|KISS - Keep It Short Scholar|
By James D. Brausch -- June 12, 2002
We’ve all heard the normal KISS principle (Keep It Simple Scholar). When we talk about sales copy, it is important to keep it simple. It is also important to keep it short.
Let’s briefly take a different view of sales copy. Perhaps you take the view that sales copy is meant to talk people into purchasing your product/service. For a moment, let’s take a different view that it is actually there to talk people OUT of purchasing your product/service. In many ways, this latter view is more accurate.
Think about the prospect as she reads your ad copy.
They read a sentence and like what it says. They feel good; they feel hope that this will be the answer to one of their problems. They read another sentence. It affirms the first and they feel more excited. They are ready to buy, but there is more ad copy. They read on. The third sentence doesn’t really apply to their specific problem. Perhaps they start to lose a bit of that excitement. Then the fourth sentence completely alienates them. They aren’t part of THAT group of people (perhaps you were selling a fitness product and the fourth sentence was related to weight-loss). They turn the page or click the BACK button or close the browser. You’ve lost them.
If your ad copy stopped after the first two lines, you would have made the sale. Start reading your ad copy in this way. Normally, each sentence is viewed as the sentence <<that>> potentially “sells” them. In reality, usually your prospect is reading each sentence looking for a reason NOT to buy. Start editing your ad copy to eliminate all of those potential reasons. In general, strive to make your ad copy as short as possible.
Not a believer yet? Let me give you some real-life examples that lead me to this conclusion. In the early days, I would test click-thru rates using a variety of sales copy. I would try a paragraph against another paragraph. This is where I fist noticed that shorter is better. The shorter paragraphs almost always outperformed the longer paragraphs. This is true for both the click-thru rate and the overall amount of revenue generated over a period of time.
I finally tested this conclusion all the way to it’s logical extreme... Yep, a single word outperforms two words almost every time. I now use this concept to build traffic for others. I draw in the largest potential group of customers by using a single word. I then show them a full paragraph describing my customer’s exact product/service to narrow that group down to the perfectly targeted visitors to send along to my customer. The others are given other choices so that I can make some other use of them.
Need more proof? Try it yourself. Create a link on your site that says something like: “For the least expensive high quality widgets, click here”. Obviously, change the “widgets” to something you want to actually sell. Also make sure you use some method to track click-thru rates and sales. Expose that link to a test group of visitors and record your results. Now repeat with the following progressively shorter phrases:
Least Expensive/high quality widgets
Least Expensive Widgets
In almost all cases, you will find that your click-thru rate will increase as the phrase becomes shorter. In most cases, you’ll also notice that the total revenue will increase as well. Your revenue per click will level off at some point. This is the point of most efficiency.
Try the same exercise with your one-page sales letter. Start off with 10 paragraphs and slowly start to eliminate the least useful paragraphs. You should notice the same effect. Eventually, your revenue per visitor will level off and tell you that the remaining paragraphs all say essential things to sell your product. Then you can start trimming out sentences . . . finally, individual phrases and words.
The goal is to tell your prospects enough about your product/service that they are ready to buy and NOTHING MORE. Anything more than these essentials is just going to convince them that your product/service isn’t right for them.
Of course, you must be sure to tell them the essentials so that they make an informed decision. This isn’t a call to be dishonest by leaving out essential information. It is actually a call to be more honest by leaving out extraneous information that would confuse and drive away potential customers.
Copyright © 2002
All Rights Reserved
James D. Brausch
James D. Brausch is the owner and coach of QuitThatJob.com, a step-by-step coaching membership site to help you build your Internet business.