The #1 Most Ridiculous Myth
(And YOU Probably Believe It!)
That's KILLING Your
Web Sales DEAD!

By Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

© Copyright MMI Drew Eric Whitman. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without
prior written permission from Drew Eric Whitman


Dear Friend:


That's what I say to anyone who insists that "People don't read long copy on web sites!"

What a bunch of bull! This is the same tired old argument the less informed use when they talk about sales letters... ads... tv commercials... everything else they know little about.

Fact is, long copy sells, regardless of the medium used. In fact, I'd like you to "listen in" on a debate I had with a senior editor for a large publishing company about this very topic, just last week.

JUDY: I think this copy is too long.

DREW: Too long for what?

JUDY: Too long for our web site.

DREW: Too long why?

JUDY: Just because people don't read long copy on the web.

DREW: Who says

JUDY: It's a known fact.

DREW: Really? And how do you come to know this fact?

JUDY: I don't know! It's just known that people spend very little time reading web pages... they browse... that's why they call it a browser.

DREW: I see.

JUDY: They surf... click from page to page. I read that people spend only an average of 7 minutes per page... if that.

DREW: And what do these same people do when they find something that interests them enough to want to read more than 7 minutes worth of information

JUDY: (silence)

DREW: The fact is, Judy... people who are NOT interested won't read the very FIRST SENTENCE! People who ARE interested will read pages and pages of information.

JUDY: I disagree.

DREW: Well, it's your prerogative to disagree, but I thought we were having a discussion based on fact, not subjectivity. The fact is, that this experiment of long copy versus short has already been performed. The results are in. Long copy outsells short.

JUDY: (more silence)

DREW: Listen... why in the world would you care how long your copy is? Really! Unless it's strictly an issue of SPACE... who gives a ^%#$ how LONG the copy is? Isn't a more valuable to ask: "Is the copy clear? Interesting? Persuasive? Is it loaded with benefits? Does it move the reader logically to a sale? Does it make it easy for the reader to buy?"

JUDY: Well sure, but...

DREW: Then who cares how LONG it is? Do you really care that someone who is NOT interested in what you're selling won't read your copy?

JUDY: Well, no.

DREW: Likewise, why be concerned that someone who IS interested in what you're selling WILL read your long copy?

JUDY: That's just semantics.

DREW: Semantics? Of course it's semantics! This entire discussion is semantics. Semantics is the study of meaning in language. In order for us to have this discussion, it's necessary for us to convey meaning. Now, here are some more semantics...

JUDY: Oh, boy.

DREW: <smile> Listen, Judy... think about this. Picture 2 vacuum cleaner salespeople. Salesperson A and Salesperson B. Salesperson A knocks on your door. You let him in. He gives a 5-minute pitch and leaves.

Now, Salesperson B knocks. You let him in. He gives a 90-minute pitch... demonstrates every function... dumps a stack of hot testimonials on your coffee table... hands you his cell phone and has you talk to his top 10 customers... fully explains his guarantee... pulls out charts... models... performance reviews... quality control stats... comparison guides... the works.

JUDY: I would have kicked him out long before 90 minutes.

DREW: Exactly, Judy! And you know what THAT means? It means YOU are not a prospect. On the other hand, if you WERE in the market for a new vacuum cleaner...and his pitch was interesting enough that you WOULD let him stay... which salesperson would more likely make the sale... A or B?

JUDY: Uhhh...I guess B.

DREW: Of course B! Why? Because he'd have more time to convince you of the value of what he's selling. The more you knew about it... the more you'd value it... the more you value  it, the more valuable it is to you... the more valuable it is to you, the more you'd want it... the more you'd want it, the more likely it is you'd buy it! It's a logical progression of events and without the time required to take the steps, the less likely you'd be to buy.

JUDY: But people today don't have time to read, read, read. They want everything fast!

DREW: You're right. They don't have time.... UNTIL THEY FIND SOMETHING THAT INTERESTS THEM... and then they'll find the time.

The big executive has no time to play ball with his 6-year old son, but he'll spend and hour and a half looking for just the right grain of calfskin wallet that will be most impressive with the new shoes he just bought last week.

The housewife has no time to exercise, but God forbid she not blow an hour every day watching, "As The World Turns."

The student has no time to study and improve his grades, but always finds time to yak, yak, yak on the phone with his "cool" new girlfriend.

Don't you see, Judy? It's not that people have no time. That's the big flaw in your argument. People DO have time, but they won't spend it doing something that doesn't interest them.

Boring copy? They'll sleep! Exciting, interesting copy? They'll read and read... and maybe even buy!

JUDY: Well... I don't know.

DREW: Well, I do. And so did the old masters of advertising. The giants like John Caples, Claude Hopkins, Walter Weir, David Ogilvy, John E. Kennedy, and others. In fact, Caples said, "It can't be too long, only too boring."

JUDY: But the web is different than print.

DREW: Of course. But one thing has NOT changed. HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY. The human mind is still influenced the same way. The more interesting, influential information you provide, the more you'll sell.

In fact, I know of a web site... that if it existed... you'd read every one of its 250 pages.

JUDY: Yeah, right. What site is it?

DREW: It's called A site entirely about you and your life.

JUDY: Very funny.

DREW: Nice talking with you, Judy! I have to get back to writing this (ahem) 12-page sales letter now. <snicker>

Until we "meet" again in the next lesson, consider this moving quote from Epicurus:

"Do not spoil what you have
by desiring what you have not;
but remember that what you now have
was once among the things only hoped for."

Success to you, my friend!

Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon(tm)

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Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S. -- is an outspoken, humorous and philosophical advertising trainer, speaker and columnist with 15+ solid years of hands-on experience. His newspaper and magazine articles teach thousands of business people how to use simple, but powerful techniques of Madison Avenue psychology to help them boost their advertising results.

He was a Senior Direct Response Writer for the direct response division of the largest ad agency in Philadelphia. He was also Senior Direct Response Copywriter of one of the largest direct-to-the-consumer insurance companies in the world. He created powerfully effective advertising for small retail shops, to giant, multi-million dollar organizations, including Faber-Castell Corporation, Texaco, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Automobile Association, Amoco, American Legion and many others.

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