Third Lesson. Small is Bootiful (and Bountiful)
Yesterday’s Lesson: How to Write Good and Sell Stuff 2
Less is more. Or is it?
In the world of copywriting, sometimes – often – more is more. Say what? Long copy versus short copy – sometimes long copy works better. So how does it fit with the topic for this lesson? I’ll deal with it in a minute.
First up, I want to discuss this vexed issue of long copy versus short.
Lots of people say short copy is the only way to go. And indeed, from the writer’s point of view, it’s easier and doesn’t take as long to produce.
Years ago, I gave talks to business owners about marketing. When the topic of long versus short copy came up, most of the room would side with the short copy argument –‘who has time to read a long ad, email or sales letter?’ was the usual response.
They were adamant they wouldn’t read a long-form ad.
Here is how I responded: ‘Are you in the market for this product?’ ‘No’ was the reply. My response was usually blunt and direct: “Well, of course you wouldn’t read a long ad. Why the heck would you do that unless you were a student of copywriting?”
So, who reads long copy? Buyers do; not tire kickers and ‘looky-loos’. It’s their money, and they want to be sure they’re making the right decision. So, they read everything they can about the topic. They devour it.
The issue is the stage in the buying process that your potential customer is in. If they’re not yet in buy mode, perhaps they should be given shorter marketing messages until they’re in ‘serious mode.’
Often when they’ve decided to buy, the question is often ‘who should I buy from?’ That’s where long-form copy comes into its own.
It’s at this point that you give ’em everything you’ve got.
Tell stories, educate, and motivate. Do it well and don’t take shortcuts.
When Small is Good
There are plenty of situations when short copy is needed, which brings me to teaser copy.
Teaser copy is for people who are not yet familiar with you or your offer. It works well on platforms like Facebook when using organic strategies.
If you need to tell a long story, direct readers to your long copy blog post, or if you don’t have a blog, send them to a Facebook Note.
Here are some of my ‘small is good’ tips.
1. Break Up Your Text
As previously discussed – no one wants to see a wall of text. So, use small sentences and paragraphs. (Note: there is a place for longer sentences but to pull it off you’ll need a higher skill set. So for now, it’s better to keep them short.)
People hate to read ‘blocky’ text. So they don’t. They’ll leave your page quicker than you can say ‘Í’m outta here.’ This is a seduction process – your initial goal is to entice them to read the first few sentences of your content. If it’s good, they’ll keep reading.
The point is this: a wall of text is confronting to most people. Many will not read it. A golden opportunity lost. So break up the paragraphs and split long sentences into two or three. Those two changes will help put the odds in your favor.
Recently I ran a Facebook Live titled: Join the No Comma Club. What was it about? I spoke about an illustrious group of people who have deleted commas from their writing. How? They break up their sentences – and the commas disappear.
Some people say that famous writers include lots of long sentences in their content. Yes, true. And sometimes it works for the simple reason that they are brilliant writers. But, for the rest of us, it’s best to keep our sentences short.
Generally, I keep my emails to one line per sentence. No traditional paragraphs.
By the way, I do not support the use of a technique used by some low-level marketers (or is it low life?). These are the people who deliberately restrict the width of the email column. Something like this:
Avoid the temptation to send emails with ultra-narrow columns. Many find it annoying and manipulative. I’m one of them.
Facebook posts can vary in length from a one-line sentence in the form of a question (yes, a question can generate leads) to one thousand words max.
Sales Letters and Sales Pages
If you’ve got hot prospects reading your sales letter or sales page, there can be only one way to look at it. Do whatever you need to do to tell the story of your product or service, and make sure you place your customer at the center of the story. If it can be done with 1,000 words, fine. But if it needs 3,000, that’s what you should do.
The length of blog posts should generally range from 500 to 4,000 words. Once again keep the sentences and paragraphs short, although you don’t need to be as obsessive about as with emails and Facebook posts.
Potent Words To Use 2
Here are some more sizzle words you can use in your sales-oriented content:
- Amazing Sensational
I’ll include more attention-grabbing words in the next lesson.
Select one of your recent posts (Minimum 100 words), then practice breaking up the text. If you can’t find a suitable example, locate someone else’s (mediocre) content, then copy and paste it to a doc and practice breaking up the text.
ALSO. Replace poorly chosen words with better, shorter, more emotional and/or impactful words. Then submit it to my Facebook group for a free critique (there’s that ‘free’ word again): Tribe Builder Community.
Lesson 4 is called Grab ‘Em When They’re Hot. Look out for it.