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The secret of good copy

It would be annoying for me to link to grokdotcom every day, so I don’t. But if you don’t have it in your regular rotation of RSS feeds, what are you waiting for? Here’s a great example—a post that pulls together over a dozen great articles on writing winning Web copy. It’s taking some of us a while, but we’re finally figuring out that Web marketing can really depend on your words.


Direct marketers understand this. Every time you open your mailbox and get a letter offering you yet another credit card, every word in that letter has been tested to evoke the maximum response for its target market. Direct marketers don’t write one letter and send it to a million people—they write dozens of letters and send them to a small list of people to test the response rates. They send the winner to the rest of the million on the list.
Web marketing is no different, except you can do even more testing for less money in a shorter amount of time. You may not need to subject every word on every page to testing—I know that you have a life—but most companies don’t do any testing at all.
Put the page up. We’re done.
Well, yeah, you’re “done” but in a different way than you intended. You’re cooked. Your page won’t work. Because it never does on the first try.
So, yes, use all the tips you can to do a better job of creating the right words. But remember too that the most important tip is to get feedback on your customer’s response and try something else. Over and over again. Eventually you will get something that really works. (And then you keep tweaking that, too.)
So stop the “one and done.” Pick just one page on your site designed to convert (no, not the home page). Pick a page that you know the purpose of—maybe the latest special offer for your top product. Come up with several versions of that page and use multivariate testing to test them all. You’ll find that some of your new ideas are undoubtedly better than what you have on the page now. Some companies report 30% gains in conversion rate after a year of multivariate testing.
So what are you waiting for?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital 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, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. 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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