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Persuasive Online Copywriting: How to Take Your Words to the Bank Paperback – Oct 30 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Wizard Academy Press (Oct. 30 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971476993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971476998
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #802,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I bought this book to try and gain more of an understanding on copywriting for the net. My honest opinion is that unless you have a background in professional writing or copywriting, this book won't be much of a help. The book makes references to things like Fraking, Poetic Meter, etc and then gives you a very short paragraph description on what they mean that doesn't give you an understanding of the term, but rather a definition. I was for lack of a better term, lost by the time I was 60 pages in.
Maybe if you do have a background in copywriting, this book will be quite useful in helping you understand how to adapt regular copywriting to the web. But, if not, you won't get much of an "education" but rather a "how to adapt" approach that isn't very useful to someone who hasn't had a some form of formal education on the topic. I did give this book two stars because there was a "nugget" here or there that anyone could have gleaned, but overall I was disappointed by the book.
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Format: Paperback
Are you like me in buying every self-help or non-fiction book to bring in more business? One problem. When do we have the time to read them? This book simply won't let that happen with its short chapters, personable style, and valuable information on how to keep visitors clicking until they make the buy.
This book is the how. How to take all the theories and whys discussed by other authors and make it happen. I have trouble with theories because they don't help me visualize the application of such theories. This book stays away from whys and shows you how.
When I started reading the book, several big projects got thrown my way leading to late night reading being replaced by late night working. Every now and then, I took a break and breezed through this book reading many pages in a brief time while gaining new knowledge and a refresher in creative writing as it applies to online copy.
Non-fiction is my thing when it comes to writing. Over time, I have forgotten creative techniques for adding spice to copy. The authors jolted memories of high school English classes where we learned about the different poetic styles (iambic pentameter, alliteration, meter, etc) and to avoid using passive verbs. Not only that, but also they cover how to write for different personalities.
Already getting high traffic to your site? That means you know how to draw attention and interest. But, how are you doing in building desire so that they take action? Hmm... could that be the challenge? The authors drive toward long-term results by engaging your visitors and leading the way for them to get what they need and be satisfied with it.
I'm familiar with a few techniques discussed in the book, but many may not be. It depends on what you do with regard to the Web site.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
165 of 177 people found the following review helpful
Helpful --- But Don't Expect Results. Dec 7 2002
By Susanna Hutcheson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written book and it is one that I recommend to folks who want the basics of writing for the web. Writing Web site copy is hard work and anything that gives you any help at all is welcome.
But I noticed that some of the people mentioned in the book as being helped by the authors or being in some way associated with the authors had sites that didn't apply the rules and tips and teachings that are offered in this book. Yet they have reviews here and in the book. Or some do.
I also ran the "we we test" on their sites that is on the author's site and all scored very low. So it appears that the authors were able to get some good recommendations and reviews but not necessarily by people who adhere to their philosophy.
Having said that, I think this is well worth the read. Don't expect the conversions that the authors seem to think their suggestions will provide. Unfortunately, conversions are much more difficult to get than by applying the advice in this book.
I also found it amusing that the author adheres to the concept of using lots of hyperlinks in the main part of your site (the center) and in his book, Net Words by Nick Usborne, Nice says that's not a good idea at all; that it causes you to lose people. Why is this amusing? Nick works with Future Now as a strategic partner. (Future Now is the site associated with the author of this book.) Future Now does, at least, follow it's own rules. It has lots of hyperlinks on it's page. It has useful tools and a high ranking in the search engines.
So I'm not sure how much stock you can put in either theory or in either book.
The information in the book will, however, be very helpful to those who are writing copy for their own sites or that of others. I just don't think you should believe everything you will read in the book as it all simply doesn't work. Some of it does and for that information, the book is useful.
When copywriters, or for that matter anyone in business, writes a book, it is with the intention of building their credibility and getting more business. And that's fine. But the advice they give sometimes has to be taken with a grain of salt. And the people who recommend the book on the back cover are often folks who write books for the same reason. So you might say they're doing each other a favor.
The proof is in whether or not what you read in a book works. I tested the advice in this book and find it lacking. But I'm in need of more in-depth and realistic offerings. To someone who simply wants help writing their Web site, this is an excellent book. Just don't expect the results that the book, reviewers and those who recommend it seem to think you'll get.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Small In Size, But Big In Content... April 18 2005
By Eric Graham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The short, focused chapters make for a quick and easy read.

Having read just about every book written so far on the subject online copywriting, I must say, that while "Persuasive Online Copywriting" is not the longest book on the subject, but it may be the most useful.

One topic in particular that Bryan and Jeffrey address that I have not seen covered in other books is the concept of writing for specific personalities and visitor types.

This is an area in which I have conducted extensive split-testing, and when done properly, tailoring your copy and navigational paths to specific visitor personas, can greatly improve your conversion rates.

Another reviewer of this book mentioned that it was a bit too in depth for someone with no background in copywriting and that she became lost with subjects such as "Franking" and "Poetic Meter". This may be a valid concern for some readers.

It is my understanding that Bryan and Jeff are students of Roy Williams, author of the "Wizard of Ads" line of books. They even teach a workshop for Roy's students called "Wizards of Web". For those who find some of the concepts mentioned in this book difficult to understand, I recommend first reading a couple of Roy's books. They will give you a good foundation to transition into a deeper understanding of "Persuasive Online Copywriting".

While the copywriting portion of the book is great, I feel that the most important area is the last section of the book, "Understanding Online Conversion". Effective and persuasive copywriting is only one segment of improving your website's conversion rates. And this section of the book gives a good foundation and overview of the overall conversion process.

In my opinion "Persuasive Online Copywriting" should be on the bookshelf of every serious online copywriter, business owner and marketer.
57 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Will Open (and Blow) Your Mind - A Must Read Jan. 29 2003
By Ed Osworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This gem of a book offers the most comprehensive (and immediately useable) information on "how to make your website profitable" in the fewest amount of pages that I have yet seen.
As a bonus, it is priced a fraction of most of the available information on this subject. I've paid hundreds of dollars for information that was not nearly as useable as this. (OK I admit I'm a marketing information junkie)
I have purchased dozens of products (printed and ebooks) within the last year alone on this subject. Most of the others talk about search engine tricks, pop-ups, hard sell copy, and basically manipulating your site visitor into doing what you want.
Manipulation may work a little in the short run, but is self defeating in the long run.
This book is much smarter than that. It is in a whole different league.
This book teaches what is really important to long term profits. That is, engaging your visitors and making sure your site is offering them exactly what THEY want.
It shows you how to write extremely effective copy. It also tells you how to discover exactly what your customers are asking you to provide them by watching your stats and web logs.
The basic premise of this book is that without a high conversion ratio, there is no point in buying more traffic. It is much more cost effective to use the techniques contained in this book to increase your conversions than to chase traffic. That comes later. They make a valid point that most folks are doing this backwards.
This book is about way more than just copywriting, by the way. It does an excellent job of enlightening you to many useability factors that may be hurting your sales.
I can't imagine anyone who manages a website and uses even a small percentage of the wisdom contained within not getting a hundred times their investment back.
In conclusion, just buy it and read it. You can not go wrong with this book.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HOW TO WRITE WEB COPY THAT MOVES READERS TO ACTION Aug. 31 2005
By Heather Ivester - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book has already gotten rave reviews, but I'll add in my two-cents worth. It's been years since I've had a formal course in marketing, and even then, I wouldn't have learned about persuasive writing for the web. So this book was great for me, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is developing a personal or business website.

The whole book is a series of two- to three-page articles that can be read systematically. The authors are witty and passionate about teaching you how to write copy that converts visitors toward an action.

What's the single most important factor in getting your prospects to convert? Be relevant. "Relevance is a measure of how closely search results match the search request." If you follow the techniques the authors describe, your words won't waste the readers' time and will have impact.

The chapter, "Writing in Review" is a super-condensed Strunk and White's for the corporate writer. It covers all the basics. The authors conclude, "Stellar writing begs to be read. There is an urgency to the writing that keeps the reader going, even when that reader might be pressed for time."

Who isn't pressed for time? People on the internet are in a hurry. They need to find out a piece of information quickly. If your site is too flashy, slow to download, or your words don't make any sense, you'll lose their interest. They can go someplace else. This is what you DON'T want to happen.

The authors include great examples of site makeovers, showing you what works and what doesn't. For me, it was a great introduction to Nick Usborne, and I've gone on to read his book, NET WORDS. They also pointed me toward Ogilvy, another master of advertising.

I especially enjoyed the chapter on using poetic techniques to improve copy. "You won't snag or woo your customers with drabness; you'll woo them with skillful wordsmithing that penetrates their souls..." What follows includes techniques such as frosting, franking, seussing, and frameline magnetism; also, how to develop pace, rhythm, and poetic meter.

It's a short read, but full of insight. For anyone who ever wondered how business communication could be seen as a satisfying creative outlet, look no further than this book. (As you sing and dance your way merrily to the bank.)

--Reviewed by Heather Lynn Ivester
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Must Have! Oct. 22 2002
By Ethan E. Giffin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a must have for any web site manager, content coordinator, or copy writer. It contains a proven methodology with solid examples on how the most important part of any web site are its copy and content(which by the way are two seperate things...)
It also pushes you to realize that "conversion is king!" in the online world. The second half of the book features web site "conversion" principles that you will find no where else other than the author's twice monthly newsleter, The Grokdotcom.
After years of building sites with form, but no function it is great to finally see someone address this issue. I don't know anyone else who takes it to this level. Perfect for both the seasoned web professional and beginner alike - A very easy read!


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