February 16, 2011

A Clever Adwords Hack: How to Get Your Advertorial on MarketWatch.com

Good PR is priceless. But if you’re willing to skirt some ethical boundaries, you can get it for a couple hundred dollars, plus $1.89 per click. Read the rest of this entry »

January 28, 2010

Storefront | Storefront: 53 Online and In-Person Storefronts, Compared

Whose physical storefront uses the same ugly typography as their website?

Which fashion retailer splits their audience, giving a great deal to Internet shoppers and a brutal one to people who buy in-person?

And whose website is “like stumbling onto a can of Yoohoo after walking through a chocolate desert?”

You’ve probably never wondered, but you might be curious about which of your favorite stores have killer websites and hideous storefronts, or great-looking retail outlets paired with an unusable online presence.

A few of my coworkers have put together an amazing collection of side-by-side images of sites and stores—from companies like J. Crew, Dolce & Gabbana, Apple, and more—to show off who gets it and who just doesn’t. Check out 53 New York City Storefronts VS. Their Websites for many more.

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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October 2, 2009

Delete Your Facebook Fanpage—Now

I’m tired of people who pitch social media marketing as a way to make sales. Either they aren’t measuring the results they get for clients, or they don’t care. Every good case study is either about how someone used a famous friend’s endorsement to make new sales, or how they made a tiny number of low-profit transactions they probably would have made anyway.

I hate pitching social media marketing—but I still do it, because it does serve a purpose. But the most important part of the pitch is the warning: if you follow the convention wisdom, your social media presence is almost certainly costing you sales.

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September 22, 2009

Paul Arden’s Surprisingly Thoughtful Motivational Tract

It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be is another title that most people would naturally tune out (especially if they’d actually enjoy the book).

Arden’s book is short and tightly edited. The features big text, lots of whitespace, sudden pictures, emphatic headlines—it’s like a really, really good Tumblr.

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September 17, 2009

Reddit.com is the Future of News (And Not for the Reasons You’d Think!)

A week ago, I wrote an article about a fairly low-level SEO technique. As an experiment, I posted it to the SEO section of reddit.com. I was startled by what I learned. Even though I’ve been using reddit since a few months after it started, I didn’t realize until now why the site is like no other—how it encourages the best behavior from people who do their marketing through the site, and how it represents the real future of news.

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September 6, 2009

Claude Hopkins Would Have Loved Bittorrent

There are many second-best books about advertising. Ogilvy on Advertising will tell you all about how Ogilvy would have sold it; The Book of Gossage can tell you how Gossage would have scolded you for selling too hard; but only Scientific Advertising tells you how to think about advertising.

Even if you don’t sell things for a living, being a good judge of advertising is a pretty useful talent. With that in mind, I’ve reread Hopkins’ book every year or two, just to stay sharp. And this year, I noticed something startling: Hopkins, writing in 1923, would have loved software piracy. Read the rest of this entry »

September 4, 2009

In Defense of the WWF 9/11 Ads: Good Ad, Wrong Client

This is terribly offensive, unless you happen to think it’s true. If it is true, the only offensive bit is that anyone would think that Tsunami deaths are okay. The problem isn’t the content of the ad: the problem is who paid for it. Read the rest of this entry »

September 3, 2009

Why Car Ads Waste So Much Money

Why do car company accounts make people so stupid? Where the Suckers Moon made me wonder. Everyone invoked knew how to make ads, sell cars, or both. And yet Wieden Kennedy made ads that sold no cars, and Subaru paid them well to do it.

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