How Many Ideas Should One Piece of Marketing Contain?

Difference between web copy and print copy

Let me give you a clue.

The number of ideas to use in an ad should be odd – and three’s too many”

Timo Everi, Hasan & Partners Helsinki

I couldn’t put it better myself.

The key to any form of marketing is clarity (of course it also has to be persuasive, but for the purpose of this post, clarity wins through).

If you want your reader to be 100% clear about what you’re telling them you can’t bombard them with umpteen messages at once.

A classic example of this is a sales letter.

Years ago, a client wanted a sales letter. We agreed terms and I got to work. After a while he had a brain wave; by getting me to include 2 products within one letter, he would only have to pay me once to sell twice as much.


Trying to squeeze two ideas into one letter merely dilutes its effectiveness. To have any sort of effect you must concentrate on one idea and exploit it to the max.

Maintaining the focus of the reader is essential. If you present them with one idea, they can follow your reasoning and benefits. But if you start telling them one thing and then add “…we also offer…” they’re suddenly all at sea.

Powerful copy focuses on just one idea:

  • It shows the reader how they will benefit from that one idea
  • They’ll understand how their life will be enriched by that one idea
  • They’ll be left with no other choice than to buy into your idea

What at first might seem a financially driven ‘smart’ move will only end up with disappointing results.

Regardless of what piece of marketing you’re creating:

  • Stick to one idea
  • Focus your message on your reader
  • Show how they will benefit
  • Tell them how to buy

Author: Sally Ormond



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