I’m a sucker for long copy for the same reason I’m a sucker for a great website: it sells. Here are a few criteria that will help you decide whether long or short copy will help your business sell more of what you offer.

1. Purpose

The first thing to do when writing copy is understand the purpose of the marketing piece. Is this meant to convince readers to buy on the spot? Are you educating them about a topic related to your business? Enticing someone to buy will sound much different than sharing information about a facet of your business. The pitch will be different: “Buy now!” or “Keep reading,” for example. A fully-fledged sales pitch has to alleviate every concern a buyer might have, so that’s one reason the reader would prefer long copy.

Special considerations
If you’re offering advice, you need a method to restrict access to only users who pay, subscribe, or like/follow your business. That way you can harvest contact information and follow up with marketing messages later. If that’s the case you should craft two calls to action: 1) one that convinces the reader to submit their information to finish the article and 2) one that convinces the reader to continue to another marketing piece after they’ve finished the article.


2. Audience

Your audience is another factor that will influence the length of your copy writing. But – and this is important – you are not the audience. Many business owners have difficulty judging the appropriate length of their copy the same way I have trouble proofreading what I’ve written. You’re in the thick of things and already intimately familiar with how your product or service works. But most of the time, your prospects aren’t. They need and want to know more before they make a decision. In a digital world, they can get more information about what you offer just about anywhere. Give them enough information in your marketing material so they feel comfortable enough to purchase your product, schedule an appointment, make a phone call, etc without having to research someplace else.

You should determine the level of information your audience wants before they make a purchase. The reader’s age, education level, income bracket, internet usage habits, demographic data, and other factors will predict their affinity toward digesting the information you present to them.


3. Type of product

Few people will spend $30,000 or more on a car based on 2-3 sentences. But they might buy a garden hose based on that same amount of information. If your product or service is a simple, replaceable good, your reader will not feel compelled to carry out a lot of research before their purchase. Conversely, if your product/service is complex and irreplaceable, the audience will research before buying.

Try asking these questions to learn more about the level of research your reader will undertake before making a purchase:

  • Does the product or service require the customer to learn a new skill or change ingrained habits?
  • Does a typical interested customer wait one or more years between purchases of this product/service? (If the answer is “Not Applicable,” consider this a “Yes.”)
  • Will the purchase of this product/service significantly impact the customer’s life/home/business/family one or more years from now?
  • Is this a product/service that the customer will find very difficult to live without?
  • Is this a product/service that is required by law?

If the answer to two or more of these questions is “Yes,” the information you should deliver to your prospects needs to be very thorough.


4. Familiarity with product/service

The last two factors, the audience’s familiarity with your product/service and familiarity with your brand, dictate where to start when talking about your business.

If you’re selling a car or truck to someone in the United States, you can safely assume that you do not need to patiently explain the concept of a vehicle to someone – they already know what an automobile is, what it’s for and why it’s valuable. But if you’re selling a specialized service or brand new product that few people know about, you have to build the audience’s knowledge base before you sell them on the final product.


5. Familiarity with your brand

Being the biggest name in your industry definitely means something. When it comes to copy writing about your product or service, if your audience is already familiar with your business you can skip the “small talk” – introductions, differentiation statements, building trust in your business, etc. Building a brand is primarily about associating your copy with your imagery and logo so that people who see your logo recall your business and what you’re about. Once that connection is made, it’s smooth sailing for your copy. But until people are intimately familiar with the products or services you offer and your business, you need to tell consumers exactly what they’re purchasing and why they should purchase it from you instead of someone else.

In case you didn’t notice, the tips above were fairly long. That’s because the purpose of this article was to educate an intelligent, small-business-owning audience about a service – copywriting – that will impact your business years from now and would be awfully difficult to run your business without. I assume you’re moderately familiar with the need for someone to write copyfor your business (especially since you’re reading this), though I’m not sure how familiar you are with Chansen Interactive. I hope that, if you’re looking for someone to write or improve your copy to be more sales-focused and search engine friendly, you would consider us to do it for you. Chansen has 16 years of marketing and advertising experience to draw on.

If you want to know more about how great content can help your business, please let us know using the form.