The Death of Long Copy: And Why You Need to Pay Closer Attention to Attraction and Conversion Instead
Long copy is dead, you say.
People have no time to read reams of information. They need the facts in the shortest, briefest medium.
If you must rant and rave…
Rant and rave over the right subject. Because when you carve copy, you can quite easily slice it down to two main factors.
The factor of attraction.
And the factor of conversion.
Er, let's go to attraction city first
By its very nature, attraction is brief. It's fast, it's fleeting, and its main purpose is to snap you out of la-la land and get you to take notice.
Like the red bikini.
Like the classified ad.
Like the snippets on the news, before the full report.
Like the photo of the real estate you so want to own.
Like the vacation in yummy New Zealand.
And then there's conversion
So when Ms.red bikini tells you her background; when the classified ad leads to you making a phone call; when the real estate agent has to go through that darned house and explain the details for the nth time, that's the factor of conversion.
Conversion is impossible without the facts
When we are fed with an incomplete story, our brains whirr and spin. And a brain that's whirring and spinning soon ends up feeling a little dizzy.
And in that dizzy state, it just won't take a decision. So if you plan to write copy that's incomplete. That doesn't give the customer the facts in the greatest detail, then you've done an astounding job of attracting the customer, and promptly sending that customer into a state where she needs to think about it.
Think about it, my foot!
As Claude Hopkins, the grandpa of advertising said way back in 1920, in his book ‘Scientific Advertising'.
You are like a salesman in a busy man's office. He may have tried again and again to get entry. He may never be admitted again. This is his one chance to get action, and he must employ it to the full.
This brings up the question of brevity. The most common expression you hear about advertising, is that people will not read much. Yet a vast amount of the best-paying advertising, shows that people do read much. Then they write for a book, perhaps– for added information.
There is a fixed rule on this subject of brevity. One sentence may tell a complete story on a line like chewing gum. But whether long or short, an advertising story should be reasonably complete.
Complete and un-boring
Dictionaries are complete. Encyclopaedias are complete. Yet, we choose to watch National Geographic, because it does the twin action of both attracting and converting us, by giving detailed, yet un-boring information.
So do you have to play the village idiot to get the customer's attention?
No you don't. Far from it. You simply have to make sure your copy answers the questions:
And how much.
And what's my risk?
And who else bought this?
Or to put it another way…
How do I buy this real estate?
What makes it so wonderful?
Why is it so expensive?
When does it go on the market?
How much does it cost?
What's the risk factor?
Do you have a record of this property?
Which brings us full circle to the factors of attraction and conversion in practical terms
You can create a landing page on your website, without the immense detail because you're in attraction mode. Your email can titillate, and do the attraction bit, in less than four or five lines. You can send out a postcard and get inundated with phone calls asking for more information.
Aha, more information, huh?
That's your conversion factor. You now need to bring out the big guns; the complete information. Your customer is standing in conversion territory. Prevent the whirr in their brain and give them
the information in the most lively, un-boring manner.
Yes indeed, long copy is dead
So bring the shovel, and let's put long copy six feet under. Because en realidad, there is no such thing as long or short copy.
There is only complete or incomplete copy.
All you need to ask yourself is one question.
Is this information meant to attract or convert? And the length of the copy will present itself to you in a matter of seconds!
Next Step: Read actionable articles on copywriting.