Hi B2B marketer, can you spare a moment to answer a few questions?
Do you enjoy betting against yourself?
Do you want to make the hard job of converting skeptical prospects to clients even harder?
Are you okay with plateauing or even declining revenues and profits?
If you answered YES to even one of these questions, please use short copy to make your case.
But if you want to move the conversation closer to getting a prospect to talk with you face to face you will have to use persuasive content to make your case.
And 8 times out of 10 that involves using long copy.
The excuses for short copy
In the context of this post, copy means the number of words in your web pages, blog post, or case study or white paper.
Those who favor short copy have a number of excuses. The most commonly trotted out one is the crazy busy cop-out.
Yes, B2B prospects have very low patience, and they are swamped and over worked. Hence marketers are told to keep things short and simple- KISS.
But not even the busiest prospect would say no to reading something that can
- help him or her solve an urgent business pain
- help their company get a jump in the competition
- shorten vital decision making process,and
- engage and drive a conversation.
The time constraint argument is usually a cover up for poor persona planning and boring content.
Why should you use long copy
This debate about copy length mirrors a similar debate that raged in direct response marketing around long scroll sales letters, with many saying distracted readers won’t keep on scrolling and wading through copy to get to the offer.
And yet, successful DR marketers who are completely data driven and test each and every aspect of their promotions to squeeze maximum possible profits have continued backing the long form sales letter format.
But that actually makes sense.
All customers, including those in B2B extensively research their options, in most cases online, before drawing up a final shortlist.
If you go with short copy that does not cover all the features, benefits, use cases and potential savings of your offering, along with a compelling emotional and logical reason for the user to try it out…
…you will have the same response that a minimally filled profile on a dating site gets from other members.
For a real world example, check out this case study where SEOmoz revamped their landing page, went all the way in with long copy and saw an increase of $1 million in annual revenues and 52% increase in sales.
Where should long copy be used
Long copy by itself will not guarantee blockbuster conversion rates. There is a right time and a right place for it to work its magic.
Long copy works best when the prospects are in the consideration stage and needs reasons to justify you in the shortlist to their bosses. In terms of websites, use it on a Sign up page or the Product/Solutions page.
Product whitepapers and guides which talk about all the potential problems your offering can solve should be long enough to cover all use cases. People who read them are interested enough in your solution and would like as much information as possible.
This, however, still does not give you an excuse to dump whitepaper best practices.
Where should you hold off on long copy
While there aren’t any cut and dried rules regarding this, you should
- Avoid long copy designed for mobile content.
- Keep emails short and to the point.
- Keep blog posts and content at the mouth at the marketing funnel short and easily readable.
Use appropriate calls to action in each of these shorter pieces of content so that more interested prospects can proceed to the next stage of the buyer’s journey.
Where do you lean on this issue? If you agree with me, which other types of content can do with long copy?
Image courtesy jurvetson