Why You Should Test Long vs. Short Copy

Landing page guidelines for writing and testing long copy salesletters

Picture 101In almost every A/B split test we’ve ever done, or convinced a publisher to do, long copy prevails when trying to make a sale. A well-done long copy landing page will beat short copy four out of five times.

Why? Here’s our theory. Long copy tells them as much as they need to know – and much, much more. We know that nobody truly reads an entire 5,000 words salesletter. However, they do skim salesletters and they do find what they’re looking for in all that copy. More importantly, they end up buying a product that they know more about than one they know less about.

Even if the page is short and super pretty.

If you’re going to write long sales copy, just make sure you do a good job. A short landing page with no information is better than a long landing page with confusing, grammatically incorrect and sloppy information. Need tips for writing better copy? Try these ones on for size:

  1. Clear language and good grammar are part of good storytelling and so is telling the truth. If you can’t manage to be truthful or spell correctly in your landing page copy, who’s to say you can manage to deliver the benefits you promise in your copy?
  2. If you sell information products, whether in print or online, you’re in the direct response marketing business. This means that all the old direct response tactics hold true. Write for the reader. Use power words to create excitement and urgency.
  3. Avoid using jargon and terms not commonly understood by the user. Remember, if you can’t describe your products’ features in easy-to-understand terms, you can’t sell it effectively.
  4. Good writing is consistent in the use of spelling, abbreviation, terminology, grammar and punctuation. Web copy is no exception. A typo on your landing page could be enough to send your prospect to another site. Break up long copy with sub-headlines.
  5. Be consistent. Inconsistency confuses readers and makes you look uncertain of what you’re doing. Words drive the brain and nothing will make a user click away faster than confusion. Good copywriting compels the reader to take action.

If you’ve still got a short copy landing page for your newsletter, book or magazine, maybe 2010 is the time to test a long copy sales letter to increase your landing page conversion rates.

Bonus: A long copy sales letter landing page can easily be adapted to create an outbound email that can be mailed to your house file, email newsletter subscribers and email partner lists to generate more revenue on the same creative.

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