3.5 - The Copy Pyramid - Own Your Distortion

In the business-y, corporate world, sales teams love to work with lead funnels. It’s how they keep their “sales pipelines” full from one quarter to the next so they can reach their revenue quotas. 

Visually, this very much looks like a funnel. A LOT of leads go in at the top and work their way down the funnel. Towards the bottom, the funnel has fewer prospects and it moves slowly enough for sales reps to serve their customers well. Other prospects might fall out of the funnel. Signed, paying customers flow out the bottom of the funnel.

The further down the funnel you go, the more you learn about the company or the product and how it can benefit you, the customer. The bottom is far more detailed than the top. There are fewer people at the bottom of the funnel than what gets put in at the top.

If salespeople know 10% of their leads turn into prospects, they can do backward math to see how many prospects they need to reach quota. 

When I work with clients on their copy, I tell them to flip their funnel. Now you have a pyramid. 

At the top is the densest, precise set of words that describe what they do. See if you can describe what you do in 60 characters or less. A small slice of your audience can look at those 60 characters and know, without a doubt, what it is you do. 

This line has exactly sixty characters in it.

This one also meets this arbitrary limit.

This one is under 60.

How riveting can 60 characters be?

The further across the page, any pages, eyes have to travel to get a message, the less likely the owner of said eyes are going to care about it. If you wind up on the second line, consider it buried and the interest lost. The third line is worse.

Can you wrap up the entirety of what makes you, you, in 60 characters or less? Let’s take some stabs at Coca-Cola

“Delivering Refreshment Any Way We Can.”
“We’ve totally refreshed our experience.”
“Travel Refreshed.”

Sixty characters or less.

These 60 characters don’t need to be a tagline or slogan. Hell, you may be the only person who ever reads them. Sometimes, these 60 characters are the few words you carry in your pocket so you can remind yourself what it is you do and who you do it for.  This is the top of the pyramid.  

Sixty characters that define your product/ company/ shit.

Trouble finding a way to describe the thing you do or the product you sell? Try working with some metaphors:

“It’s like when________"

“This is like ______ meets ______.” 

“ It’s like a _____ for your _______.”

Or, with extreme caution, “It’s like Uber for ______.” 

Let’s be frank, your audience is going to make these connections for themselves anyway. The first thing people do when they are presented with a new idea is to connect it to what they already know. How can you connect your solution to their problem?

Once you have the top of the pyramid, the 60 characters or less, then do the same thing with 120 characters. Then 180. Then 400. 900.

Maybe a thousand words. Then two thousand.

Salespeople are on a constant quest to shorten their funnel - how short can they go while still retaining enough potential leads to fill their quota? Inversely, with your copywriting, how far down the pyramid does your audience need to go before they fully understand what it is you do?

Some audiences read the 60 characters at the peak and your message just clicks with them. Great. Others might need to purchase the extended novel. The more you are able to write about your brand or company or product, the more source material you can create for the customers who are further up the pyramid.