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FutureNow Article
Monday, Apr. 13, 2009

How to Think About Long vs. Short Copy

April 13th, 2009

Long and short are linear terms (they refer to length, right?).  So they work fine to categorize or describe copy found in a sales letters or print advertisements.

But (most) websites aren’t linear because hyperlinks break linearity (aka subvert hierarchy).

People don’t read (most) Websites one full page at a time in a numbered order; they read/scan/move from one link that interests them to the next link that interests them, often entering or starting on something other than page #1 (what bad web…

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FutureNow Article
Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009

Does Online Browsing Bend the Laws of Scent and Relevance?

March 31st, 2009

So your friend shows you this book he can’t stop raving about. After giving it the old dust-cover/random-flip-through examination, you pretty much decide to buy it. Now, when you arrive at amazon.com, my question is: are you at all interested in the book recommendations that Amazon has for you?

Absolutely not, right?  Or at least not yet.

You came to buy a specific book.  You’ve already got a task in mind and browsing random books aint it.  You’ll likely…

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FutureNow Article
Friday, Mar. 27, 2009

The Value of Content Marketing

March 27th, 2009

After the first dot-com bust, “content is king” was the rallying cry of any competent Web worker. Back then this revelation was novel online. Soon after, this mantra became a cliché. As it often goes with clichés, they start out as something true and meaningful. Eventually, the words become common, outlive their value, and are so overused that they’re easily ignored.

Saying content is king is the equivalent of saying money is valuable; it’s true but obvious. Tell that to the…

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FutureNow Article
Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

Building An Optimization Culture

February 27th, 2009

There has been plenty of hot air blown into the bubble that’s getting ready to burst on Internet marketers again. I watched it happen the first time. With all the financial chaos crashing around us now, the last we need is the blind ignorance of the “new economy” happening again.

Earlier last month some hot air came from Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg, who wants to prevent the Internet advertising economy from becoming “performance based.” This week provided another more…

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FutureNow Article
Friday, Dec. 19, 2008

Calling You to Action

December 19th, 2008

Hanging out at SES Chicago last week, I spent some time with Stewart Quealy, VP of content development for SES, who told me that he enjoyed my last column about the power of a great unique value proposition. He suggested that as more new faces begin to adopt conversion rate optimization, some may not be as familiar with the fundamentals as many of us are.

And of course, the end of the year is always a good time to talk the fundamentals.…

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FutureNow Article
Monday, Dec. 8, 2008

Branding Through Reverse Camouflage

December 8th, 2008

Do you have the courage to say what you’re not?

Most people don’t want to draw that sharp line of distinction, and it’s why their marketing efforts blend into the clutter.

Discernible edges and silhouettes allow us to visually “grip” an object and separate figure from ground.  Eliminate those edges and you’ll effectively camouflage yourself.

In the picture above, notice how the legs present a solid silhouette and are easily identified, while the man’s upper body camouflage breaks up his silhouette and…

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FutureNow Article
Friday, Dec. 5, 2008

The Value of a Unique Value Proposition

December 5th, 2008

Melts In Your Mouth Not In Your HandThe idea of a unique selling proposition isn’t new or unique. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined in the 1940s. More than seven years ago I wrote about it. Here’s a bit:

What simple statement about your business or brand — just a quick, clear sentence or two at most — tells your prospects that you are the only alternative for them? Sounds like a response should just jump out at you. Yet most businesses (on- and offline) cannot provide an…

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FutureNow Article
Friday, Nov. 21, 2008

Are You Optimizing the Way Homer Simpson Diets?

November 21st, 2008

homer simpson dietIn our time of economic chaos, I hope you find a slice of comfort in the wit and wisdom of Homer Simpson:

Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.

And this sage Homerism is hard to beat:

Oh, so they have Internet on computers now!

The lovable Homer Simpson can be held up as an example to the kids for many things, but probably not Homer on a diet. He isn’t the diet-and-exercise type. His…

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FutureNow Article
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008

The Brand That Sneezed Its Way to Success and Then…

October 28th, 2008

Caught a nasty coldIn an earlier post I challenged readers to come up with a brand that was built within the last 10 years largely upon advertising, and without the benefit of a manifestly superior product or service.

Most people failed by mentioning brands that were built well before the 10-year limit.  But one reader suggested Airborne, and I had to agree that it met the criteria, even if it was the exception that proved the rule.

How so?

Well, first off,…

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FutureNow Article
Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

Microsoft’s Ad Vs. Apple’s Three Move Set

October 24th, 2008

First, if you haven’t seen it yet, watch Microsoft’s response to Apple’s infamous “I’m a Mac” campaign.

YouTube Preview Image

Here’s the question: what do you want to bet that Apple has been just waiting – even itching – for Microsoft to release that kind of response to their “I’m a Mac” campaign?

Why do I ask that?  Because I’d bet anything that Mac’s marketing was smart enough to engage in what Mike Smock has termed The Three Move Set.  You see, when…

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