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Is your marketing copy fact-based?

We’ve talked before about the Three Rs of Internet Marketing—to be real, relevant, and responsive. One way to be both real and relevant is with fact-based marketing. I spoke with someone who has consciously lowered the volume on his hype machine.


Floyd Marinescu, creator of successful software community sites infoq.com and theserverside.com, disputes the traditional marketing dictum to “sell the benefits, not the features.” Floyd says that he finds his software developer customers respond to the exact opposite approach—selling the features, not the benefits.
Floyd says that programmers perceive traditional marketing copy as spam: “When you sell the benefits, everyone’s product sounds the same.” He used copy that solicits registrants for a technical conference as an example:

  • Increase your skill
  • Network with others
  • Learn what you need for your job

Floyd’s point is that any conference can claim these benefits. He’d regularly rewrite this kind of copy to emphasis specific features—the speakers, the subjects, the precise technical information the customers were looking for: “No benefits. Just facts. Just features.” The marketers told Floyd that his copy was boring, but he says “the feature-oriented ones did better—20% better clickthrough rates.”
If you’re looking for a way to turn around your conversion rates, give fact-based marketing copy a try. Not only will the tone seem more real to your customers, but you’ll also be using more relevant words, which helps searchers find it in the first place.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing consultancy based in New York City. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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