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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Some simple reasons why the internet is still a land of opportunity - with a lesson in copywriting basics

A few months ago I was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in Florida.

This gave me childish pleasure. I cannot say doing well in marketing is an astounding achievement, but managing to keep at it for so many years is, believe me. Can you imagine how many unspeakably dull meetings my buttocks have suffered through?

Anyhow, by the time I was handed the prize I was feeling somewhat "elevated" as they used to say in the 18th century, so although my speech was admirably short I did not say what I meant to.

This was that it is not my abilities that have got me by for so long. It is other people's sloth. So I meant to toast and thank all the people too damned idle to study, thus making old fogies like me look good.

Can you believe that in any other field of any importance people are so unprofessional? Though now that I think of it, there are two. One is financial services and the other is politics. The overwhelming majority of independent financial advisers are utterly unqualified, and as far as I can see there are no requirements for success in high office beyond reptilian cunning and the ability to lie with a straight face.

Our former Prime Minister Gordon Bloated McToad Brown exemplified both, being Chancellor of the Exchequer for longer than anyone I can remember despite having no qualifications in finance at all. We will all be paying for that for years.

But within marketing nowhere is this disinclination to learn more apparent than on the internet, a chief reason why so many rogues thrive there, and why there are still so many opportunities left.

Take, for instance, this subject line: Internet and Social Media Workshop for Online Customer Service, Fund Raising and Communication - Workshops in Exeter and London.

That is not persuasion. It is a statement, rather as if Heinz were to run ads with the heading Baked Beans in the local supermarket.

If baked beans had never been seen before in a supermarket, that might work, just as the Workshop may attract attendees because the subjects are of some interest. It's unlikely to, though, as it makes the kindergarten error of trying to cover too many things at once.

In the same way, many internet marketers are doing well with poor copy because they have huge lists. But it will not last.

It makes me happy and it is good that, in the end, those who study most do best, and those who don't are punished.

On the matter of copy, have a look at this. There are rare exceptions to what you will hear , but very, very few.

Sorry if I seem to be trying to sell you something. But it will be VERY GOOD FOR YOU.

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