Repeat after me: repeat, repeat… repeat!

April 28, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

It’s an objection that’s often raised…

If handled badly, it can destroy a promotion. But get this right and it could be one of the most important things you do. reader, Jon Steel, asked an interesting question about this very subject on the website:

“Is there a good technical reason why so many of these sales letters go on for ages and repeat themselves endlessly ?”

As I replied at the time, the repetition he and many other readers notice in so many sales promotions is very deliberate.

In fact, it’s something that I would personally encourage.


Yes. Most definitely.

Why it’s so important to repeat yourself in long copy

Frankly, it’s by repeating the main idea of your sales promotion over and over that you stand the best chance of convincing the reader that you’re writing about an idea that they should take an interest in (and ultimately buy).

You see, the human mind can be easily distracted at the best of times and never more so than when reading something it wasn’t really planning to read – as is the case with most direct-response sales promotions.

Sure, some astute readers will diligently sit down to read a long copy promotion from start to finish, but many will not. Many will flit between reading it and dealing with another task. Many will skim read. Many will skip to the end.

To ensure your main idea is seen by as many people as possible, you must ensure it is repeated throughout.

And it’s important to remember that over the course of a long copy sales promotion (which will usually be between 12 and 24 printed pages) a good copywriter will cover many different issues:

You’ll talk about the benefits of the product or service…

You’ll talk about the experience needed to use it…

You’ll talk about the the time it takes to do, about the social proof that supports it, about the guarantee, the price, the extra bonuses that come with it…

There is so much that needs to be covered to form a strong argument as to why the reader should make the purchase.

Throughout all this, then, it’s easy to forget what the main idea of the promotion actually is. It becomes very easy to lose sight of the big idea that underpins your promotion.

Remember, it’s the big idea (be that a prediction, a promise, a solution, or something else) that you used in your headline that grabbed your reader’s attention in the first place…

That’s why it’s so important that you consciously repeat that initial idea throughout a direct-response sales letter.

However, it must be done correctly.

When it is, a reader shouldn’t even notice the repetition.

Don’t just repeat yourself randomly

So, how do you distinguish between the right way and the wrong way to repeat your main idea?

Well, for a start you need to make sure you don’t just arbitrarily copy and paste the main idea throughout your promotion on every other page.

This will be noticed and it will stop readers.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is possible to almost copy and paste the main promise or prediction, but it is important that when you do so, you do it at the right point in the promotion.

Further to that, you should adapt the line whenever it’s used so that it fits with the thread of the copy you’re writing at that point.

As a general rule of thumb, you should repeat the main idea at least once in each different section of your sales letter. So, if you’ve got 12 subheads, each marking the start of a new section, you should repeat the main idea at least 12 times.

But each time you must ensure that you craft the repetition into the natural flow of the section you’re writing.

You can, of course, over-repeat an idea so that it becomes boring, and when this occurs, people DO notice; hence Jon raising this question on the website in the first place.

Personally, after a lot of testing, I’ve found that it pays to repeat the main idea at least once on every written page.

The bottom line is: repetition in long copy is essential.

Yes, it will upset some readers but that’s the price you must pay to write a truly effective direct-response sales letter. Study the most successful long copy promotions and you’ll see I’m right.

Remember though, just because you have to repeat yourself does not mean you can’t
do so in a fresh and original way so that the reader doesn’t consciously realise you’re even doing it.


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Category: Technicals

About the Author ()

Glenn Fisher was born in Grimsby in 1981. After a number of years working in the local council, he left to become a copywriter and founded, a free online resource for direct response copywriters and marketers. For over a decade he worked with The Agora, a multi-million pound international financial publisher and in 2018, having helped launch and grow Agora Financial in the UK, he left to write copy on a freelance basis, focus on coaching aspiring copywriters and publish his first book, The Art of the Click. He now lives happily with his partner Ruth and dog Pablo on the east coast of England.

Comments (2)

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  1. Steven Hoy says:

    Got to admit, even though people (especially non-copywriters) get annoyed with repeating in promos, I’ve found the most success when I’ve said the promise over and over again. It’s not pretty but its part of copywriting!

  2. Fiona76 says:

    Thanks for the advice, Glenn. Not many people own up to this but it seems like you happy to avoid the BS and talk about what really works.

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