Plain-spoken Online Conversion Rate Newsletter - covering web design, email techniques, sales, marketing, copywriting, usability,  and consumer psychology.

What the Shareholders Don't Know 

Let's be honest - Martians have some stupid sayings.  Things like, "Green Is As Green Does" or "It's A Long Canal That Has No Water" or "Red Sky At Night, Red Sky Every Night."   What I really like about you guys is that your sayings make sense.  It's just that sometimes you don't use them in helpful ways.

Now that things seem to be turning around for the dot.coms after that horrible investment fiasco, folks are often tempted to say, "Leave Well Enough Alone," figuring "If It Ain't Broken, Don't Fix It."

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"What a wonderful site! You know how to put the powerful academic principles of marketing and sales into practical language. A great asset for getting past the current day hype in marketing."
Professor Allen Weiss,

"GrokDotCom is a practical and "refreshingly irreverent" free newsletter that gives you solid ideas you can use right away to increase sales, subscriptions, opt-ins, registrations, sweepstakes entries and phone inquiries."

"A novel newsletter which uses humor, color and frequent exclamation marks to provide sound commonsense advice on how to improve your online sales."
Mark Brownlow,
Keeping The Key

"Thanks, I've already doubled my number of leads."
Hale Dwoskin,
Sedona Method

Good advice, under certain circumstances. Thing is, there's a world of difference between things "not being broken" and running at peak efficiency.  

If you were to read all the self-congratulatory nonsense that is published by Internet marketers and industry executives, then you might think the industry has turned a corner and brighter days are in the offing.  Growth in consumer acceptance does wonders to cover up simple neglect.  But for how long?  What these guys forget is "A Stitch In Time Saves Nine."  If you aren't reaching for your needle and thread, then you're doomed to repeat history.  Online, the stitch that saves you time is attention to the persuasive architecture of your Web site.

Folks are beginning to focus attention on ebusiness profits and expenses, which is great, but 95% of companies surveyed indicate their top marketing priority is to direct better qualified traffic to their Web sites.  Huh?  So they won't buy, either?  Isn't that "Putting The Cart Before The Horse," which ends up being "Penny Wise And Pound Foolish?"  Understand that it's not the visitor's job to adapt to your Web site, but your job to design a Web site that successfully persuades your visitors and meets their needs.  "If The Mountain Won't Come to Mohammed, Then Mohammed Must Go To The Mountain. "  

From a more scientific study eMarketer reported the following:

"Q: What is your company's primary interactive marketing business objective?
  A: 23% - Don't know.

 Q: Channels for which US marketers have no measurement tools in place?
 A: E-mail 60%, Online excluding email 56%."

It really is true:  "A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted!" Tell me.  How do you test, measure and optimize Web sites that have been built without clear business objectives?  How do you even know what's happening if you don't measure it?  Some companies have tried increasing their conversion rates by redesigning, by employing usability testing, and by actively testing their merchandizing mix.  But really, far too few are scientifically testing the thousands of variables that affect conversion.   Every hyperlink, pixel, and word either enhances or detracts from a website's ability to convert.  Wouldn't it make sense to know how to make it work better?

The nature of the Internet is that, with few exceptions, no visitor is forced to do business on your website. "You Can Lead A Horse To Water But You Can't Make It Drink.   However, it makes more sense to persuade it rather than simply hope!  On the Internet if the visitor is not voluntarily participating from click to click you're "Up The Creek Without A Paddle."  Every hyperlink should be part of a well thought out persuasive script that adapts to the visitors' experience and expectations of relevance. Designing or redesigning a website with persuasive architecture is the antidote to the expensive habit of buying better qualified traffic.

Let me ask you this:  would you want to stand up and tell your shareholders that "What They Don't Know Won’t Hurt Them?"  Frankly, I don't want to be around when they wise up to the fact that all the data and skills to create persuasive websites are available, and folks aren't using them.  When they figure out that the myopia of expertise, the miscommunication of objectives and the ignorance of their managers is costing them a bundle, when they discover it's less expensive and more effective to design for conversion than to keep chasing after new and expensive prospects, it's probably a good idea to stand far away from the fan.

Or as we say on Mars, "A Purple-Crested Bloobulgubbler In The Hand Is Something You Can Really Do Without."


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What secret do the Search Engines use that can easily increase your conversion rates?

The answer is in the book Persuasive Online Copywriting available from Amazon. Whether you are the marketer responsible for the bottom line or the writer creating the copy, Persuasive Online Copywriting provides the tools you need to get results.

Would you like to spend two intense days in New York City learning Advanced Topics in Increasing Online Conversion Rates?  On 11/20-11/21 Bryan and Jeff Eisenberg will be presenting the first advanced course offered by the Interactive Marketing Academy. In this hands-on workshop you will learn the factors affecting conversion and how to identify, measure, test and optimize over 2,000 individual evaluation points that reveal an incredibly detailed picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of your online efforts.

The final Wizards of Web in 2002 is scheduled for December 3-5. In three mind-expanding days, Bryan, Jeffrey and the Roy H Williams, the Wizard of Ads, himself will tear apart everything you think you know about how things work online and bring the pieces back together and share the principles of persuasion that affect your online prospects.

Integrating the principles of AIDAS, third dimensional realities, usability, consumer psychology, and communications neurology you'll discover how to utilize the Internet's advantages and limitations to improve your online strategy's effectiveness. This workshop will help you "grok" (gain an intimate understanding) of effective conversion of your visitors into sales, leads, or subscriptions, whatever the goals for your prospects.

Choosing the Right Color Palette 

Every now and again, I blush to admit, I come across an idea so splendidly brilliant in its application of common sense that I wish I'd thought of it. Except in this case, I learned of the idea through a dude named Joe Gillespie.1

Just as words speak volumes, so do colors. They communicate meaning; they trigger emotional associations and evocative memories; they persuade and discourage. You folks actually have different physiologic responses to different colors! And 46% of you determine how credible a site is based on the overall appeal of the visual design.2

It makes sense, then, that when you shape the impact of your online message, you want to give some serious thought to the color palette you choose. And you want to introduce the issue of color at the right time in the development process.

So here are some Grok color suggestions and a totally cool idea I wish I could claim as my own!

When the folks here at Future Now work through the storyboard stage in the development of a Web site's persuasive architecture, they begin by ignoring color. Everything is rendered in grayscale.

The emotive power of color can often confuse persuasive design issues of shape, size, placement and importance. So save the color-question for later. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, if you create a strong design in black and white, you've got a design that will come alive with the careful application of color. Nail the layout, then turn to the emotionally charged issue of color (this'll probably save you a few design confrontations along the way, and may even spare you having to scrap a good layout cursed with the wrong colors!).

So when you're ready to start picking the colors, how do you go about it? How do you put together a scheme that's harmonious, pleasing, offers you the opportunity to provide visual contrast and communicates something of the character of your business?

Lots of folks turn to the color wheel, and pick colors based on two-, three- and even four-color schemes. Oddly, Renoir did not do it this way. Neither did Constable, Turner nor any other of the great masters. They got their inspiration much the same way Joe Gillespie suggests you get yours:

"Unless you spend many hours mixing paints and trying out their various effects and nuances, speaking with colours can be like talking in a foreign language. Yet, walk in a garden and look around you. Nature doesn't make mistakes with colour. No matter how vivid or subtle, they always seem to work together ... if you take the colour juxtapositions and their proportions from nature, you won't go far wrong."

Assemble a collection of nature pictures with subject matter or colors that you feel represent you and what you do. When you've selected an image with a color range that feels most appropriate, scan it into your computer, then, using the eye-dropper tool in your image program, pick out your palette by going for the most prominent colors.

You don't want dozens of colors, just a dominant one with variations in shade and a few contrasting colors. Joe shows some examples of this .

"Any palette produced like this can't help but be harmonious. It can be as bright or as subtle as the subject requires but will virtually guarantee a successful colour scheme. For best results, try to keep close to the original relative proportions of colours too."

You may not wind up with a "Mona Lisa," but you'll certainly create a masterpiece that enhances your persuasive architecture.

1 Web Page Design for Designers
2 Stanford Web Credibility Research


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click here for a printable version of this entire article

P.S. If you enjoyed this issue, why not share it with your colleagues and friends?
They'll appreciate it. Forward This Issue To A Friend!

GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledge and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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