The most common copywriting question that I hear is:
- “How long should my sales page copy be?”
It’s an age old dilemma in the copywriting industry – and there is no clear cut answer. Every product performs differently with different lengths of copy. The important thing to understand when you are writing copy is that you need to stop looking at copy in terms of “short form” and “long form.”
Instead, see it as connecting readers and your product. You are creating an argument for that product. Copywriting isn’t journalism. It isn’t like writing an essay.
The Biggest Copywriting Trap
The biggest trap that most copywriters fall into is going into what I call “show and tell” mode when writing a sales page. From the time we are young we are taught to write expository essays for school and for many of us that habit can be difficult to break out of.
We fall into the trap of simply telling the customer what the product does, without telling them about why it does it. It’s a safe way to go about reaching your audience. You aren’t tugging at the heart strings. There is no risk of over-selling your product. You don’t have to risk being rejected by your intended audience.
That’s human nature. None of us actively seeks out rejection. We shy away form it.
Fight that voice in the back of your head. Put yourself out there. People don’t come to your website only to learn about your product. They come to gain a better understanding of what your product can do for them, and connect those benefits to their everyday life.
Being informative and creating a narrative in your copy are not mutually exclusive. They can, and should be done together.
People buy products for reasons.
In your copy, your goal should not be to teach and inform, but rather to show the customer that;
- You understand the problem that pains them. You are empathetic to their situation.
- You have created a solution to their problem because of that empathy.
- Your solution is better than the others that currently exist.
- The time to take action and use your solution is now.
So How Long Should My Sales Page Be?
As long as necessary to get those points across. How much space do you need to get your point across? How many words are required to complete those goals?
There is no magical number.
The best part is that your copy length is a measurable metric. Through testing and optimization you can learn exactly how long your page needs to be.
Remember – no copywriting is perfect on its first draft.
In fact, some of my best performing pieces of copy originally started off as some of my worst. Sometimes re-arranging the way that you shape your argument and tell your products’ story can have a huge effect on how the page is received and the type of return that is generated.
Less words can say more when presented in the right way.
Ask yourself what it is that your customers are hoping to achieve. What is it that they want out of your product? Then, write down the path that your product leads them on.
It’s important to strip your business and product down to its bare bones to better understand it. At its most basic level, what does your product do for the customer.
If you operate an Editorial Management SaaS, don’t start by presenting what it is your software does – determine what problems it solves.
Online magazines require a steady stream of content to increase profits. They have to cover a range of stories within their industry. They have to space them appropriately to generate maximum exposure. They need to give writers ample time to research their subjects by assigning them in advance of the due date. They need to ensure that two writers do not cover the same subject.
These are the problems that your editorial management SaaS solves. It’s not a laundry list of features. The features are the backbone of what solves the problems. Throughout your copy you show online magazines how your product alleviates the headaches that they experience on a day to day basis. You make real world connections between your product and their pain. You show them that you know their pain well and are empathetic to their situation. Then – you show them how you have solved their pains for them.
This leads up to the pitch for your editorial management software.
Understanding Your Customers Mind
The level of education a customer requires is heavily dependent upon their level of awareness. This effects the length of your copy.
Ask yourself this – how aware of your product is your audience? An audience that is not aware of your product would require further education before making your choice.
Let’s say you wanted to sell bananas. While someone who grew up in Latin America might be well-acquainted with bananas, someone from the arctic rim might have never come across them. The customer from Latin America doesn’t need to be educated on the banana, how it tastes, or what kind of benefits it provides. They already know. But, the individual from the arctic rim may have never tasted a banana before. They need to be made more aware (educated) of the product as a whole.
The copy for Latin Americans should differ greatly form the copy that would be presented to those from the arctic rim. The length of the copy could potentially differ greatly, even those both are selling the same product.
According to Gene Schwartz in his critically acclaimed book, “Breakthrough Advertising” he outlines 5 levels of awareness for each customer;
- Most Aware: They know the product. They know their problems. They know how your product could potentially solve those problems.
- Product Aware: They know the product, but aren’t sure that it solves their problems.
- Solution Aware: They know the problems that need to be solved and the results that solve them, but do not know your product.
- Problem Aware: They are aware that they have a problem, but do not know how it can be solved.
- Unaware: They do not know they have a problem.
This is a great way to look at every marketing effort, and subsequently the copy that is created after determining the awareness of your audience. Once you identify the awareness of your readers, then you can begin to determine exactly what needs to be contained within your copy, and get down to determining length.