Marketing Copywriting, Maslen on Marketing

How to double your profits by writing more

Our house is stuffed with story books. Some we can read in a few minutes, others take more like half an hour. Guess which ones my children prefer?

This preference for engagement runs deep in the human psyche. And it may go part of the way to explaining why long copy tends to work better than short copy.

In fact, it’s been shown that the best copy can double your profits.

Now, many otherwise sane and rational people (you know, marketeers, business-owners, people like that) get all huffy when advised that longer copy works better.

Yet these are the same sane and rational people who want maximum profits. Hmm.

Your only recourse is to action, not theorising. Run some copy tests. THEN decide.

Four words good, two words bad

Long copy is, in general, more responsive than short copy. This applies to web pages. Sales letters. Emails. Ads. Even press releases.

Some of the world’s most profitable mail-order businesses have tested relentlessly, and ended up with 12, 24 or even 32-page sales letters. For fun? Yeah right! No, for PROFIT.

“But people don’t read that much copy,” the cry goes up.

Well, here’s the kicker. Maybe they do read it and maybe they don’t. Nobody knows. But what we do know is that they RESPOND.

Are you slashing your selling power?

Here’s my analysis of what’s happening. Let’s say you have an eight-page sales letter. On every page you include three cross-heads, each one encapsulating, in some way, a benefit.

That’s 24 benefits-driven headlines. Your reader may well not be reading word for word. But even if they just skim and scan, they are picking up a couple of dozen reasons to buy.

Or you could send them a one-page letter. With three heads. They might not read this one either (a fact often overlooked by the naysayers), preferring to skim and scan. But now they’re getting three reasons to buy instead of 24.

That’s an 87.5% REDUCTION in selling power.

The narrative copy is the connective tissue that holds your copy together. And although not every reader might read every word, enough will dip in and out that you have to give them something more substantial than headlines to chew on.

How to write longer copy

It takes a lot of work to write a compelling eight-page sales letter. Or if that still blows your bulbs, how about a four-page letter?

Contrary to what many believe, the work isn’t in the typing. The work is in the research.

First you have to find out as much as possible about the target reader for the copy.

Then you have to dismantle the product until you have a gut understanding not of what it IS, but of what it DOES.

Finally you must create a proposition for buying that is so irresistible that once they’re hooked, your reader will happily keep reading until you’ve finished with them.

Sure, the writing isn’t all plain sailing. After all, that’s why my job is called copywriting, not copy typing. There are formulas, structures, tools and techniques that we bring into play to keep people on the hook.

In essence though, you have to think of, and write down, every single way that your reader benefits when they do business with you.

Naturally, this all takes time. And I firmly believe in outsourcing this type of work to specialists. Well, I would, wouldn’t I?

So please, spend most of your time running your business or planning and executing mailings, marketing communications and e-shots.

And reserve just enough to get in touch with me to discuss the copy. I specialise in sales letters, dm packs, emails and web pages. And there are plenty of testimonials to my results-getting copy on my website.

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