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The case for longer ad copy

AdvertisingBy GMNET staff

Many people hold the erroneous belief that consumers will not read promotional copy that is considered "long." The blanket suggestion that "long is bad" is at odds with contemporary marketing research and with the experiences of marketing gurus from America, Europe, and Australia. These include David Ogilvy (founder of Ogilvy & Mather Advertising) who bluntly states that in his experience:"long advertising copy sells better than short copy."

Also Anver Sueiman, CEO of The Marketing Federation (who has literally sold billions of dollars worth of products and services); his research over 40 years provides compelling evidence that: "The more complex the product or service, the more it costs, and the larger the perceived sacrifice of the prospective buyer, the more information the seller needs to provide to address buyer resistance."

Copy length should be determined by what you’re trying to sell. For complex products and services, and for large ticket items, people need more convincing. In these cases, you need more than white space with a few pretty graphics and catchy words.

People stop reading because they encounter ad copy that seems irrelevant, not just because it’s long. No one reads anything they aren't interested in no matter how short or long it is. The goal is to provide good, meaty, meaningful, benefits and feature laden information to make as powerful an impact as possible at the first reading.

Be aware as well that different people are attracted by different benefits and features, and since you can't possibly know all readers to determine specific likes, you have to offer a smorgasbord to ring as many positive bells as possible. Include every advantage you can think of to persuade people to buy what you're trying to sell. Failure to do this means you run the risk of leaving out the one that matters most and all this because of a misplaced obsession with brevity.

The bottom line is that no one reads something that doesn’t matter, but they do read something that offers benefits or that provides solutions to them. If you segment and target finely enough—you’ve put your materials in the hands of real potential buyers—they'll read because they care about what they're reading. If they don't care, brevity won't help.

Nor does research support the contention that you should save money by relying on small ads simply to drive people to your website where they will then obtain more information. Another rule of marketing is to not risk losing potential buyers once you have their attention. If they’re focusing on your message right now, don't require that they write down a website address to check out later—they may never do it.

"Sell them while you have them" is the best approach.

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