The Truth About One Type of Copy Being Better Than Another

Mindy McHorse

About two years ago, I worked on a video sales letter with a client. It was a long one—upwards of 30 minutes. And it worked like gangbusters, converting prospects right and left.

So, it was a little amusing when the client got an angry email from a customer claiming that the video was way too long and boring and that long copy never works. She said she only ever responded to short messages and that nobody had time for the long stuff.

Which brings us to Copywriting Myth #4: One type of copy is better than another (short vs. long, video vs. written, etc.).

The funny thing about that particular customer’s letter is that she was a long-time customer of my client, and she’d first converted from prospect to buyer through a sales letter that was over 20 pages long.

Any client worth their salt keeps data like that so they know what’s working and what’s not, what’s worked in the past, and what customers are responding to in the present.

Because the truth is, there is no single, infallible answer to the question of, “What type of copy works best?”

The only way to find out what works best is to try different techniques, test them, and keep track of results. And, what’s working well in one business may not ever perform decently in another business.

As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons copywriters can make so much money. When you’re well-versed in the different types of projects copywriters can take on (we covered this yesterday), it becomes easy to expand a project.

For example, let’s say you write a lift note for a client. But you have two different ideas, so you write them both and send them to the client with the suggestion to test to see which is stronger. The client takes you up on it, and one of the lifts is a clear winner—meaning the product you’re promoting in that lift gets more people to buy than the other lift.

Because you now have proof that your idea is strong, you can pitch other projects that expand on that original winning lift idea—like pay-per-click ads, a social media campaign, and a landing page.

And from there, you can see which approach is better at converting more prospects to customers.

When starting any new project, always ask your client for data on what prospects have responded to in the past. This saves you from a lot of upfront guesswork as to which type of copy will pull best for that client. But at the same time, be open to new approaches and suggest alternate projects to your client if it feels warranted. After all, you never know what will work until you test it.

Tell me—have you ever expanded one of your writing projects? How did you do it? Please share your tips below.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back to close out the week by overturning a myth about the current boom in copywriting.

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Published: October 1, 2015

4 Responses to “The Truth About One Type of Copy Being Better Than Another”

  1. I am expanding right now with a client. He's trying to launch a new training opportunity. It started as an ebook and email to get people to download it.

    And the ebook was supposed to get people to sign up for a webinar. So I asked him what happens if they don't sign up? I suggested an email series, which I'm now writing.

    And I also had to rework his ebook and webinar. Because he likes my work, he continues to pile it on...

    Dan - ProActive Content

  2. Expanded writing projects? Sure. Providing growth's guaranteed. If, along the way, a customer is lost, like the one going to great length complaining that your pitch is too long, then so be it. After all, save for unfathomable absolutes whence forming a more perfect move forward can't sustain perpetuity, relative growth depends on adapting hereafter to ongoing change. Endeavoring to survive one squeaky wheel's only going to sacrifice the big-picture ride for a tunnel-envisioned pit stop.

    Guest (Chris Morris)

  3. Hi Mindy, I agree that it is good to be skilled in more than one project. One thing that I have problems with as a prospective consumer however: I have come across video sales letters on Facebook more than once in which I am unable to determine how long it will last: 30 seconds, 30 minutes... I don't know what the thingamajig is called, but the ads I refer to have no bar across the bottom that help you to guage how much time remains. Any feedback about thi?

    Nora King

  4. Hey Mindy -- I have to agree with the customer's complaint about videos. I do web design and I also do reviews ($$) of web design and I must tell you that videos are the most annoying part of a sales web site.

    And - I won't go to that site ever again.

    Just give me the facts upfront. Don't annoy me with a 5 minute video that often does not tell the true story and there may be more AFTER the video. Maximum Frustration for the potential customer. Yea - they just turn me off.

    Feel free to 'sell to me' however -- Just give me the facts!

    Thank you for your time - this is a great topic.

    mike / orlando /
    'Don't Just Fix It - Make It Better!'

    Guest (Mike Hall)

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