running an online business

Running an online business means having a long sales letter.

Visit any squeeze page on the Internet and inevitably, you’ll find that it’s a ridiculously long sales letter. These letters inevitably are where the owner of the site or software is making the case that they have the greatest thing since sliced bread.
In fact, if they are to be believed, if you’ll only spend $47, $97 or more, you’ll have to clear a path for the trucks loaded with money which will be backing into your driveway any day now.

But Does Anyone Read Them?

All of this is all well and good and the fact is that squeeze pages, love them or hate them are here to stay. So are the super long sales letters. The thing is though, study after study has shown a very odd dichotomy about these things.
One the one hand, study after study has shown that these super long sales letters do work. On the other hand, study after study has also shown that people have short attention spans on the web and often don’t read long pieces of writing. So who is right? The answer: they both are.

Most People are Sheep, Not Shepherds

I don’t want to sound negative here, but the fact is that the vast, vast majority of people prefer to be led rather than be the one doing the leading.
We don’t want to think about the weighty problems of the world, which is why politics is such a mess today (the only people who seem to run for election tend to be corrupt and power hungry – in fact a recent New York Times editorial noted that congress people and senators tend to outperform the markets because they have access to information the rest of us don’t have).
This is also why we consistently see so many people taken in by the promises of easy money on the Internet, even though I and others have said repeatedly that those long sales letters are just hype. The reality, that you have to work damn hard to earn a lot of money on the Internet, doesn’t seem to register with many people.

So What Does This Have to Do With the Long Sales Letters?

I’m glad you asked that question. Well all right, even if you didn’t ask the question, you should have. The fact that most of us don’t want to lead means we want to be told, just do this, this and this and you’ll see lots of money for your trouble. This part of the equation would seem to indicate that those long sales letters don’t work.

The Other Side of the Story

However, there is a flip side to this. Even though most of us don’t want to actually think about doing the hard work of building a better society or making lots of money, we also hate the idea of being a sucker. Because of that, when we see these long sales letters, we tend to skim through them and, when they seem to have something of value to offer, we impulsively hit the “buy” button, even though we never read the whole thing thoroughly.
The theory seems to be that if they could say this much wonderful stuff about their product, it must be great (I’m reminded of an old episode of Frasier where Frasier and Niles are discussing a doctor and when Frasier finds out where the doctor has a summer home, he says “oh well, he must be very good.”)

Bottom Line

The bottom line is actually pretty simple – very few people actually read those long sales letters. However, if you want to succeed in Internet Marketing, you’d better have them because people do like to see them and they do like to skim through them, looking for juicy nuggets (which is probably why they have lots of bits and pieces in bold rather than simply putting them all in a single font and size).