by   on April 10, 2024

Long Form vs. Short Form: How Long Should A Sales Letter Be?

In today’s post, I want to take the time to document my answer to a question that clients have constantly asked me. The reason That’s not just why I decided to write this post. After every encounter with a client posing this question, I try looking up a blog post or video to share it with them. I came across this one, but I wasn’t happy. So here we go–how long should a sales letter be?

The most popular answer is–as long as it needs to be. Great answer. But when clients pay you for the consultation time, this answer doesn’t usually fly. They usually follow up with another one, “How do you decide how long a sales letter should be?” And another variation is, “Does the length increase with the price of my offer?” Interesting, right?

Does that mean the length of your sales page keeps changing as you optimize your offer?

What determines the length of a sales letter?

One needs to look closer into a sales page to answer this question. Let’s say you followed a standard framework like the PAS (Problem–Aggravate–Solve). In this case, the question is about how you decide the number of pages you use to discuss the problem versus the solution or the time you spend aggravating the problem.

In my experience, having written copies for selling courses, memberships, and coaching comes down to a few different factors. Let’s look into these factors and spend a minute discussing each of them. I’m going to be sharing eight of these factors in this post. But please note that while these are just some that come to my mind as I write, there are many more.

 

The Eight Factors That Determine the Length of a Sales Page

The following eight factors can help you decide the length of your sales page. Whether your page is just a few lines or a few tens of pages boils down to the role of the following eight factors. They are:

  1. The Market
  2. Target Sample Space
  3. Target Buyer Awareness
  4. Pain Threshold
  5. Objections
  6. Core Offer Novelty
  7. Pricing and Payments
  8. Bonus Structure

Let’s look at each one of them in greater detail in the rest of this post.

1. The Market

The most important factor determining the length of a sales page is the market. That’s because markets come with a few characteristics. For example, the health or financial markets are extremely controlled. Also, there’s a lot of inherent risk in those markets.

So if you’re selling a course or a membership that teaches people to invest better in the stock market, you can’t get away with a two-page sales letter. But if you’re selling a course for professionals to learn a career skill, then you can think of writing a shorter sales letter. The market is more fact-driven and also doesn’t have the patience to read longer sales letters.

2. Target Audience Sample Space

The length of a sales letter written for an audience inside an email list can be hugely different than when the audience is on Facebook. Subscribers in an email list are “warmer” than the audience on Facebook. If you’re writing a sales letter to the email list, you don’t need to warm them up as much as you need to with a Facebook audience.

3. Target Buyer Awareness

The third factor is the level of awareness of your target buyer. If your audience is aware of the problem, you don’t need to spend too much time discussing it. And if they constantly feel the pain as they read your sales letter, then you don’t even need to spend too much time aggravating the problem.

For example, if your audience came from an ad you ran on Facebook that qualified the problem (“Feeling tired of the constant headache?”), you can directly aggravate it in your sales letter. That reduces the length of your sales letter.

4. Pain Threshold

The fourth factor is to do with the pain itself. Does the problem cause enough pain to move your target buyers into seeking a solution? For example, a mild nagging toothache versus a pulsating toothache that’s causing a splitting headache.

5. Objections

How many objections must you handle to get the target buyer to click the buy button? This factor can greatly impact the length of your sales page. It also depends on how you write the sales page, including the voice and personality of your writing.

6. Core Offer Novelty and Believability.

The more novel and believable your core offer is, the shorter your sales page gets. It’s quite straightforward. If your core offer is a course that will teach someone to write sales pages like a pro in under sixty minutes, it’s less believable. But if your course helped them to write a decent sales letter in 30 days, that’s more believable.

Likewise, if your course is very new, you need to show more social proof and other elements to show that it works.

7. Pricing and Payments

A few days back, I wrote about pricing and payments. It’s a good read if you’d like to understand the nuance better when writing a sales letter. Generally speaking, a $2000 course will have much more copy than a $20 course. It’s simply because you need to get your target buyer to pull out more currency notes! While the above idea of the length of copy to price is not completely true, it definitely is a factor.

Likewise, if you’ve read my earlier post, you will have more copy to write when you turn the focus on payments.

8. Bonus Structure

Finally, the bonuses. More the bonuses, the more the copy. That’s not complicated to understand. But that’s one of the key factors determining the length of your sales letter.

What’s the length of your sales letter?

I just completed writing a sales letter for new membership that I’m launching for course and membership creators. And that’s a 21-page sales letter with over 7000+ words. What was the most recent sales letter you wrote? How long (or short) was its length? Let me know in the comments.

Are there other factors that have influenced the length of your sales letters? Drop them in the comments. And if you haven’t, subscribe to the Paid Course Creator newsletter–this blog was first published in the newsletter. Look for the sign up form below.

To your prosperity,

Kartvee

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