You hate long sales message like long form sales letters, videos, emails, landing pages.
How do I know? Because Everyone does.
And Everyone knows in the internet age attention spans are shorter than ever.
In fact, I know some companies even have a policy about not having sales copy longer than a single page.
Or a video longer than 30 seconds.
But if everyone hates it so much. Why do we still see so much of it?
Why, when I enter marketing funnels, am I treated to 3 – 25 minute videos, that all lead to the giant 90 minute webcast at the end?
Why does every financial sales letter I receive last over 30 minutes?
Because, as the amazing copywriter John Ford, better known as Michael Masterson says, In every single test, in every single industry, given the same quality of leads, longer sales copy ALWAYS wins. And you can be sure John Ford has tested a lot.
But its not just financial copy. Scouring the internet for test results unanimously shows longer copy wins. At least for complex services or calls to action that require a commitment of more than an email address.
If everyone hates it so much, why does it win so often?
And if longer sales copy converts better, shouldn’t we always use long copy?
After all, like David Ogilvy says, “All my experience says that for a great many products long copy sells more than short. Advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say whether people read the copy or not.”
Obviously, the offer helps to dictate length. For example, you’re starving, you see an ad that has a burger on it, and one world that says “Hungry?” you’re getting it. You’re sold.
However, with a complex financial product no one has ever seen before you need to establish credibility, track record, offer details, guarantee, scarcity, competitive comparisons, and more.
But how do you decide?
I wondered that myself, at least as far as having a system to figure it out, before Todd Brown introduced me to the awareness pyramid. And now its one of the first things I look at when designing a marketing message or funnel.
Your prospect comes at you with one of 5 different levels of awareness about your product or service.
The 5 levels range from most aware (your existing clients).
To unaware, or people who don’t know they have a problem.
In between, there’s problem aware prospects who know something is wrong, and feel some pain.
An example is a wealthy person who’s trying to protect their assets. They know the economy is in shambles, but don’t know what to do to protect themselves.
Next we have people who are solution aware. This is the prospect who has a toothache. He knows he needs a dentist, but just move to a new town and doesn’t know who the best dentist is.
Then we have the prospects who are company aware. They know who you are, and what you do. But they’re not sure you’re the best solution for their problem.
It’s obvious when you look at the awareness pyramid that depending on where you’re targeting your market, the length and approach your copy and your funnel takes will vary.
For example, if you’re targeting your most aware clients, and you have a new product, getting them to buy is simply a matter of telling them to grab their checkbook.
On the other hand, if you have a product that solves a problem your prospects don’t know they have, you have to first convince them they have the problem, then walk them down a very long path to your solution.
The awareness pyramid helps with more than just copy length.
For example, I was recently talking to a business owner who was explaining how he hated Facebook ads and refused to use them for lead generation. On the other hand, he had had success in the past with Google AdWords.
As soon as I looked at his marketing materials, it was easy to see what was wrong.
His landing page, sold an expensive service in the $3000 price range. Since it was a long page, length had nothing to do with the lack of conversions.
But here’s where understanding the awareness pyramid identified the problem instantly.
With Google Adwords, you’re targeting search terms. That means that all of the traffic hitting his site from Google solution aware. They were actively searching for his service, and his page did the job to convert that level of awareness into buyers.
His Facebook Ads on the other hand were targeted to demographics and interests. That means the traffic coming was problem aware, not solution aware.
To capture leads from this source his landing page should offer a lead magnet or attraction device based on the problem they know they have.
Once they’re in the funnel, his marketing message could address the problem; make them aware of the solution and his company.
So, you might be asking, “Why target anyone other than most aware or solution aware prospects?” Well…
For most products and services, there simply aren’t enough “Most Aware” buyers to scale and grow your business.
Companies like Agora attack the unaware market, because it’s huge. But they can do that because they have a multimillion-dollar marketing budget.
But most of us should be targeting problem aware or solution aware prospects.
Remember, the lower on the pyramid your prospects are, the more of them there are. But the more marketing information you need in your funnel before presenting the CTA.
Knowing your prospects awareness pyramid, puts you miles ahead of your competition in architecting a killer message or funnel.
Even though long copy generally converts better, you don’t want to make a message any longer than it has to be. You want your message to be tight, concise, and too the point.
But as a marketer, your job is to give enough information, and make enough of a case for your product or service, that your prospect has no choice but take the action you want them to take.
But stop worrying about the actual length as part of your copy process, you should never arbitrarily shorten or lengthen a message or funnel to meet any long or short length constraints. Give them what they need to make a decision on the next step. And not a word more.