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Does long copy really work better than short copy?

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Since time immemorial — or at least for the quarter century I’ve been in direct marketing — people have vigorously debated the merits of long vs. short copy.

“If you are selling something worth more than $20, I’ll put my money on longer copy every time,” says Jim Murphy. “Because it gives me a chance to provide more facts, benefits, and credibile copy. And I’ll put my money on a DM kit over a self-mailer. Because with a kit, I have a chance to get your order with the letter, brochure, or order form.”

I don’t pretend that I can settle the debate once and for all. But I’ve developed a tool, which I call the Copy Length Grid (see Fig. 1), that can at least enable us to determine copy length in a somewhat more scientific and semi-quantitative fashion.

The Copy Length Grid says there are two major factors determining whether long or short copy will work best for your promotion: emotion and involvement.

Emotion refers to the degree to...(register to read more)

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