The more you tell, the more you sell

People still read books, and binge-watch 3 hour podcast episodes. But the moment it gets boring, they check out and move on. People pay attention for as long as it is interesting, but not a moment longer.

However… Before people make a purchase decision, they want to have all their questions and concerns answered. For this reason, longer copy tends to often outperform short-form copy. When aiming to close deals, stick to the old adage: “the more you tell, the more you sell


  • Sales representatives wouldn’t impose a 500-word limit for sales calls, would they? Of course not. They use as many words as they need to make the sale.
  • When people are actually buying something, they want to know all about it. Facts help people paint a full picture in their head, and instil confidence and trust in the customer. The more facts there are to know about a product, the clearer the picture gets in the customer’s head.
  • Use subheads and bullet points to break up long copy into scannable sections. This improves readability for the motivated reader while allowing skimmers to grasp key points quickly.
  • Include customer stories, social proof, and concrete examples to make long copy more engaging and tangible. Stats and facts are boring but anecdotes and case studies keep readers interested.
  • To justify length, communicate the upside, downside, and assumptions behind your offering clearly. Be transparent about why it costs what it does and call out any limitations. This builds trust in long copy by dealing with objections upfront.
  • Occasionally summarize key points when transitioning between sections. Repetition drives retention and prevents readers from getting lost in lengthy content.
  • This adage is often attributed to the great David Ogilvy, but that is incorrect. This wisdom already appeared as early as 1896 (and is still going strong!). Having said that, you could do worse than studying classic marketing masters, like Ogilvy. If you haven’t yet, please get yourself a copy of Ogilvy on Advertising. You won’t regret it.

In Practice

Try to take a full-page screenshot of any Amazon or Kickstarter sales page, and you’ll quickly find out that they are much longer than you’d first think. Shockingly long, in fact. The copy alone of many of Kickstarter’s most successful launches span pages and pages of text. Why is that? Because the more you tell, the more you sell.

Pair with

  • Possibly the most convincing sales letter ever written: Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. The novel comes in at more than 1,000 pages, and after reading the book not a single person would not be convinced of Rand’s philosophy of objectivism. A great piece of psychology and indoctrination.
Most people churn on Day 1