What I do know is that lists are powerful marketing tools. They sell loads of
books, music, all sorts of merchandise and even intangibles. Think of all those
seminars that promise you’ll learn 7 ways to sell this, and 3 ways to identify
when, and 5 ways to simplify ABC, and 12 ways to improve that and 10 things that
will boost your whatchamacallits. Try it yourself; just add a well-prepared list
to a heavily trafficked Web page and watch sales climb.
Whenever Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg are invited to speak at events, I always
hear them get the tiniest bit cynical over being asked to produce the “guarantee
copy” for their presentation. But Jeffrey shrugs, “How can they expect to learn
so many complex things in such a short time - we usually get less than an hour
and don’t control the content of the event. All we can really do is briefly
review our topics. And people eat those lists up. So, if that’s what they want,
that’s what they’ll get.”
You can understand, then, why I was really curious about a list of
Internet marketing myths Bryan and Jeffrey devised for a three-day seminar where
they control the content. It’s dicey to second-guess the boss; you risk implying
the act is a cynical maneuver to sell more seminars … so I was politic. I said:
“Hey boss! What’s with the dorky list? I thought you hated lists?” Diplomacy is
such a valuable skill.
After a long talk and some not so amused faces, I decided this list is truly
different. And here’s why:
1. No attempt will be made to explain any of the ten points, only to
teach participants how to think for themselves about these issues.
2. Not one of the points is based on rules (those guys hate rules), only
principles that participants can learn to apply to their own situations.
3. Participants will see the list at start the seminar, but it is they
who will explain the list to each other at the end of the seminar.
Is this article an advertorial for
Wizards of Web? Nope. It’s an
invitation to you, dear reader, to learn two incredibly powerful principles of
1. Lists get response
2. Curiosity is motivating
If you want to see the Wizards of Web’s “Top Ten Internet Marketing Myths”
click here to read them
Yeah, I’m gearing up for some grumpy mails about failing to deliver immediately
on the promise of this article’s title … but do keep those critical persuasion
principles in mind!
There is good news and bad news for you. The bad
news is that in this edition we were going to
promote our unique 3-day workshop
Wizards of Web but it sold out (oops, sorry
about that) without ever promoting it at all.
The good news is that we're going to be starting a
list of our readers who want to be notified of our
special events before they become public knowledge.
Here's a preview: we'll be offering the 2-day
of Conversion Rate Marketing" in July and
Wizard of Web workshop in August.
Let us know if you want to be included on that
CIO, Future Now, Inc.
P.S. Do you have questions you would like to see
Practice Pacing the Rhythm
Rhythm is an powerful element in your writing. And you can think of the
rhythm of your writing in (at least) two ways. It can be the technique of
matching the pace of your copy to the feelings and visuals you intend to create.
But you can also think of rhythm as a way to impart a “musicality” and
unpredictability. Consciously using rhythm techniques helps you generate sight,
feeling and, yes, even sound images for your reader.
Rhythm as Visual Mood
People internalize what they read as visual images - that’s one of the great
beauties of sitting down with a good book: it gives you the opportunity to
create mental worlds. And the pace of your writing reinforces the mood of its
visuals, in an almost movie-like way.
To inspire an excited, fast-moving feeling in your reader, punctuate
intentionally, and impart motion through the use of
and short, rolling words. If you want to convey a relaxed feeling, a sense of
rest or of moodiness, lengthen your sentences, use abundant punctuation and
appropriate descriptives, and pay very close attention to detail.
Your pulse races, hands clenching your ticket as she comes flying into
the homestretch. Whispering a prayer, you watch her cross the line. A photo
finish. Too close to call. Eternal silence. Bated breath. The announcement
crackles in your ear. She lost. By a nose.
How do you feel? Breathing just a bit shallower? This example is full of
short, incomplete sentences. Lots of periods that bring readers abruptly to the
close of a moment, yet leave them hanging, so they want to move on. Visually,
it’s choppy, a montage of images that gives you more information than actually
appears in the words themselves.
Now read this:
Your pulse races … your hand clenches your ticket … she comes flying into
the homestretch. You whisper a prayer … she crosses the line … a photo
finish … too close to call … eternal silence … bated breath. The
announcement crackles in your ear. She lost by a nose.
Pretty much the same short sentences, but a different scheme of punctuation.
Does that change the images the passage creates in your mind? Me, I visualize
this event in a softer focus. The montage isn’t as stop-and-go; instead it
almost flows with a strange quality of suspended motion that is at odds with the
obvious speed of what is happening.
You gotta use a technique like this sparingly - heaven forbid you should
create a whole Web page or email of it. It would quickly bore your readers by
becoming predictable and would lose its inherent power.
Now let’s set a different mood:
Your fingers finally uncramp and ease their vise grip on damp paper, a
palpable weight in your open palm, the embodiment of hope that has become
failed dream. You shred precisely, with contempt, then surrender the useless
burden, and the tatters flutter like betrayal to the stained concrete at
your feet, no longer distinguishable in their promise from crumpled candy
wrappers and empty plastic cups.
Now how do you feel? Can you see the palm opening in slow motion, ticket
fragments falling like decayed petals? Can you sense the despair?
Rhythm as Verbal Music
One definition of rhythm is: an alternating recurrence of similar elements.
Songs have rhythm; jokes have rhythm in their timing and delivery. Good
copywriting has rhythm that is revealed in the variation of sentence length -
and it is precisely this sort of rhythm that gives your reader a sense the copy
When you consistently write sentences that are all the same length, your
writing develops a plodding predictability. To avoid this, mix up your sentence
lengths: a short sentence, a long sentence, a long sentence, a medium sentence,
then another short sentence. This last sentence will carry some impact, because
the reader wasn't expecting it. Another short sentence might reinforce the
impact. Then a long one. Give your reader the experience of rhythm in variety.
Interestingly, there is a "rhythm in three." When you incorporate a series of
things into a sentence, three seems to be the magic number. It has a nice rhythm
- we hear it as complete and satisfying. "We leap into the boat, setup the sail
and venture out onto the sea."
plan your words
to create just the right pace, then give it a good beat.