Miniskirts, Mad Men, and a lengthy landing page
In the TV series Mad Men, the story of mass market advertising itself gets put on the limelight. Despite being the epicenter of trendsetting, the fictional advertising agency SCDP gets sideswiped by social changes. Like the civic rights movement, feminism, and the hippies. For any serious student of marketing and Madison Avenue, it’s a great watch.
You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl.
–Joan Holloway to Peggy, from the early 1950s Mad Men
The Mad Men styled-answer to the question of how long a landing page needs to be, which you’ve likely heard before: a sales letter should be like a miniskirt…long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to remain interesting.
The sales letter’s (or landing page’s) goal is to convince your reader of the attractiveness of your offer. So that they buy the product. Once they’re driven by the ad to the landing page, each sentence needs to reel in the reader:
- Inform them about the benefits they will receive, and tie them back to product features.
- Make the reader increasingly excited about your solution or product, as they read each sentence.
- Anything which knock them off that path (words, pictures, or graphics) must be sliced off immediately.
- Guarantee and provide certainty that your product will deliver.
- Explain exactly how to buy the product you’re selling, to minimize any friction in the sale.
At the same time, there is conflicting tension. The shorter the sales letter is, the more likely it is the reader will finish reading it. Get the same message across in less words.
Mark Twain once quipped, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Particularly when you’re trying to persuade someone, tight writing is essential.
Everyone is busy.
In the context of a landing page, it’s almost that simple. Yet not quite. Length is in the eye of the reader, dear reader.
If your salesletter directly targets that reader’s need, they’re much more likely to want to continue reading it. Until the end.
If someone complains that a letter is too long, it’s a strong sign that you’re off mark. They aren’t the ideal recipient. Alternatively, the letter isn’t focused enough on their actual needs.
Which brings me to the main point here. What’s on the landing page doesn’t drive that much in sales. There’s two other factors which influence sales even more than what’s on the landing page.
They’re both in Launch Tomorrow. Buy now.
At the moment, it’s 184 pages of exactly what you need to know, in order to run experiments with landing pages.
Figure out whether your market is saturated.
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