Vitale’s “Hypnotic Writing” Chapter 18-19

In chapter 18, Joe throws his two cents into the long copy versus short copy debate. His answer is that as a general rule of thumb, you need more words for a higher price and that you can write as much as you want as long as it’s interesting.

This may not exactly be a hypnotic writing topic per se but it’s one that every writer wonders about. Just because people read books doesn’t mean you can turn a sales letter into a book no matter how interesting it is. And then there are plenty of catalog sites that sell just fine with a single paragraph.

I’m a fan of stepping back and looking at the big picture. Each sales letter needs to fit into the larger conversation that may be happening through other media than just the single sales letter. If the person has already read a review about your product elsewhere, they may not need a long sales letter. If I spoke to someone over the phone, I may not need anything at all other than an email address to PayPal them some money.

There are two competing philosphies here. There’s “the more you tell, the more you sell,” competing with the idea that many salespeople talk themselves out of too many sales. Oftentimes silence is golden.

So the real answer is to test. And test against nothing too. If you have 10 paragraphs plus a headline, you ought to test not including each of those paragraphs and not having a headline. The only thing you wouldn’t want to test not having is the order link. Everything else is fair game.

Chapter 19 is a reminder to always write to your reader’s insterest rather than your own. Joe encourages us to consider that our readers will be asking, “So what?”, “Who cares?” and “What’s in it for me?” True that.

6 Responses

  1. Hey Louis – very good point about testing *everything*. I’m still hoping someone will eventually come to market with a great way to split test things on a wordpress site. I’m sure Google Website Optimizer will enable these tests, but it doesn’t look easy to setup via wordpress. It’s on my to do list!

  2. I always use to wonder as to what is wrong with my sales pitches because it does not bring in the desired results. Now i gone through all the post of your blog and i understand the importance of a well written sale letter.The best point so far was always show off the interest of the buyer or the third party rather than yours, its a remarkable point which i will bear in mind.

  3. Long sales letter never work as far as i have experienced.A very precise sales letter which clearly explain about your product very precisly and convince the prospective buyer works best. Today people have very less time to read your sales letter you have 30 secs to make an impression.

  4. Writing a Sales Letter, can be a tedious job. You have to know the importance of sending your message across, in an interesting and enticing manner, one that will create an indelible mark, in your demographics mind. If you are able to carry on with this type of writing, am sure, people will flock your products. After all, its not about convincing people, that what you are offering is nice, its also about making them realize that what you are selling, is definitely something that will be beneficial to them. Nice tips…


    First line its only purpose is to get someone to read the second line, the most important thing in copy is to get the headline brilliant.. then focus on the 2nd line, it can take about 2 weeks to come up with a good headline, hope this is usefull


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