Are Online Sales Letters Too Long?
It’s always interesting to watch the debate over the length of online sales letters. This healthy discussion usually breaks down into to two camps. Each side believe fervently in their position, and are more than happy to argue endlessly.
One side believe sales letters are too long
They go on and on about how they never read sales letters. You’ll see them say they only read the headlines and skip right down to the price. They claim no one would ever read such a long sales letter because it’s boring.
The other side believes there should be no limits on copy
They like to say the longer the better. You should not limit copy in any way. You hear many say you would never send out a salesman with the instructions to limit his conversation to only 400, 500 or 1000 words. You tell the salesman to keep talking until the deal is in the bag. You would never place such limitations on someone trying to close the deal.
Actually I believe both sides are wrong!
Both sides are missing the point. In fact, I believe the question is even wrong. Why would I say that? Simple,
Can you talk your way out of a sale?
I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve watched a salesman talk his way out of a sale. He does a great job persuading the prospect to buy. The customer would give the signal that they are ready to buy. But, the salesman keeps on talking, and talking and talking. He can’t stop!
Next thing you know the customer is walking out without making purchase; and the salesman is standing there shocked because he just lost the sale. Bewildered because he thought he was really connecting with the customer, but he missed the opportunity to close.
So, yes a person can talk too much and lose the sale
And so can a sales letter. But, that doesn’t mean you should automatically shorten your copy. Not including enough information will hurt your conversions as much as too many words.
The rest of the story
No, the lesson here is you should make your copy long enough to get the job done. What’s long enough? Well, that depends upon the product and the benefits it presents to your customers. Some products sell themselves, and some need to be presented with more “wow factor”. You should use enough sales copy (words) so that at the end of close,the customer has already made their decision to want to push the ‘buy here, buy now’ button. It may be a one page sales letter or sixteen. It doesn’t matter, it’s not how many words, it’s how you say it.