Charles Gaudet

Charles Gaudet

Should You Use Long-Form Sales Letters?

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I get questions about marketing messages all the time… In person, over the phone, via email… And I do my best to provide valuable information.

That’s why we had the “Ask Charlie” section of the PPIC Newsletter, and precisely why we’re pulling these articles from the archives to share with you here.

Today’s question is one I’ve received plenty of times, but the answer holds true regardless of your product, service, or industry.

Let’s get right into it!

QUESTION: “Charlie, it appears you like using long sales letters, and I presume there’s a reason why – but I’ve got to be honest… I hate long sales letters. Why not use short ones?”

ANSWER:

This is a GREAT question!

The debate between long and short-form sales letters has been going on for decades…

Here’s the answer: make it only as long as it needs to be.

Let me explain…

The purpose of copy is to sell – this involves educating the prospect, answering objections, and making an offer.

For a simple email opt-in form, it really doesn’t require a lot of persuasion. A simple one-liner can achieve opt-in rates greater than 50%.

On the other hand, if I were to charge for email access (even if it was a single dollar), I would need to explain why it’s worth the risk (and the effort) of whipping out your credit card to complete the order…

Therefore, my copy would be longer.

Look, if I’m writing an offer to a group of buyers who already know me, it’s possible that shorter copy would work better than it would with a cold audience unaware of who I am.

Likewise, selling pimple cream is a lot easier than selling a $4,500 financial projection software.

At the end of the day, you’ll hear many different opinions citing various results. I can only speak from experience. Any time I’m asking someone for money, long copy outperforms short copy.

Why? Because people read what they’re interested in…

My longest sales copy to date is a 72-page direct mail digest to sell a simple $97 item.

Did it work? You betcha.

I understand why you might hate reading long copy (many people do). However, as you likely heard me say a million times: “There are reasons and there are results, the only thing that matters are the results.”

Test both. Let the results speak for themselves.

In your corner,

Charlie

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