Cut the fat – how to say more with less

Brian
June 30, 2009

Some marketers try to force-feed their prospects every little tidbit about their products and services, believing that the more they can stuff into their pitch the better chance they have of converting the most customers. This is not effective marketing.

Instead of trying to capture everyone, you should write your pitch and design your materials for just one customer. This helps you tailor your sales materials — whether they be brochures, postcards, websites, e-mails or something else — to the perfect customer who is ready to buy.

Start by defining who your perfect customer is and giving that customer a name — we'll call her Jane. If you know what Jane is looking for in a product, where Jane lives, what Jane makes, what Jane's values are, and other demographic information it becomes easier to succinctly sum up the portion of your pitch that Jane is likely to respond to. Sure, you have other customers, but your goal is to target a specific customer type and giving your perfect customer a name helps you refine your pitch on a personal level. Other customers will still appreciate your pitch, and you can refine other materials to speak to them.

Amateur designers often load their designs with graphics and images that are more distracting than facilitating. Amateur copywriters pack line after line of features and benefits into their copy. On the other hand, seasoned professionals tend to keep it short and sweet.

While long copy sales letters and web pages do have a place, short pitches work best in most applications. Google once conducted a study to see whether long or short copy performed better, and found that short copy won out by a long shot. Why do you think Google's pages are so sparse?

Being concise doesn't mean you can't make an impression — quite the opposite, in fact. Since you're forced to write and design “light,” you have to find a way to say more with fewer words and to evoke emotions with fewer graphics. That's why great taglines are more powerful than paragraphs, and a single image is more meaningful than a collage.

Examine your sales materials. What happens if you delete your first paragraph, or paraphrase it into a short headline?

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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