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What to do if your copy is “too long”

One of mayhap the most common “critiques” you’ll get as a copywriter is that your clients think your copy is too long. 


I put “critiques” in quotations because it’s (usually) not so much a critique of your work, but a projection on the client’s end. 


Let me explain… 


The internet is absolutely littered with “email marketing 101” articles, written by interns for companies who sell email marketing software and don’t actually use email as a main marketing channel for their company. 


(You can spot the irony a million miles away if’n you live the email life day in and day out.) 


But since these companies (who again, do not use email to run their business) have great SEO and massive amounts of funding behind them—HubSpot has 100 M’s in funding alone—it’s easy to make these articles (which again, are written by interns who aren’t even on the email team) rank high on Google. 


And since these articles repeat the “keep your emails short” line over and over again (because this is a better strategy for the masses of beginners and uninitiated), it gets repeated so much that it, well, becomes true in a propaganda sense… Not in a “I need my emails to generate revenue” sense. 


Of course, like all good propaganda, there’s a hint of truth innit: 


Take, for example, what I just stated: Keeping your emails short works better for the masses because they don’t know the first thang about copywriting or persuasion. 


And then there’s this (which I told my client who thought my emails were too long, despite the previous iteration of emails being short and only converting about 20% of our paid leads into customers):


There are three groups you can divide any buyer’s list into:


Group #1: The people who will buy immediately without even needing to be persuaded. This is another reason why the “short copy works better” myth spreads like wildfire and dupes many otherwise smart biz owners into thinking you must write short copy (and only short copy). This group also typically makes 20% of buyers. 


Group #2: These are the people that are thinkers. They don’t take immediate action, and thus, need to be persuaded the most. They’re usually the most skeptical, but they’re also the most hopeful. They’re waiting for you to persuade them. And once you persuade them (and then they get the results they’re coming to your business for), you’ve earned a customer for life. This group is the group I’m aiming for in the client emails I’m writing. And this group also typically makes up 60% of buyers, give or take. 


Group #3: These are the trolls, haters, and losers who will never buy your product or service no matter how much you ratchet up the persuasive elements of your copy. They make up the last 20% of your audience—and the sooner you can make them unsubscribe, the better. 


And for the final nail in the coffin for the “short copy is better” mfs… 


Here’s a truism that will never falter: 


You can’t write copy that’s too long, only too boring. 


People will literally binge an entire season of their favorite Netflix show, a show that tops 10 hours and can be as long as 20+ hours, in a day or weekend. 


This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that yes, while we have goldfish attention spans, these attention spans are growers not showers. Which means, if you keep your audience entertained and engaged, their attention span can leap from a few seconds to several hours. 


(And just to make sure I’m covering all bases here… Copywriters do have a tendency to write long copy, but since they think they’re better at copywriting than they truly are, their long copy becomes a snoozefest. So always make sure to give your copy a few days to rest before you head back to the editing board as it will feel less like “your” writing, which makes editing easier.)


Anywho:


If you’re a business owner who is not afraid of long copy (that also converts), hit reply, and let’s chat. 


JohnOne of mayhap the most common “critiques” you’ll get as a copywriter is that your clients think your copy is too long. 


I put “critiques” in quotations because it’s (usually) not so much a critique of your work, but a projection on the client’s end. 


Let me explain… 


The internet is absolutely littered with “email marketing 101” articles, written by interns for companies who sell email marketing software and don’t actually use email as a main marketing channel for their company. 


(You can spot the irony a million miles away if’n you live the email life day in and day out.) 


But since these companies (who again, do not use email to run their business) have great SEO and massive amounts of funding behind them—HubSpot has 100 M’s in funding alone—it’s easy to make these articles (which again, are written by interns who aren’t even on the email team) rank high on Google. 


And since these articles repeat the “keep your emails short” line over and over again (because this is a better strategy for the masses of beginners and uninitiated), it gets repeated so much that it, well, becomes true in a propaganda sense… Not in a “I need my emails to generate revenue” sense. 


Of course, like all good propaganda, there’s a hint of truth innit: 


Take, for example, what I just stated: Keeping your emails short works better for the masses because they don’t know the first thang about copywriting or persuasion. 


And then there’s this (which I told my client who thought my emails were too long, despite the previous iteration of emails being short and only converting about 20% of our paid leads into customers):


There are three groups you can divide any buyer’s list into:


Group #1: The people who will buy immediately without even needing to be persuaded. This is another reason why the “short copy works better” myth spreads like wildfire and dupes many otherwise smart biz owners into thinking you must write short copy (and only short copy). This group also typically makes 20% of buyers. 


Group #2: These are the people that are thinkers. They don’t take immediate action, and thus, need to be persuaded the most. They’re usually the most skeptical, but they’re also the most hopeful. They’re waiting for you to persuade them. And once you persuade them (and then they get the results they’re coming to your business for), you’ve earned a customer for life. This group is the group I’m aiming for in the client emails I’m writing. And this group also typically makes up 60% of buyers, give or take. 


Group #3: These are the trolls, haters, and losers who will never buy your product or service no matter how much you ratchet up the persuasive elements of your copy. They make up the last 20% of your audience—and the sooner you can make them unsubscribe, the better. 


And for the final nail in the coffin for the “short copy is better” mfs… 


Here’s a truism that will never falter: 


You can’t write copy that’s too long, only too boring. 


People will literally binge an entire season of their favorite Netflix show, a show that tops 10 hours and can be as long as 20+ hours, in a day or weekend. 


This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that yes, while we have goldfish attention spans, these attention spans are growers not showers. Which means, if you keep your audience entertained and engaged, their attention span can leap from a few seconds to several hours. 


(And just to make sure I’m covering all bases here… Copywriters do have a tendency to write long copy, but since they think they’re better at copywriting than they truly are, their long copy becomes a snoozefest. So always make sure to give your copy a few days to rest before you head back to the editing board as it will feel less like “your” writing, which makes editing easier.)


Anywho:


If you’re a business owner who is not afraid of long copy (that also converts), hit reply, and let’s chat. 


John

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