When Concise Marketing Copy Converts Better

marketing message

Have you ever seen one of those long sales pages that never end? I know I am guilty of using them because they convert well.

So, does that mean you should create long pages with tons of marketing materials? No!

Why?

Because concise marketing tends to convert better as long as you do it right. I found this out the hard way. After spending over $252,000 on consultants to help me improve my long marketing message, I quickly learned through one A/B test that concise marketing copy can convert better.

Longer isn’t always better

When we first hired Conversion Rate Experts, one of the first things they did was to take our concise homepage and turn it into a long form sales letter.

crazy egg long homepage

The end result was a 30% increase in conversion rates. That’s not bad at all. When I first saw those results, and for years after, I assumed that you had to create long marketing copy to boost your conversion rate.

Why?

With long marketing copy, you can answer any concerns or objections your visitors have, assuming you can retain their attention to read all of your messaging. For example:

  • We showed how Crazy Egg stacked up against Google Analytics and Clicktale because our visitors would continually ask us about that.
  • We provided testimonials and a list of companies who used Crazy Egg because visitors wanted to feel we are a company they can trust.
  • We provided results of a college study on our homepage to show the value of the product we were selling because our visitors wanted to know why they should buy our product.

We answered all of the objections and concerns above in our long marketing copy variation, which is why we saw the 30% increase. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your marketing message concise and still boost your conversions.

We decided to run a test in which we would remove the fluff and make our marketing copy more concise. We didn’t try to tell any stories; instead, we got to the point explaining what Crazy Egg is and why you should sign up for it.

crazy egg homepage

The new homepage was roughly 60% shorter in length, and it still answered the major concerns and objections visitors had. The end result was a 13% increase in conversion rate.

Video can help make your marketing message concise

Last week, I tested out a similar strategy with Kimberly Snyder. I took her long marketing message and shortened it. For the visitors who wanted more information on her product, we created a video that explained what she has to offer.

optimizely kimberly snyder

This way if you are too lazy to read, you can get the information you need by watching and listening.

So far, the test results are looking good: her conversion rate is up by just over 40%.

optimizely results

Video tends to work well, and we saw similar results with Crazy Egg. The important point is to focus on writing a good video script. By including the 6 elements below, you can ensure that your video script converts well:

  1. Start your video by stating what your company does.
  2. Explain the problem you are solving.
  3. Show off the features of your product or service or explain why it is so great.
  4. Tell people to sign up or buy.
  5. Answer any major objections potential customers may have.
  6. Use proof elements to seal the deal such as testimonials.

How long should your marketing copy be?

I’ve tested long and short marketing copy with 38 different companies and brands, and I have noticed one thing that seems to be a common trend. When a brand is well-known, it doesn’t need as much marketing copy as a new brand does.

For example, you already know what an iPad is. You are either going to buy it or you won’t. Hence, Apple can create short marketing messages like the one below and still make billions of dollars.

ipad homepage

And what I found to be even more interesting is that brands with high net promoter scores (a high score means people love your product or service) can get away with even more concise marketing.

Just look at WordPress. People already know all about the company, and they love the product. For this reason, it can have concise marketing copy and still have a high conversion rate.

wordpress homepage

But when people don’t know much about your brand, you’ll have to create marketing copy that is longer. The reason for that is that when people aren’t familiar with your brand, they tend to have more questions and concerns. Through longer marketing copy, you can answer these objections.

As a general rule of thumb, if your brand is less than 3 years old, you’ll find that you’ll need longer marketing copy. You can find out what objections to answer within your copy by using Qualaroo on your site. And as time goes on, you can continually make your marketing message more concise.

The caveat to this rule is that if you are offering something for free, concise marketing typically converts better, no matter how new or old your brand is. And if you are selling something that is very expensive and considered an infrequent purchase, you’ll typically need longer marketing copy whether your brand is new or old.

Conclusion

People are tired of reading salesy marketing copy that is full of fluff. Try using a concise marketing message as it typically will save your visitors time and will boost your conversion rate.

There are a few tactics you can use to reduce your marketing copy:

  • List the use cases of your product or service. This way people will know right away if what you are offering is for them.
  • Consider testing video as not everyone enjoys reading. If you follow the steps in this blog post, you’ll end up creating a high converting video.
  • Get to the point by showing people what you are offering, how it works, and how it will solve their problems.
  • Avoid using technical jargon. The more you can relate to your visitors, the better off you are.

So, what do you think about concise marketing messages? Aren’t you tired of reading those long sales pages? I know I am.

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Comments

  1. Actually, yes. The first thing that comes to mind when you see one of them “endless” sales pages is, “not another one!”. Hence I think concise is better. Product descriptions and FAQ should be handled in another page.

  2. Super long pages are the worst. Especially when there’s no CTA spread out and it’s all the way at the bottom. Short and sweet is the best.

    -Amir

  3. In general we speak more than 120 words/min & thus using videos for conveying the marketing message (of avg. length 3 mins. or less) can convert more than a long copy of text.

    Great Post Again Neil Sir !!

  4. Do you think there is a cultural difference between the US & the UK on this? It’s my feeling (untested) that Brits don’t like to be sold to and that the long-form sales letter, or even any type of sales letter, doesn’t go down as well in the UK as it does in the US.

    • Yes Brits are completely different. However sales copy does work on Brits.

      Americans are easy customers whereas Brits are difficult ones. Americans are also more welcoming towards different nationalities. Whereas Brits love their own ones.

      Any other voews on Brits Vs Americans ?

    • Tim, I think as the web is ever evolving and globalization is playing a bigger role in our day to day activities the differences are less pronounced.

  5. Hello and thanks for all the great tips.

  6. Using your own copy as an example, it’s very difficult to split test something like “concise” vs. “uber long standard”.

    By keeping things concise, you can run tests more frequently.

  7. Do you think the same applies for pages that sell an actual product (as opposed to offering a free trial or free offer)? It seems like if people are actually paying, the long-form sales letter would be required because they need more information, have more concerns, etc.

  8. Hey Neil, interesting story about evolving the length of your converting pages.

    I feel, although cannot it prove with any kind of actual research, that the best converting page will be one that appears to a visitor different from the majority of others.

    For example, I remember there was a time when a good converting page was a long sheet with HTML text in different colors and sizes.

    But then everyone began to use it. Moreover, it was abused with promoting scam products. Thus, it became ineffective. The ones who implemented a new type of converting page would win the race.

    So I guess, the point is in split-testing. When it converts better – stick to it for some time. But then split test again, because as more and more people use the new type of converting page, visitors will be less and less sensitive to it.

    And then you – BOOM – you implement a converting page that is something new exactly when visitors subconsciously are looking for a fresh and innovative converting page – and there you go and you win.

  9. Another excellent blog, and really timely for us as we’re launching a new membership programme later this year and I have recently been looking at the lengths of copy people write, and trying to decide between long and short!

    And to answer Tim’s question earlier, yes in general the US likes long copy, while the UK prefers shorter versions (I am by profession a copywriter and I’ve worked for hundreds of clients both sides of the Atlantic).

    That said, I have noticed that online, lots of UK sites are now adopting longer US-style sales copy, especially less well known brands.

    So – really interesting post. Thank you!

  10. Neil,
    In short, trim your message but make sure everything is addressed ;)

  11. Learning a ton from you, Neil. This just totally confirmed a debate within our staff on our next campaign. Good timing :)

  12. A 1.8% conversion rate whilst an improvement, (showing how in this case shorter copy works), still seems very low, especially when you have such a well known brand as Kimberly with celebrity endorsement.
    A local business client of mine has a 2.2% visitor to sales conversion with virtual no professional conversion optimisation and zero customer endorsements
    Food for thought

  13. great points here Neil. I’m actually doing this for my website. I started with shorter copy thinking it would perform better but after some tests I’m going with the long sales page approach.

  14. I find that it’s always better going straight to the point rather than beating around the bush.

  15. Some food for thought here Neil :) All my my pages are pretty short and sweet for my website which is why I have literally just finished in the last couple of days more good quality content to be added to each page, to keep the reader longer on my site and created links to various pages to divert the reader to different pages as I have spent a while making sure that each page will be optimised for various long tailed key phrases as well as keeping my home page number one on google for the term “cleaners in Chester”. I think we can be caught in optimising for the search engines (depending on how much competition is out there on whatever product or service we re offering) and trying to keep it fairly simple for the reader so it doesn’t look like we re dragging stuff out. It’s finding the right balance I think on what we are writing. So keeping it to short and sweet wouldn’t work if you are aiming for the too spots on the search engines :) Also not everyone likes to read a lot of content!! Too much content can seem to much to read with some people so breaking your content down and splitting it up to different pages on your website can be a good idea. Couple go on more but I know your busy ha ha :) will be adding all my new content now over the next couple of days :) Also just started utilising google plus :) Highly recommend everyone :) Iv only learnt from the best Neil :) ps the uk v USA thing – I think is basically the same. But I like to talk about being bored of the sell, sell, sell approach so good quality content and not selling yourself will do it no matter what country we live in :) ha Hope all is well once again :)

    • Gron, always love your feedback. It’s in-depth and to the point. I think you have it right on the dot when you mention that copy should be short and to the point. If you optimize right with keywords you’ll have no problem getting traffic :)

  16. Sorry Neil didn’t realise how much I wrote then ha as I’m on my IPhone writing this and not in my cold hallway :) ha

  17. Amazing points Neil. As long as all the concerns have been addressed, the readers do enjoy concise info. However, it can be a sticky situation as well because compacting tonnes of info in few words is a rare art and can also affect the business if not done well, making the info seem chaotic. It has to be done the right way

  18. Hello Kimberly Snyder ;) haha, I’d sign up for her :P
    Great article Neil, See I always thought long sales messages were better. Not that I don’t trust you but I am going to do some research on this and learn some more!

    Thanks!

  19. Thanks for this post Neil it couldn’t have come at a better time, today I just happened to be fixing my first sales page/homepage ever.

    I really appreciate your work.

  20. Hi neil ,
    Awesome post . for me concise marketing messages work well rather than the longer ones.

    Cheers !!

  21. No matter how long or short pages are, as long they are informative and teach something this is what really matters I believe. The real problem is content quality :) if I would be able to produce content as rich as yours I would not bother too much. Tell me Neil, what’s the best solution for low budget videos? Thank you & always a pleasure to read you

    • Nicolo, content quality is always a big determinant of success. I think the best solution for low budget videos is to find great copy and get to the point quick.

  22. Maybe it’s a matter of finding the middle ground. I detest a lot of sales hype and it turns me off but understand that others like to read everything. I suppose I am impatient I will scroll down a long sales page just to check out the price.

  23. Great post Neil. I remember One Sentence Persuasion Course from copywriting lesson which says – “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies”. If you apply something from it when compiling marketing copy for your product or service, it shouldn’t really matter whether you use video or 20-foot long sales letter ;]

  24. One of the points I totally agree with in this post is the fact that new brands should tryout long marketing copies than old brands.

    It is logical that a well known marketing brand should have less things to say about its benefits.

    On the other hand, an unknown brand needs more explanations to do because it has to build trust and credibility.

    For a concise marketing copy to convert better, it should be created properly and provide the punch for conviction within the shortest attention span.

    A good video embedded in the short post is also an effective strategy when creating a convertible concise marketing copy.

    I have left this same comment in kingged.com where this post was shared and bookmarked for Internet marketers.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/when-concise-marketing-copy-converts-better/

  25. Everyone of Apple’s product’s has copy that runs to about 35 pages when printed, so you’re just straight out wrong on that score.

    What Apple does do extremely well is make it seem like it’s not long copy when in fact it is.

    They chunk it up, and split it up, and do all sorts of clever things, but the bottom line is it still runs to over 30 pages.

    Your example of the iPad Air is totally incorrect and almost deliberately misleading as if to just make an erroneous point.

    It’s a very disappointing tactic in what is usually a great blog.

    • I am not looking at pages, as most sites have multiple pages per product. We even have that on Crazy Egg. But what I am getting at is they have shorter pages which you can buy from.

      Other companies not only have multiple pages, but they typically also have long sales pages.

  26. Neil,

    Great article as always!

    Do you or anyone of your readers could share an experience in testing long vs short marketing messages/ sales copy in the case of B2B companies for instance a market research company or any other business that is selling a customized and high involvement service.

    Thanks again for sharing such amazing insights!

  27. The one thing that is guaranteed to make me leave a web page is an “informational” video with no transcript! Auto-play videos guarantee I will never ever visit any other page that site.

    I do not want to wade through someone speaking at me at a speed that is less than half my reading speed, nor to struggle with understanding speech that is often incomprehensible because the person is mumbling, has a weird accent or is playing distracting background music.

    I do not like fluff, but if you want me to consider what you are offering, give it to me in written form!

  28. Thomas Michal :

    The sales message should be as long as it needs to be to give a interested customer all the information they need to buy, period.

    Two sentences is too long of a sales message for someone not interested, yet a hungry buyer will read 11 pages.

  29. Great advice! The copy must actually describe the service/product as much as possible, so a potential buyer has none presales question in the end! Some landing pages may have smaller copy, but a detailed version should be available like presales faq, benefits etc.

    I do see from my clients pasting 2 lines of texts from their manufacturers website (they do not even bother to translate those texts…), put 1 photo… and in the end they wonder why they have no sales… hahah,,,, well, guess why…!

    The site owner must put him/herself in the position of a buyer. If the product is not so well-known/popular and no info is provided, then it is simply impossible to persudae someone to buy… unfortunately, many website owners, especially eshops do this everyday…

    Useful information and good copy is a must.

  30. Hi Neil,

    Long posts are really boring sometimes. Having a meaningful and to the point content of 500 words is far better than an article of 2000 words which is full of crap.

  31. Yes i am agree with you that long sales letter improve your sales rate but how long ? it is the main question if you retain interest of your visitor then it is ok otherwise not.

  32. Videos are OK, but most I’ve seen are boring. If there is ONLY a video, I move on because I’d rather just read and because I’m frequently in a place where I can’t turn the volume up. Basically, you really need both good copy AND a good video.

  33. I agree that long sales pages are loosing their appeal more and more, as we tend to get used to them. I think testing more compact sales pages is worth trying. What I usually do as a customer is scroll down all the way to the bottom (sometimes it takes a while) to see the price, and then scroll back up until I see some kind of summary of the entire offer. I take my decision based on that, not on anything mentioned in between, it just takes too much time to go through it all.

  34. A must read article. Thanks for sharing this Neil. I agree with you, longer isn’t always better. I would prefer to use a short page as long as all the information that my audience wants to know is present.

  35. Neil sir, it’s great pleasure to read your blog always.. You are one of my idol writers among Demian farnworth, Sonia simone, Chetan Bhagat, Jay Vasavada, Dale carnegie, Robin Sharma and many more.. I always analyze your posts to learn how to write an informative copy that is well-persuasive at the same time. I just can’t resist reading your posts & that’s the beauty of it. The main thing is that your posts are not just lengthy, but they are concise at the same time and highly useful.

  36. I think video is a powerful sales tool. Would you recommend having videos on mobile pages too, or keep mobile pages as the traditional long form letter?

  37. People hates reading long content because most of them are boring elaboration of a single point. Be precise and be on point, it will work, it works for me at least

  38. Hey Neil, I agree that people are getting tired of reading long sales copy. I never could understand how that converted better. I have heard people say that these days you should really look at making sure you have a great design and not worry as much about the copy.

  39. Another good idea – we are suffering for the same point – try to get thoughts from you Neil……..

    Thanks you,
    Deb

  40. Hey Neil… Thanks for the post. I plan on testing this against my current sales page.

    I have read a lot from Mindvalley that longer pages are gaining popularity again because people are using iPads to surf the web and it’s so easy to scroll… it’s almost fun to scroll (which can hurt too since they probably scroll 10x faster… just a flick right?)…

    What are you’re thoughts on that?

    Obviously you’re testing shows different.

    I know testing is always the final answer, but I wonder if a less tech/business savvy crowd might enjoy more reading.

  41. Hi Neil,

    Yet another great article on content marketing! Thanks for the video marketing tips, making quality video is so much better with a good script. :)

  42. I just finished reading your blog post, wow, it’s amazing how after 1 short year (well, I guess it’s almost a year and half by now), you have accomplished what you have got so far.
    I just picked up a lot of helpful tutorials, which I’m going to give them all a try. That’s also crazy how you have got so popular in the search engines without much link-building tactics. Thanks for the helpful post !

  43. A little bit camera shy to try video, but I may have to re-consider it now … thanks!

  44. I absolutely agree. I’m always disappointed when I see just a video on a page, I feel like video is hard to skim through and sometimes I just want a quick answer.

  45. Awesome Article Neil Patel ! Impressed by your writing skills !

  46. Sir your articles always rocks

  47. sir one more awesome article from you really you inspires me :D

  48. I always believe in quality content for me quantity doesn’t matters..what matters is quality.

  49. It seems like an educational blog which always some new information to visitors

    and Enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff

    you blog post.

  50. Yeah I agree…most of the top level guys don’t posses that much of the time so the copy must be concise in order to increase chances of sealing the deal :-)

  51. I don’t even know the way I finished up here, but I assumed this put up was good.
    I don’t understand who you’re but certainly
    you’re going to a well-known blogger in the event you are not
    already. Cheers!

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