Search Engine Optimization: One Size Does Not Fit All when It Comes to Writing Copy

| February 16, 2009 | 2 Comments

By Karon Thackston
I shake my head every time I read one of these blanket
statements. I’m amazed at how so many people still think that
one size of copy still fits everyone. It’s just not true.

Here’s an example. A while back, I read, “Prospects hate being
bombarded by text-heavy pages, especially on a home/landing
page.” This is coming from Internet Marketing Report in
relation to business-to-business (B2B) websites. I’m sorry, but
I completely disagree.

Just because a website is B2B does not automatically mean every
single one of its visitors will “hate being bombarded by
text-heavy pages.” The product or service itself, how familiar
the product or service is to the market, the target customer’s
preferred communication style and a dozen other factors
contribute to the decision about whether or not long copy or
short should be used.

On the other hand, we have direct-mail experts who’ve taken
their style of copywriting (sales letters) online. And, just
like the ultra-short copy suggested by the Internet Marketing
Report article, long copy has its audience.

If you ask direct marketers, they’ll swear that the long,
scrolling, often hype-filled sales letters are the end-all,
be-all of copywriting. Again, nothing could be further from the
truth. The same reasoning applies to those who say you must use
a sales letter as opposed to those demanding short copy.

DISC Helps Us Understand

You may have heard of the DISC model that categorizes people
into four primary groups (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and
Compliance). There are others as well, including Myers-Briggs.
No matter how you group people, the point is that everyone is
not the same.

So then, how can one style of copy possibly fit everyone? It
doesn’t. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Whether
you’re B2B or B2C, you have to know your target audience and
communicate with them in the way that they will be most
receptive.

For instance, people high in Steadiness traits on the DISC model
prefer longer copy. What’s more, those high in Steadiness make
up over 40% of the population of the U.S. Those high in
Compliance crave details. They, too, would want longer copy.
Dominance types want the bottom line first and possibly details
later if they deem them necessary. And Influence? Those high
in Influence move at the speed of light and make decisions on a
whim. They aren’t much into details either.

Combine with these four styles the additional factors that being
male or female add and you’ve really got your hands full. Want
to get extremely precise? Toss in some persona/profile elements
that deal with lifestyle, convictions and more. It’s enough to
make your head spin at times.

Use Your Judgment

Before you buy into a blanket statement about consumers -
whether it pertains to writing copy, setting prices or anything
else – use your judgment. Does what’s being suggested really
make sense for everybody? Is it possible that all people across
the entire globe respond in the same way? No.

We all communicate differently. We shop differently. We make
decisions based on different criteria. We respond to different
stimuli. If there’s one common denominator, it is that we’re
all different.

Looking for a better way to learn web copywriting? Karon’s SEO
copywriting course teaches you how to improve conversions and
rankings. Complete with assignments and feedback. Get the new
5th edition today at http://www.copywritingcourse.com.

© 2009, All Rights Reserved

Category: Search

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By Karon Thackston
I shake my head every time I read one of these blanket
statements. I’m amazed at how so many people still think that
one size of copy still fits everyone. It’s just not true.

Here’s an example. A while back, I read, “Prospects hate being
bombarded by text-heavy pages, especially on a home/landing
page.” This is coming from Internet Marketing Report in
relation to business-to-business (B2B) websites. I’m sorry, but
I completely disagree.

Just because a website is B2B does not automatically mean every
single one of its visitors will “hate being bombarded by
text-heavy pages.” The product or service itself, how familiar
the product or service is to the market, the target customer’s
preferred communication style and a dozen other factors
contribute to the decision about whether or not long copy or
short should be used.

On the other hand, we have direct-mail experts who’ve taken
their style of copywriting (sales letters) online. And, just
like the ultra-short copy suggested by the Internet Marketing
Report article, long copy has its audience.

If you ask direct marketers, they’ll swear that the long,
scrolling, often hype-filled sales letters are the end-all,
be-all of copywriting. Again, nothing could be further from the
truth. The same reasoning applies to those who say you must use
a sales letter as opposed to those demanding short copy.

DISC Helps Us Understand

You may have heard of the DISC model that categorizes people
into four primary groups (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and
Compliance). There are others as well, including Myers-Briggs.
No matter how you group people, the point is that everyone is
not the same.

So then, how can one style of copy possibly fit everyone? It
doesn’t. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Whether
you’re B2B or B2C, you have to know your target audience and
communicate with them in the way that they will be most
receptive.

For instance, people high in Steadiness traits on the DISC model
prefer longer copy. What’s more, those high in Steadiness make
up over 40% of the population of the U.S. Those high in
Compliance crave details. They, too, would want longer copy.
Dominance types want the bottom line first and possibly details
later if they deem them necessary. And Influence? Those high
in Influence move at the speed of light and make decisions on a
whim. They aren’t much into details either.

Combine with these four styles the additional factors that being
male or female add and you’ve really got your hands full. Want
to get extremely precise? Toss in some persona/profile elements
that deal with lifestyle, convictions and more. It’s enough to
make your head spin at times.

Use Your Judgment

Before you buy into a blanket statement about consumers -
whether it pertains to writing copy, setting prices or anything
else – use your judgment. Does what’s being suggested really
make sense for everybody? Is it possible that all people across
the entire globe respond in the same way? No.

We all communicate differently. We shop differently. We make
decisions based on different criteria. We respond to different
stimuli. If there’s one common denominator, it is that we’re
all different.

Looking for a better way to learn web copywriting? Karon’s SEO
copywriting course teaches you how to improve conversions and
rankings. Complete with assignments and feedback. Get the new
5th edition today at http://www.copywritingcourse.com.

© 2009, All Rights Reserved