The “Long Copy” format: can it work for you?

The new SEO Book sales letter has been live for a little while now. (I’d love to know how it’s doing so far!) Although I think pretty much all Internet marketing sales letters are eerily remniscent of Kevin Trudeau infomercials, this is a definite improvement.

Brian Clark at Copyblogger, who rewrote the page for Aaron, unveiled the letter with an explanation on why the copy is so long (emphasis added):

  • This is not a John Grisham paperback. It is specialized and continually-updated SEO knowledge with a $79 price tag. Most people desire and require a lot of information before they will make this type of purchase.
  • Cold prospects from search engines and affiliate links need more information about Aaron and his credibility, and even about the topic of SEO itself. It may be hard for some to believe, but there are plenty of people who are not clear on what “search engine optimization” actually means. Assuming your visitors know more than they actually do is a conceit that kills conversion.

So, can long copy work for you? That depends on what you’re selling.

Low involvement products, on one other hand, require virtually no marketing to sell. You need bread? You grab the brand you grew up on, or the cheapest one on the shelf. There’s not much more persuasion involved. These are usually impulse buys, routine buys or inexpensive items.

Long copy sales letters and landing pages are best for high involvement products. These are products which are often more expensive and require a lot of research before purchasing. With a long copy sales letter, you can try to provide all the information your visitors need to make a purchase.

  • http://www.gsinc.co.uk Gareth Davies

    Long or short copy will really depend on your audience and their attention span. The safe way round this is to use the ‘inverted pyramid’ structure. So by placing all the essential information at the top of the copy those who don’t read long copy still get all the stuff they need. Those who love detail can also get lots of copy too underneath.

    Incidentally – I read a study this year that women tend to read more on a page than men and are more likely to go below the page fold.

  • mad4

    Would be interesting to know the conversion rate for people in the UK. Not one person I know from the UK would even look twice at a sales letter page.

    Aaron if you are reading this you may want to test some geotargeting……..

  • http://www.gsinc.co.uk Gareth Davies

    Interesting comment mad4. I get the same comments from UK clients too. They say they don’t like long copy and ‘there’s no way that would work on me..’ but then in reality if you dig a bit deeper these are the very same people who impulse buy alot online (and often from sales letters). I have my suspicions its a pride thing, maybe they just don’t like to admit it works on them? :-)

  • Jordan McCollum

    You make some excellent points, Gareth. Brian has promised to show us the results of the overhaul, but personally I curse the day I was born (okay, so I just roll my eyes) when I accidentally run into a sales letter.

    On the other hand, what format would you recommend instead of a long copy sales letter for an item like this?