Before television, long copy was everywhere. Magazines and newspapers ran full page ads with paragraphs of text that told stories without using a single picture, and direct response marketers mastered the technique of persuading people to purchase products using nothing more than a mailed letter.
Long copy is any advertisement that relies on a lot of text to sell a product or service. It is the opposite of short copy, which uses images, shorter headlines and less text.
Advances in technology have convinced many people that we no longer have the imagination or attention span for this kind of approach, but is that really true?
I had the chance to find out when re-designing a landing page for a client offering a complicated and expensive service. The short copy provided did not fully explain or sell the features of the service being advertised. After meeting with several members of their staff, I wrote a long and in-depth overview and uploaded it to the page.
The client panicked.
“Nobody will read that much text! You’ll scare everyone away! We need to keep it short and simple…”
The joy of modern web analytics is that we can test questionable assumptions. I asked for a two week trial of the long copy before making any changes.
Not only did the new longer copy attract more page visits than the old short copy, but the average time on page doubled overnight.
The client kept the long copy. After three months, service inquiries had increased by 55%. It’s a pattern I’ve seen repeated time and time again.
I'll tell you a secret: long copy only scares away people who have no intention of buying your product or service.
Customers want information on the products they are interested in before buying them. Don’t be afraid to give it to them.
How you present this information is crucial. Human behaviour studies show us that when considering buying something, whether it’s a pack of gum or a new car, everyone goes through a decision making process that has clearly defined stages. This process is known as “The Buying Funnel”, and clever marketers can move you through each stage to the point of purchase without you realizing it.
Let’s see how it works.
It’s important to remember that long copy is not always the best choice when selling a product. However, well written long copy that follows the buying funnel progression has proven to be highly successful in selling all kinds of stuff.
The web content I create attracts more traffic and increases sales.
If you’re struggling to get web traffic or turn page visits into sales, I’d be happy to help out!
Now that you have your long copy written and structured using the buying funnel, how do you get potential customers to read it?
My favourite (slightly creepy) analogy is comparing attracting online customers to a spider’s web. Think of the internet as a large room, and your website or landing page as the center of a tiny spider web on the ceiling. Now imagine that people browsing the internet are like little flies buzzing around the room. Because your web is small, it’s unlikely to catch many of the flies in the room. In order to catch more flies, you need to make your web bigger!
Digital marketing is what increases the size of your web. Online ads, blog posts, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram and Pinterest boards (to name a few) are all tiny additions to your web that grow it from a small corner on the ceiling to covering a large part of the room. Suddenly, a lot more of those flies buzzing around are getting caught in your web and being pulled to its centre: your website.
I told you this was a creepy analogy.
One of my favorite digital marketing strategies is also the most overlooked: email marketing. In my experience, email is the most efficient way of bringing potential customers to your website. You might get more overall traffic from a Facebook page or a Google ad, but email traffic is more likely to convert than any other acquisition source.
A conversion is anything a website visitor does that brings you value. This could be buying a product, following you on social media, leaving feedback or reviews, starting a free service trial or signing up for your newsletter.
Smart marketers know this too, which is why websites will try a variety of tactics to get you to give them your email address.
The most effective one is the free give-away. A guide, trial subscription, special report or exclusive research can be yours absolutely free of charge — you just need to provide your email address so they know where to send it!
The last take-away to remember about email marketing is that unlike other forms of social media, it not only widens your spider’s web but lets you recapture flies that escape.
Someone finding your company on Facebook or Twitter can check out your website, but if they leave without converting it’s unlikely that they’ll ever come back. A person that signs up for your email list however will receive future sales pitches directly into their inbox, enticing them to come back again, and again, and again...
If you overlook email in your digital marketing efforts, you’re leaving money on the table.
I’ve created email marketing campaigns that have open and click rates 115% above industry average. This means you’re getting a steady stream of highly engaged web traffic: customers who are are primed to buy!
Want more detailed information on how to create successful web content and digital campaigns?
Download a free copy of my booklet, Lessons Learned: How to avoid 7 common marketing mistakes.
Good design pays off. The biggest mistake that you can make with design is treating it as a last-minute process to make something “look nice”. Design goes much deeper, and should be used at the beginning, middle and end of your marketing process.
On the internet, a website’s look and feel is a huge decider of the trust and authority we place in it, which are essential in making us feel comfortable to make a purchase.
1) to plan and make decisions about something that is being built or created
2) to plan and make something for a specific use or purpose
Clients often get scared at the perceived cost of hiring a designer. However, a study by the Danish Business Authority found that companies that invest more in design gain an additional 40% in gross revenue compared to those who did not.
Another study by the Design Council in the United Kingdom reported that every £100 ($170 CAD) a business spends on design increases turnover by £225 ($390 CAD), a return on investment of 2.25!
I design professional print and web content, materials and campaigns that drive sales and improve your brand image.
Combined with my copywriting and marketing strategy skills, it helps my clients look good and sell a lot more stuff.
"I first started working with Ian to improve our online visibility to clients with the hope of increasing sales. In a short time, Ian was able to better our position online and draw individuals over to our website. The result: sales have increased by 22%!"
Judith Meyntz, Business Operations Manager
We’re only scratching the surface of how clever marketers persuade you to buy things online.
If you’re still on the fence over whether I can help you sell more stuff, or just want to learn more creating email campaigns, landing pages and websites that increase sales significantly, there’s an easy solution.
Sign up for my free Digital Marketing Secrets course to learn how you can use my simple rules and guidelines to grow your own business.
In just four weeks, you will learn:
I'm a digital marketing professional that uses classic marketing strategies, behavioural psychology, and design to create websites and online campaigns that sell more stuff.
Holding a degree in Political Science, a chance internship during my last year of university kickstarted a love affair with marketing and communications that lasts to this day. I get excited over things like click rates, conversions, and behaviour flows so you don't have to.
I'm the creator of Job Hacking, a blog that pioneers job search techniques influenced by the practices of technology start-ups. It teaches people to use creativity, analytical thinking, and digital strategies to showcase their talents and gain exposure.
Outside of marketing, I enjoy cooking, listening to miserable English bands, and solving life problems by thinking, “What would James Murphy do?”
You can check out my digital marketing strategy and copywriting skills above.
Here's some of my recent marketing, graphic design and web design work.