Short Copy – How To Sell In 50 Words Or Less

Does a bear actually poop in the woods?

That’s the question Firebox.com ask you (although using stronger language than me) before attempting to sell you a portable box that allows you to do just that – poop in the woods.

Am I trying to sell you one? Not at all… I happened to stumble on this site a while back when I was looking for camping equipment, and I thought the item was pretty cool. Like a moth to a lightbulb, I quickly found myself drawn into the rest of the site, to browse some of their other amusing and ingenious solutions to life’s little problems.

And then, after suppressing my desire to buy half of their store, I looked at it from a copywriting perspective.

This site has got short copy down to a fine art.

I recommend you take a look, just to see how they use punchy and often amusing short copy to sell their products. Let’s take an example of the “Cash Stash Keychain”:

an example of short sales copy from firebox.com

an example of short sales copy from firebox.com

I should point out that the site is based in the UK, so some of the language is for a British audience (i.e. a “tenner” is a £10 note, which is equivalent to about $16).

Each item has a picture, which often tells part (or all) of the story. Then there’s the item headline in red, which usually sums up the item (you may be able to work out what a “Cash Stash Keychain” is, just from its name), followed by a subheadline in grey, usually giving the item’s biggest benefit in a playful way (“Ideal for holding emergency folding”).

Then there’s the copy, of no more than about 50 words, going into more detail, with a “More…” link if the visitor wants more details.

Notice how they emphasize the quality (“keyring-friendly waterproof capsule… crafted from aircraft grade aluminium”), while at the same time painting a picture in the reader’s mind of its uses and benefits (“what better place to stash notes than inside…”).

I challenge you to browse their site and not to say, “I want one of those!” to at least one of their items!

I think that’s what makes it work so well. Everyone, at one time or another in their life, has probably found themselves needing emergency cash (“Cash Stash Keychain”), or wanted to wear a blanket and read a book at the same time (“The Slanket”), or wished they were able to take the kitchen sink camping with them (“The Kitchen Sink”).

Their site is designed to hook you in to browsing more of their innovative products, and when you see something that amuses you or gives you that “Aha!” moment, you’ll find yourself even more hooked by the copy.

So if you find yourself needing inspiration on writing short copy, and being able to build interest and desire in under 50 words, then go browse the pages of Firebox.com for which, stupidly, I am not an affiliate. (If you really want to thank me, buy me a “Lazy Days Hammock”!)

Just be aware that I am not responsible for any crazy gadgets you end up buying for yourself. I sent you over there for research purposes!

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3 comments

  1. Wow that’s pretty crazy! I personally love Think Geek (http://www.thinkgeek.com) and they happen to have some amusing sales copy as well. I’ll have to check out this website, though, because it looks like they really do have a handle on small sales pages.

    Thanks for the awesome article. :)

  2. Excellent little article Corey – thankyou – good timing as I am reviewing my [not good enough] writing performances,

    MyOwnPub

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