Too much copy?

A friend of mine, Paul Dervan, posted yesterday about whether or not it is possible to have too much copy?

This is a question we often struggle with in non-profits when it comes to Direct Mail, and all too often I think we fall on the side, which I believe is the wrong side, that less is more. And sometimes that is because the wrong people are deciding how the mailing should look.

I remember being involved with a particular Christmas mailing for a large charity and the CEO was getting the final say on how the piece should look. He was adamant that the mailing should not go over 1 page!

This frustrated me so much. There was so much more we could have said (that was relevant) and we could have said it a lot better if he wasnt so stuck on…people won’t read more than one page. That is of course true for a certain percentage of those that get the mailing. But if we were to do everything based on this motto we would never do DM, because not everyone (in fact we all know its a very small %) is going to donate.

So what we need to think about are those that are going to donate, they will read more, because it matters to them, it is relevant to them. With good headlines, clever highlighting etc…we can engage them in the letter and once they are in they will want to know as much as you can tell them, that is relevant. As Paul says on his “there is too much copy there….” post:

If your readers are not interested, they won’t read beyond the headline, so it doesn’t matter how much copy you have. But if they read the headline and are still interested, you should give them as many reasons to buy as possible.

Paul makes this point really well , with a quote from Claude C Hopkins:

Some say ‘Be very brief. People will read but little’. Would you say that to a salesman? With a prospect standing before him, would you confine him to any certain number of words? That would be an unthinkable handicap.”

P.S. If you aren’t convinced read some Drayton Bird!

One thought on “Too much copy?

  1. i feel your pain. think this is because people confuse the need to keep it simple with keep it short. So short words, short sentences, short paragraphs – but not necessarily short letters.

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