December 22, 2009

Stickiness or “Spikiness”? Rethinking Repeat Visitors

When I talk to clients, they want me to accomplish three things: get visitors to their website, get them to keep coming back, and make some money off of them. I’m starting to suspect that bringing users back is the source of the biggest mistakes I make in online marketing.

A “sticky” site is one that keeps users clicking, and convinces them to come back often. I used to try to build sticky sites. Now, I build “spiky” sites—sites that convert someone into a customer, get them signed up for email newsletters, or convince them to go away.

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December 15, 2009

Why I Stopped Throwing Out Junk Mail

Whenever I start to write something online, for myself or for a client, I have to answer one hard question: who cares?

Your company has been in business for thirty years—so what?

Your equipment is state-of-the-art—and your competitors won’t say the same about theirs?

Your copywriting wrings wallets dry and leaves empty pockets flapping in the breeze—poetry doesn’t sell well, and bad poetry sells even worse.

There’s lots of general advice on how to keep readers hooked—tell them a story they can relate to, offer them a benefit they can’t get anywhere else, establish a cadence—but that’s too vague.

I’d rather just copy people who can’t afford to be wrong.

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December 2, 2009

Being “Busy” Is a Lazy Way to be Productive

Fred Wilson loves meetings. Paul Graham hates meetings. They’re roughly in the same business (identifying promising companies, and helping them realize their promise), and I’ve never met someone who reads one or the other and not both.

So what’s the deal? Read the rest of this entry »