Monday, May 28, 2007

Myth Busting

“Everything popular is wrong.” - Oscar Wilde
So what did I talk about during my visit to Normandy?

The title of the presentation was "Direct Mail on the Web: Test your hunches via The Court of Last Resort."

Sounds sexy, eh?

OK so it's not... but it's profitable. You loyal CVoD readers have heard it all before. Well most of it at least. It's all about testing... the art of it and the need for it.

So at an old French chateau in the small town of Courtomer, I started with the premise that we should not believe any of the so-called myths of the Internet, such as, only short copy (bullet points) works on the web because the readers are so vastly different.

The myth says that online readers are not at all like other mediums... these readers are surfers and have short attention spans.


Ummm... no.

The millions in revenue I've help produce online with long direct mail copy would say otherwise. The fact is readers are different (and the same) everywhere and in every medium. You won't find people who just skim on the Internet - you'll find them everywhere.

A research study done by the Poynter Institute shows on average, online readers actually READ 77% of they say they’re going to read. Compared to Tabloid readers read 57%… and Newspaper readers read 62%. The study found that nearly two-thirds of online readers, once they chose a particular item to read, READ ALL OF THE TEXT.

This is why long copy works online and offline. Remember... it's not the size that matters... it's what you can do with it. With the words, i.e., good copy works regardless of medium.

But just because long copy works for you don't think then that all your file is long copy readers. It's never all or nothing, and the fact is we really don't know. But here is what we do know...

We know there are two types of readers everywhere...

1. Methodical readers: They read from top to bottom without much scanning...
and often re-read material.

2. Scanning readers: Scan pages, read headlines and other display elements FIRST without reading text, they read part of a story, then jump to photos, graphics or other call out items.

BOTH of these types are in your files. As such you must make sure your message appeals to both. In other words, use sub-heads and other visual elements for the scanners, and also make sure your copy is “meaty” for the methodical readers. You can play to both on your web site simply by offering multiple offers in different forms.

It's all about testing. Testing copy, copy formats, offer copy - everything you can think of. This must be done regardless of the "type" of readers. The good marketer will test their copy and find out what works best, when and where, and thus, they'll get the best conversion for their file.

More on testing, including 10 tips for online testing later this week...