Volume 144: 12/1/06

The Grok's Top Ten Countdown

You wind up writing a lot of articles in six years!  Yep ... six info-packed years of Future Now, Inc., in GrokDotCom, ClickZ and other places!  Of course, every one of these articles is special, but which are the specialest of the special?  Which have truly, madly and deeply inspired our readers? You'll find the answer in this issue.

This December, I'm featuring my Top Ten Countdown. These are the articles Future Now, Inc. has published, here and elsewhere, that have inspired folks to write (in droves), click through, investigate more and take notice. Whether you are revisiting the material or discovering it for the first time, I hope this issue encourages you to jump start your New Year's resolutions for your business plans, online and off, in 2007.

And however you celebrate your holidays, may your preparations fill you with the inspiration of the season, may your relationships bring you joy, and may you experience it all in wellness and safety.

#10:  GrokDotCom, What Exactly is a Scenario?

'Scenario' is making its way into more and more conversations these days. You'd like to wrap your mind around this concept, 'cause you have the sense it's the essence of how you construct your online experience (and you're right!). But depending on who you ask, you get a entirely different answer to the question, "What exactly is an online scenario?"

Read the whole article

#9:  Monday Morning Memo, 7 Diagnostic Tools for Marketing

Do you feel that something might be wrong with your business but you're not quite sure what it is?  Solving the problem is the easy part. The tricky part is getting clarity on exactly what the problem is.

Read the whole article

#8:  ClickZ, It's the Customer, Stupid

OK, OK, so that's a little aggressive. But really, isn't that the whole deal? Get it right, and everything else follows. Get it wrong, and -- even if everything else is perfect -- you'll still fail.

Read the whole article

#7:  GrokDotCom, Fine-Tuning the WIIFM Dial: Personality Revisited

In the time since I wrote this article, we've reconsidered the labels we attach to these dominant types.  The names we now use more accurately reflect how these types behave when they are engaged in the buying process (the behavior we are most interested in addressing).  The Amiable, Analytic, Expressive and Aggressive are now, respectively, the Spontaneous, Methodical, Humanistic and Competitive.  The content's the same ... only the names have been changed!

You’re never gonna increase your conversion rate by pushing what you want to do in the way you want to do it, because there are lots of folks out there who don’t think or act or even feel the same as you.  Let me put it more succinctly: online efforts that don’t make allowances for the different ways in which people approach making a decision leave lots of money on the table.  It’s a personality thing.

Read the whole article

#6:  GrokDotCom, A Persuasive Online Copywriter is Worth More

The way we look at it, copywriting for persuasion is about significantly more than using power words and devising catchy phrases. It's also a lot more about speaking to your visitors' buying process than it is pushing your sales process (that piece of the equation may be your raison d'être, but it must remain transparent to your visitors).

Read the whole article

#5:  GrokDotCom, Online Marketing Research on the Cheap

You meet a lot of interesting people out there. Like Otherwise Nameless. About two years ago I met Otherwise, a shy fellow who asks that I not use his name, and since then I’ve enjoyed a remarkably rich intellectual exchange with the dude.  Around here, we know that when Otherwise recommends something, you should be listening. The guy walks the talk:  “I’ve been selling online since 1994-ish (my last company used the internet to grow from sub $100k to over $4 million – mainly from strong online marketing). And, since selling out two years ago, I’ve made a comfortable living selling stuff online – every dang day.”

So when someone in a thread on a private discussion group asked Otherwise for his ideas on the fundamentals of marketing online, here’s what he had to say ...

Read the whole article

#4:  GrokDotCom, Designing Useful Navigation

Not much has changed in the year since Jakob Nielson wrote, "Most sites have miserable information architectures that mirror the way the company internally thinks about the content and not the way users think about the content. Predictably, users ignore such unhelpful structure." Typically, they ignore by bailing, pronto.

Want to employ useful navigation that helps your customers shop and moves them ever closer to the close? Then design your site the way your customer thinks, so your site anticipates the way your customers want to interact with your "store." And remember the three cardinal rules: keep it simple, make it intuitive and be consistent.

Read the whole article

#3:  ClickZ, Building More Effective "Contact Us" Pages

An open, efficient line of communication is beneficial to customers and the bottom line. Yet judging by many "contact us" pages, you'd never think this is the case. Much like "about us" pages, many "contact us" pages seem like throwaways. They receive little love and even less effort.  This is easily remedied with a little thought and some planning.

Read the whole article

#2:  ClickZ, The Power of the About Us Page

Does your site have an "About Us" page? Do you have one simply because everyone else does? What's the real value of such a page? Do you know how to maximize its value?

Read the whole article

#1:  GrokDotCom, 7 Tips for Generating Leads Online

Generating a lead may be the sole purpose of your site or a small piece of your marketing mix. Either way, it is always about answering a prospect's unspoken questions and communicating the value of doing business with you.

Can the design, architecture and content of your Web site convince visitors you're valuable to them, so they give something of value to you in return by becoming leads? Here are seven suggestions to get you started.

Read the whole article

Until next year, green regards and the happiest of holidays!

Train to Increase Your Conversion Rates

New Services

We've been busy bees over the holidays.  Check out our services page - new services have already been launched and more are coming!

New Publications

You'll also want to keep an eye on our publications page.  We've been working on creating resources that will help you put many of our principles into practice more easily and more efficiently.  We're just about to release several of our newest products, including Which Sells Best?: A Quick Start Guide to Testing for Retailers and The Conversion Experts Handbook.

Volume 144: 12/1/06


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