Long Copy Secrets – Keys To Mental Engagement
Master copywriter Robert Collier often used a technique to get people to read more of his sales letters. You can use this same technique right now to increase the readership of your web pages and emails.
I’ll get to it in a moment. For now, let me tell you a couple of things about readership in general, and the importance of using long versus short copy, in most cases.
If you’re one of those marketers that rebel against the idea of long copy, and insist that people don’t read it, listen up. If you’re copy is boring, or unsubstantiated, or fails to promise the delivery of an expected benefit, then you are absolutely right.
But if you promise the expected benefit, and use engaging copy that’s firing on all cylinders, effectively attracting attention, building interest, desire, and action, have no fear.
Your prospects will read as many words as necessary to convince themselves to become buyers. That could mean thousands of words, depending what you are asking them to do.
If the price is significant, or the thing you are selling demands a significant change of behavior, or even if you are operating in a very mature, hotly competitive commodity market, you just cannot expect people to decide favorably with minimal information.
They need enough sound reasons to buy, and they need those reasons appropriately substantiated. Too many marketers paint pretty pictures, but fall down when it comes to demonstrating proof.
Anyway, getting back to that little technique that Robert Collier used that I was telling you about.
Collier observed that human beings possess a couple of inborn traits that he used to get them to read his letters. I’m assuming you’re one, so I’m going to include you in this ;=)
A) We’re naturally curious. We have an inborn “desire to know” hard wired into our brains. It’s instinctive, part of our survival program.
B) We just can’t stand having a half baked thought or idea, hanging around waiting to be finished. If there’s an open loop, we want it shut.
So how did the legendary Collier use these to his money making advantage?
He would set up a story, and build up a primary point, and then before taking that primary point to it’s logical conclusion, head off in a secondary direction, while promising to return to the first one momentarily.
His readers hung on his every word, because they were curious about how the story would end, and they could’nt stand to leave the first thought unfinished.
You can use this same technique to great effect online. Or you can turn it upside down like this in an autoresponder series.
Instead of introducing the secondary point toward the beginning of the copy, you introduce it toward the end, leave the thought unfinished, and promise to close the loop in the next installment. Collier did this constantly to create a sense of anticipation in the minds of his periodical subscribers, and you can see the same technique used frequently in the theatre and in soap operas.
To give you an idea of how powerful this idea is, get this…
Psychologists took to studying the behavior of wait staff in Restaurants. At regular intervals they would question the waiters and waitresses about the orders they had taken.
Almost without fail, the waiters and waitresses could remember what the people who were still in the Restaurant had ordered, with a high degree of accuracy. But almost always, they totally forgot what the people who had already paid their bill had ordered, even though those patrons had left the Restaurant only minutes before.
Because the mind hates unfinished business, it remains engaged until the event or subject of attention unfolds and resolves itself in a logical conclusion. In this case, the payment of the check.
And in the case of your sales letter or email sequence, the close. That’s a big deal, because that’s where you ask for the money, right?
Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant & direct response copywriter based in Toronto Canada. Recently, Daniel & world-renowned publicist & copywriter Joe Vitale teamed up to co author Million Dollar Online Advertising Strategies From The Greatest Letter Writer Of The 20th Century!, a tribute to the late, great Robert Collier.
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