Does Anybody Read Those Long Ads?

Often doctors will ask a spouse or front desk CA to look over their ad before it goes to print. A common response these parties give when looking at a long copy ad, like the ones picture on the left, is “who’s going to read all that?” Sometimes these answers will influence the doctor’s decision to run the ad or not.

A professional marketer might ask the same question, but in a slightly different manner saying “is long or short copy more effective?”

Let’s take a look at what some of the best marketers over the past 100 years have said.

David Ogilvy, famous ad marketer, in his book Ogilvy on Advertising said:

“Long copy sells more than short copy, particularly when you are asking the reader to spend a lot of money. Only amateurs use short copy.”

Victor Schwab, How to Write a Good Advertisement

Mr. Schwab tells the story of Max Hart (of Hart, Schaffner & Marx) and his advertising manager, George L. Dyer, arguing about long copy. Dyer said, “I’ll bet you $10 I can write a newspaper page of solid type and you’d read every word of it.”

Hart scoffed at the idea. “I don’t have to write a line of it to prove my point,” Dyer replied. “I’ll only tell you the headline: ‘This Page is All About Max Hart’.”

Jay Abraham, marketing expert says:

Should your letter or E-mail be long or short? Make it long enough to tell a complete, informative, and interesting story.

Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerilla Marketing Handbook with Seth Godin writes:

Don’t be afraid to use lengthy copy. It’s been statistically proven time and time again that ads with more copy draw better than those with less.

Claude Hopkins, author of the classic book Scientific Advertising writes:

Some say, “Be very brief. People will read but little.” Would you say that to a salesman? With the prospect standing before him, would you confine him to any certain number of words? That would be an unthinkable handicap.”

As you can see, all of these marketing giants recommend a longer copy ad over a shorter one. Why? Because it works. More specifically, because long copy allows you to have all the effective components in the ad (like the important ones I mentioned in “5 Secrets to Powerful Chiropractic Ads“).

So who’s going to read all that copy?

A patient who’s looking for a doctor that finally understands them, that finally can relate to their problem, someone that has expertise with their condition that they’ve been suffering from. Put these elements in your long copy, niche-specific ad, and I guarantee patients will read it.

Here are a few cases where patients did respond to the ads. (This does not mean you’ll get exactly the same results as they did, as it’s likely yours would be within the range mentioned here.)

“We placed the your ad one time in our local Sunday paper at a cost of $331.50 for a ¼ page. We actually got a flood of new patients…19 with just one ad…amazing.” – Dr.’s Brian and Jessica Bell, Dickinson, ND
“We ran the ad in February and have still not collected the insurance money on these patients. So far, we HAVE collected $15,402.11!!!” – Denton James, DC, Ft. Worth, TX
“Last month we ran one of Dr. Beck’s “NeuropathyDr.” ads and we had 94 new patients, 82 started care.” – Dr. Richard Merritt, FL (recently stated on a NeuropathyDr call with Dr. John Hayes, Jr.)

So the point is save your short copy ads for the yellow pages, but use long copy in the newspaper, in direct mail and online.

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4 Comments

  1. Jared at

    I believe this. I always read these myself whether it is an email I get, or a direct mail piece. I just hope the next ad I run does better than the others.

  2. Hey Doc,

    You’re making a great point here about patients who spend more money. They’re definitely not impulse buyers and need more nurturing to decide to buy. My only question is with the internet. When looking at the statistics on time people spend on a particular page, it’s really short. Providing short snips of information with a link to more if the reader wants seems to work best.

    Great post and certainly thought provoking…

  3. Joseph Doughty, D.C. at

    The argument over “long” vs.”short” copy seems moot. You should provide enough copy to provide as much necessary information needed to inform the person and get them to take action.

    “Long” and “short” are relative terms. “Long” copy can create an emotional bond and relationship. If you think you can do this quickly or in short form, try building a qulaity relationship with someone in “short” from and “snippets”.

    Make the copy as long as is necessary to inform, get the reader to take action and eventually make a sale.

  4. The same holds true for long videos. Most people have about a 2 minute attention span.

Comments are closed.

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.