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Posts by Jeff Sexton

FutureNow Post
Monday, Sep. 21, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Nobody wants to read your sh**!

September 21st, 2009

Stop TalkingMost valuable writing lesson ever. Or so says Steven Pressfield in this blog post on how his first professional job as an advertising copywriter indelibly carved this truth on his psyche:

“Nobody wants to read your shit.

Let me repeat that. Nobody–not even your dog or your mother–has the slightest interest in your commercial for Rice Krispies or Delco batteries or Preparation H. Nor does anybody care about your one-act play, your Facebook page or your new sesame chicken joint at Canal and…

...continue to read "Nobody wants to read your sh**!"

FutureNow Post
Friday, Sep. 18, 2009 at 11:24 am

Redesign? Ask The Right Questions!

September 18th, 2009

Seth & GrokSeth’s blog post on “Things to ask before you redo your website” is a must read for everyone involved in online marketing.   Seriously.  If you haven’t seen it yet, go read it now.

What I love most about this list is the way it segregates into sub-components or elaborations on Future Now’s  three questions that are the basis of Persuasion Architecture:

1) Who is coming to the site?

2) What is it they are trying to accomplish?

3) What…

...continue to read "Redesign? Ask The Right Questions!"

FutureNow Post
Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Just Say The Thing – Why Relevance Always Wins

September 2nd, 2009

Hemingway Quote

My friend and brilliant copywriter, Chris Maddock, frequently exhorts his writing students to “Just say the thing.”  This advice is based upon Chris’s extensive experience in what’s working right now for radio ads – and just as importantly,  what’s no longer working for any type of copywriting.

Google and the Internet have trained us to ruthlessly sort for relevance, and we now demand messaging formatted for, and adapted to, rapid sorting.  If visitors can’t get on your website,…

...continue to read "Just Say The Thing – Why Relevance Always Wins"

FutureNow Post
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm

FAQ Page = A Sign Warning Drivers of Potholes

August 18th, 2009

Unanswered QuestionsThink about it: if those questions really are FREQUENTLY ASKED, why the heck isn’t your regular copy answering your visitors’ questions?

Unanswered questions keep visitors from buying/converting — that’s not theory; it’s a fact!

So why, oh why, would you knowingly allow your persuasive copy to ignore a frequently asked question?  Why would you possibly be content with hiding the answers to your prospective customers’ questions in an FAQ page?  Are you trying to weed out all but the most…

...continue to read "FAQ Page = A Sign Warning Drivers of Potholes"

FutureNow Post
Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 at 2:39 pm

How to Handle Jargon and Acronyms

August 13th, 2009

JargonHere’s an issue/question that arrived in a comment to my post on Playing an Idiot Online [emphasis mine]:

“Brilliant post. We get this all the time, when designing websites for our clients……..But our clients will often use the line “but my customer understands this terminology, these acronyms, my customer is from a particular niche and they all use this terminology”…….It can be hard to argue this point, the client knows their customer better than us…… Yes usability tests would be a good…

...continue to read "How to Handle Jargon and Acronyms"

FutureNow Post
Monday, Aug. 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Radio and the Internet Put the Smackdown on Newspapers

August 10th, 2009
Or at least why the assumptions behind the review are off-base

newspaper-association-america-survey-mori-primary-medium-checking-advertising-2009According to the nifty pie-chart to the right and the related study, because  print newspapers reach people who are actively looking for, or “checking,” ads, they are still a solid advertising medium.  How these people can conclude one thing from the other is utterly beyond me.

While newspapers may be a medium that still draws people  who are actively searching out ads, that hardly means newspapers are…

...continue to read "Radio and the Internet Put the Smackdown on Newspapers"

FutureNow Article
Friday, Aug. 7, 2009

I’m not an idiot, but I play one online – and so should you!

August 7th, 2009
YouTube Preview Image

Sorry about the headline – the 80s flashbacks are getting to me.  Still, I really do “play stupid” as a Website optimizer and online copywriter.  Or at least I play ignorant.

Why?  Because all those terms and concepts you think everyone understands about your business and what you’re selling – well, you’re wrong about them!  Wrong about both the terms themselves and your potential audience.  If you think I’m mistaken, go back and watch the video…

...continue to read "I’m not an idiot, but I play one online – and so should you!"

FutureNow Post
Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009 at 9:50 am

On Target Copywriting and the next “Buns of Steel”

August 5th, 2009
You probably won’t like the website I’m about to show you.

Lou vs BradIn fact, you may not like the product, either, simply because you’re probably not part of their targeted audience.  So make up your mind now to look past that in order to see the marketing decisions behind both the product and the site.

Let’s start by imagining that you’ve just been challenged to enter the fitness category. Not to sell some machine or piece of equipment, but to sell…

...continue to read "On Target Copywriting and the next “Buns of Steel”"

FutureNow Post
Monday, Aug. 3, 2009 at 9:29 am

Ogilvy’s Famous Rolls Royce Ad – Another Look

August 3rd, 2009

Did you know that Ogilvy was not the first to use the “electric clock” comparison in a headline?

Pierce Rolls ComparisonI came across this bit o’ trivia while writing my post on Ogilvy’s preferred ad layout.  I found it written up by Robert Rosenthal at Freaking Marketing, who had done the detective work to find and scan in this Pierce-Arrow ad that ran about 25 years before Ogilvy’s Rolls Royce campaign.

If you consider yourself a student of advertising, you’ll want to read…

...continue to read "Ogilvy’s Famous Rolls Royce Ad – Another Look"

FutureNow Article
Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009

A Copywriter’s Intro to Frame-switching and Nested Storytelling

July 30th, 2009

Here’s the first thing to remember about frame switching as it applies to copywriting:

All copywriting stories are “nested.”

Matryoshka+doll-1In writing copy you inevitably create – at a minimum – one frame of reference: the one between your authorial voice and the reader.

In fact, copywriting teachers often advise aspiring writers to “talk” onto the page as if they’re talking to a best friend, simply because that mental exercise animates that almost invisible frame of reference in the mind of the writer.* Writers who…

...continue to read "A Copywriter’s Intro to Frame-switching and Nested Storytelling"

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