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Monday, 7 September 2009

Why didn't you get rich quick - or even slow? Uncle Dray's Agony column

Over the weekend Daniel Eigenmann of Perth, Western Australia sent me a couple of questions - and some of you might be interested in my answers.

He asked my views on websites designed like long sales letters (without any navigation options). They seem to be adopting all the characteristics (and proven principles) of traditional (read snail-mail) direct (response) marketing.

Does the traditional sales letter format translate to the Internet and what do you make of these sales letters promising ‘untold riches overnight without doing anything’?

I have never forgotten that McGraw-Hill research years ago found that in business magazines ads over 1,000 words long had an average of 25% higher readership; and Gallup found that the most successful ads repeat the proposition three times.

I replied to Dan as follows - and the first point is by far the most important:

1. The principles of persuasion do not change with the media.

2. As a rule good long copy will always beat good short copy – because it:

a. Gives more reasons to act

b. Overcomes more objections

c. Repeats the proposition

The only case where this principle does not apply is when you are trying a different proposition, format or incentive.

I suspect the reference to long websites without navigation options is actually referring to landing pages.

The school of opinion on this seems to be, don’t send people off that page – you will lose them.

I talked to two of my partners about this. They disagreed with each other. So I arrived as usual at the golden rule: test and see.

I would test opportunities to navigate, but only to pages that asked for the order.

When it comes to those countless people who promise get rich quick in 20 minutes – it’s easier than falling off a log… if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

On the other hand:

1. The techniques these people use are well worth learning from.

2. If you do everything they say, you will undoubtedly do better.

3. But they over-promise – because it works.

Why is this? Because human beings believe what they want to believe.

Why do most people not succeed in getting rich that easily?

Chiefly because the over-promises make them think it’s easier than it is, so they don’t put in the effort.

Over the years, being as lazy as the next man, I have tried every conceivable way of making money without working. Never succeeded.


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