Tuesday, November 13, 2007

UI12 Day 2: The Secrets of Killer Web Content by Gerry McGovern

I've read many of Gerry McGovern's email newsletters. I've enjoyed them. When I read through them, I hear him in my head in a voice, kind of like, um, me. When I saw him speak and out burst forth with a terrific Irish brogue I was a bit startled. Where was the voice in my head? Funny how we ground ourselves with what we know. Now I read his newsletters with his voice properly in place. On to the seminar...

Old Marketing Was For Suckers
There were a few points that he made that I wanted to blog about. The first is the concept of new marketing vs. old marketing. Old marketing philosophy was to treat people like "suckers." New marketing should rail against this. Avoid using the "smiling," gratuitous marketing image of a customer smiling profusely. People know it's bullshit. Trust your customers. Get to know the language they use and how they search for things via tools like Google Trends. Subtle things like the use of singular or plural matters. A key difference between old style of marketing and new is the ability to know what a customer is viewing and what actions they take after doing so. There is data to support design decisions. I agree with all of the above, but the trouble is that we still live in a world where a lot of old marketeers still command from positions of power. How do we coexist? Maybe we don't.

Avoid "Waffling"
Don't waffle with your content. It usually just pushes the important action points off the page. "Welcome" language is particularly wasteful. The web is not about shaking hands. Press releases were another example of wasteful content. "Put-em-uppers" post them because it is easy, not good content. They are only good for journalists to find negative things about your company. Get to the point, and the more specific the better. He compared online users to Lions. Don't disrupt their flow. They will not put in the extra effort to find the value of your website. Offer it to them or lose them.

A Link is a Promise
"A link is a promise to your customer" was a great point. He gave many examples of how links say one thing and usually don't mean it. Be precise and deliver what the link says. "Try a demo" should not take 4 subsequent links to actually download a demo. Managing the journey of the customer is a vital role, but typically there is no one to fill these shoes.

This seminar was one that didn't force you to radically shift you way of working as the previous day's seminar did. There were a lot of quick tips you can put right in your arsenal and start using immediately. Nice balance to Constantine.

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