An expert answer to the question, “How long should copy be?” from Bond Halbert, son of copywriting legend, Gary Halbert. How aware your audience is and how much you’re asking to them invest are key factors, but watch as he explains in detail.
There are two things that I think really make a big difference in the length of the copy. One is the market level awareness of the buyer and how experienced they are. I’ll give you an example of this. The second thing is, how much does what you’re asking them to buy represent of their income?
In my neighborhood, if you’re buying your first house, you want a binder full of information that you can go to your experts and say, “Look, here’s the foundation. Here’s how many roofs are on it. Here’s history. Here’s the comps in the area,” and all this information that they need. Because you’re a first-time buyer, it’s the largest purchase you’ll ever make.
If you’re selling that to a billion-dollar developer who just tears down houses and makes McMansions, they care about two things. They want to know the square footage of the lot size. They want to know if there’s asbestos in the attic because it changes how they destroy your house before they build the new one. To make that decision, they don’t need much information at all.
Market level awareness zero is I don’t even know I have a problem. You have to describe to me that I have a problem. I have to explain to you that you’re not getting primary email addresses. That open rate of five percent could be a lot higher. “Oh, I didn’t know that was a problem.”
Then there’s another level of awareness, which is they know they have a problem. They’re just not sure what the choices are to fix it. There’s another one where they know there are choices out there, but they’re not sure which is better than which choice. And then, they’re so market level aware, they know exactly what they want; they’re just shopping on price and cost comparison.
The lower the market level awareness and the higher the price represents to the amount of money you’re asking them to spend, the longer the copy. If I spend three pages trying to get you to try a new piece of gum, there’s something wrong with that gum.
If you’re going on about why you should try a $17 print book, that’s ridiculous. The offer needs to be, “Hey, it’s only $17. It’s less than the price of lunch. If I’m wrong, you will have wasted $17. If I’m right, you’re going to figure out how to build your real estate empire. You’re going to figure out how to solve whatever problem you’re solving.”
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