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‘Good Enough’ Conversion Rates?

A reader called me last week. He was trying to sell his company’s services through its Web site and asked us two simple-sounding questions: “What is your other clients’ experience?” and “What is the average number of visitors it takes to make one sale?” I advised him to ignore other people’s experiences; they’ll prove worthless. […]

Benefits & Royalties of Having a Book

Writing a book is like having a baby in that the benefits of having one are much greater than any royalties you might receive. Yes, Uncle Sam cuts you a break for having a dependent on your tax return, but you certainly don’t have children because you want to become rich. In fact, informed us […]

Four Kinds of Ads

Great ads can be either product-specific or store-specific. Bad ads are generally category-specific. And then there are franchise ads. Franchise ads build the master brand. The hope of every franchisee is that the ads provided by the franchisor will generate enough brand magnetism to pull customers into their store. Due to the fact that a […]

Renting a List? Consider a Spam Clause . . . .

Can you build a brand using only a series of one-time offers? Maybe, but it’s awfully difficult. It depends how you define your brand or, better yet, how customers understand your brand. Some brand experiences you control, some you can’t, and some you’re unaware of. These still affect your brand. I have some good news, […]

A Man. A Plan. A Can Opener.

It’s 1977. In Clearwater, Florida, DJ Bob Circosta has a news and talk show on a local AM station. A short-on-cash advertiser asks station manager Lowell “Bud” Paxson if he can pay with merchandise. He offers 112 Rival electric can openers. In avocado green. It was the ’70s. The can opener retailed for $9.95. Circosta […]

Stacking the Deck

If you consider yourself a small or medium-sized publisher, I recommend you choose your authors the way Roy H. Williams chooses his clients. Roy owns a very successful advertising and consulting organization outside Austin, Texas. He’s most widely recognized as the author of the 1999 bestseller, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, though his […]

CRM, Yes—But Don’t Forget to MRC

Have you been bombarded, like I have been, with the latest buzz suggesting we should spend our time, resources, and money on online customer relationship management (CRM) software? Talk about putting the cart before the horse! Oh, the idea is pointed in the right direction, all right — but don’t you think first you need […]

The Climate Change in Publishing

During a recent episode of the excellent science series “Cosmos,” host Neil deGrasse Tyson explained the difference between weather and climate, in speaking of the climate change that is already wreaking havoc on our planet, with stronger storms, rising seas, melting ice and warming temperatures. Weather, he said, is the day-to-day occurrence of meteorological patterns, such […]

Do You Want to Inform or Persuade?

The process we use to plan persuasive elements of a Web site is called persuasive architecture. It is the organization of the buying and selling processes married to the information flow. The focus is persuading visitors to take action. It’s similar to information architecture, which involves the design of organization and navigation systems to help […]

What’s Really Surprising About E-Tailing? No Surprise

In a column titled “Some Online Retail Surprises,” New York Times columnist Bob Tedeschi reported some pretty obvious things, but they genuinely surprised the e-commerce industry. Why would they find the fundamentals of human persuasion so astonishing? Tedeschi writes (emphasis added): The Internet research firm comScore Networks released its list of the 25 highest-selling Web […]