“If you say three things, you don’t say anything.”— James Carville’s campaign advice to Bill Clinton

People often have a hard time believing James Carville’s advice, because it seems to counterintuitive — why would further strengthening your point and your position work worse than just sticking to one main point?

Unfortunately, be can only absorb and really believe so much. Putting more than that into a message is sort of like throwing one more bowling pin at a juggler than he can really handle — he ends up catching nothing as ALL the pins come crashing down.

And, yes, this also applies to PPC Ads. Ad writers want to stuff as many factual benefits, features, and deal sweeteners into an ad as possible, but that strategy rarely results in a more effective ad. Just check out this recent contest:

The losing ad presents a lot more compelling reasons to buy, and in more compelling language than the winning ad to boot:

  • “Top Grade Pearls” sounds better than just “Premium”
  • 80% off sounds more specific than “Wholesale prices
  • And the winning ad doesn’t even mention 90-Day Returns

So why did the losing ad lose? Because the winning ad was written in easier-to-read complete sentences and only presented 2 main points rather than 5. So it managed to grab a 53% higher Click-Through Rate with LESS persuasive points, because each point came through clearly.

So a tip from the boosters is to quit overstuffing your ads — say one thing they’ll believe and remember rather than five things they won’t.