should emphasize.) Determine the needs and desires
of your readers and you'll have your answer.

Article Tags: Long Sales Letters, Long Sales, Sales Letters, Sales Letter

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Matthew Cobb is an independent copywriter/consultant.
He can be reached at contact@cobbwriting.com or
by visiting www.cobbwriting.com, where you can sign
up for his monthly e-pub, The Copy and Content Clinic.



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