Spoiler alert: It’s not because of their length.
A client (an enterprise SaaS) recently told me:
“We like your draft, but we need the page to be shorter. Shorter pages convert better.”
A year ago, I would have delivered a long speech on how “that’s not true”, that “it depends” and that “people do read”.
But this time, I realized that it was indeed true.
I’ve been working with this client for a while. And I knew what they were saying was a fact.
Among their pages, the short ones converted better. So how could I tell them it’s not true?
“Wait… Does it mean short pages always convert better?”
It’s very likely that, if we took enough well-written short pages and compared them to well-written longer pages, we’d discover that short pages convert better.
But – and this is important – not because of their length.
It’s correlation. Not causation.
It’s not the “shortness” of those pages that causes higher conversions.
The same way eating more ice cream doesn’t cause summer.
We eat more ice cream in summer because the weather is hotter.
And shorter pages convert better because… of their target audience.
More aware audience => better conversion rates
If you’re writing for prospects that already know, like and trust you, you don’t need to educate or persuade much.
They are ready. You just need to tell them what you offer and show them an easy way to buy.
And you don’t need many words for that.
That’s the real reason why you observe higher conversion rates on shorter pages: high aware audience that’s more eager to convert.
One of the best-converting pages of my client is a landing page offering a free trial.
They use it to drive traffic from ads shown to people who already search for “(name of software) free trial”.
The page is about 400 words long. Prospects click on the “Try free” button like mad.
But could you imagine persuading people who’ve never heard of you to join your expensive course… in just 400 words?
“Wait… So what pages convert best now?”
The best-converting pages are those that:
- meet prospects at their current state of mind and awareness level
- and deliver a convincing argument that changes their awareness and state of mind to the point they need to be to convert
….using the minimum number of words.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk 🎤😄