Ever since I officially began my professional measurable marketing career back in 1988, one argument has persisted: long copy vs. short copy. “People will never read that. It’s too long. People are too busy to read all that” Clients almost always want to shorten the copy. Rarely, if ever, have I heard, “Can you make this longer?”

The best answer to the question on copy length came to me at a seminar I attended: “People don’t read long copy or short copy. They read what interests them.” That’s why relevancy is even more important today then it was in 1988. People have information overload and, because of Google, perhaps, people have shorter attention spans. That was the theory I came across at a recent Wall Street Journal Blog entitled: “Is Google making us stupid?”

Maybe 1 out of 100 tests I have conducted have proved that shorter copy wins, but as readers of this blog know, you should always test to lift results. The web has added a new dimension, as you can drive them to a site with shorter copy and have virtually no limits on copy length once they click your desired URL.

As for email, it seems to me that the long form email format does a better, more complete job of selling, yet clients still want copy short, especially because it’s email. And, as such, may be short changing their ROI.

I’d love to hear your results…

Grant A. Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC



About johnsondirect

A prominent measurable marketing strategist and nationally recognized thought leader, Grant serves as president and chief marketing officer for Johnson Direct, a measurable marketing communications and direct branding™ counseling firm that employs multi-channel marketing strategies that are testable and accountable. He is also a sought-after public speaker, marketing trainer, award-winning author, copywriter, and consultant.
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