When it comes to writing compelling copy that’s engaging and sells, this is a very common question:

“What if I’m going to be marketing on
the internet? Do you suggest long or short? Some people like the long copy and
other prefer the short. What is your take?”

The answer is: BOTH!

For starters, if someone who is NOT part of your target audience sees your headline and copy, they won’t be interested and they won’t read anything.

If someone who IS part of your target audience sees your headline, if they are attracted by your ‘hook’, then they’ll read more.

On the web, the majority of viewers scan the headers and subheaders. If they are really interested, they’ll go back and read more details.

Still another subset of readers will read the headline and at least the first paragraph. Then, they’ll scroll right to the bottom of the web page to get to the punchline: How much does your ‘thang’ cost?

There are readers who read every word, but they are the exception, rather than the rule.

So, for all practical purposes, when you write compelling copy for the web, you have to make it easy for your viewers of all types, from the ‘scanners,’ to the ‘every word’ reader, to the types who read the first paragraph, next cruise to the bottomline.

To do this, you’ll need to make sure that you write effective headers and subheads, you pay particular attention to writing solid, engaging first sentences of your paragraphs. And, you have to make sure that you format your copy with the appropriate use of color, typefaces and font sizes, and text formatting (bold, italics, etc.) By the way, use underlining very sparingly, or you’ll end up with a page that looks like your a cheap salesperson.

And as far as what’s important to include in the copy, you need to first ask: ‘What is it that potential buyers want to know about what you’re selling?’

They want to know what’s in it for them. And, they want to know the risks involved. You’ll need to address this in your copy; things like:

  • What problem does it solves for them?
  • How does your product/service solve it?
  • Can I believe you?
  • What’s in it for them to buy and use your product or service?
  • What’s the risk (financial and otherwise) of buying from you?
  • Do I really need this?
  • Do I like you or trust you enough to buy from you?
  • Is it really worth the money?

The ultimate bottomline
Don’t sweat the length; write as much copy as you need to convey the key benefits and ultimate value of what you’re selling and be sure to address natural resistance and knee-jerk objections. The people who want to solve the problem that you are the answer to will read as much as they need to feel good about buying. Everyone else, won’t read anything, not matter how short or how long.