July 14, 2008

MeritDirect Co-Op Wrap-Up

Few things I've done have generated as much interest and feedback as the talk on Non-Traditional Online Customer Acquisition at the MeritDirect Co-Op. Thanks to Ralph Drybrough for putting on a unique conference, a conference that is about delivering value for the attendee, not about creating value for the folks putting on the show.

Much of the chatter surrounds the story I told about selling our home in forty-eight hours. Here is a link to The Cascade Team, the real estate agency that uses online marketing, business intelligence, and a huge discount on fees to gobble up market share and move homes in a sluggish economy.

We spoke with the owner on Saturday. He simply cannot keep up with the need to hire new staffers. When new employees see how he uses data to make decisions, he tells me the employees are floored. You'll probably think that their website isn't beautiful, and that's fine. We spend too much time working on beautiful sites. They work on moving homes using business intelligence.

Many of you expressed interest in the concept of using copy as a customer acquisition tool. Few folks ever talk about copy as an important element of the conversion process. It is important!

If you don't use copy to increase conversion rates, you may as well use copy to gain intelligence.

For instance, take a look at the article from Friday. Look closely at the two links that I used to allow you to download the presentation.

Notice anything odd?

Each link points to the same presentation.

The link that says "if you weren't in attendance, download this version instead' has been clicked five times as often as the link for folks who attended the session. In other words, folks who did not attend the session want to learn what was presented.

Many online marketers thoroughly understand this stuff --- but for most of us who aren't thoroughly immersed in using copy as a conversion tool, we have opportunities.

Online copy marketing (here's a new acronym for you --- OCM) is different from blogging, different from SEO. Blogging is all about the writer, or all about the community --- no wonder it doesn't drive sales increases for most brands employing the strategy. SEO is often a niche led by technical experts and web analytics gurus, audiences that are critically important, but not audiences that capture the fancy of the "C-Suite" leader.

Online copy marketing is different. We identify the topics that drive audience engagement, then we modify our message to be even more relevant to the audience. The process takes A LONG TIME, no quick fixes here. The process allows us to acquire customers the old fashioned way, via a relevant relationship that benefits the customer.

We'll explore the topic in more detail in upcoming posts.

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