Internet Creative: Think Old, Not New
In this newest medium, the tested, proven rules applyVol. 6, Issue No. 22 | November 16, 2010 By Denny Hatch
IN THE NEWSFrom: Mark G.
Subject: The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting
Date: Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010, 9:52 PM
I ordered “The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting” on Amazon and received it today and read it today.
I am thoroughly disappointed in this book. All of the examples of copy seem from another era and none of them gave me a clue about how to write for the Internet.
Therefore, I want to immediately return this book for a refund.
Please advise how to do this ...
We sold somewhere around 300 copies of my new book so far, “The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting.”
See “IN THE NEWS” at right. Mark G. was one of very few (if not the only) dissatisfied customer to demand an immediate refund. The key paragraph in Mark G.’s brief e-mail:
All of the examples of copy seem from another era and none of them gave me a clue about how to write for the Internet.
The lede of my e-mail reply to Mark G.—before getting into the nitty-gritty of his return and refund:
Sorry you feel that way. Sorrier still for your clients or employers.
Mark G.’s concept of the Internet was prevalent in those thrilling days of yesteryear—the late 1990s
"This is a new medium and a new paradigm,” the hot-shot 20-somethings told us marketing geezers back then. “We don’t need to know your old marketing rules. We make the rules now, so take a hike.”
That ignorance-is-bliss philosophy resulted in $3 trillion disappearing down the sewer in the dot-com bust, and legions of those smug, self-important kiddies wound up moving in with their parents and going back to school.
Fact: The only way to write for the Internet—or any other medium—is to study what has been tested―and proven successful―in other media from another era.
What worked then works now.
For example, what follows are two identical marketing case histories—800 years apart.
Chartres Cathedral, France, 1194 A.D.
As regular readers may recall, direct marketing was launched June 15, 1194 A.D., the week lightning kindled a huge fire that destroyed Chartres Cathedral. All that remained intact were the façade, west towers and the crypt. Bishop Regnault de Mouçon immediately started writing fundraising letters to rebuild it.
The rich noble families of France and England responded with cash and gifts, as did the many guilds, the equivalent of unions back then—shoemakers, wheelwrights, bankers, vintners, coopers, furriers, bankers, etc.
As an eternal “thank you,” the donors' portraits and coats of arms were included in the stained glass windows, where you can see them today. (Click on two of the Chartres windows in the mediaplayer at right.)
Takeaways to Consider
- The only way to write for the Internet—or any other medium—is to study what was tested—and proven successful—in other media from another era.
- What worked then works now.
- Direct mail and space advertising are very expensive. Highly disciplined and costly testing is mandatory. Short cuts and casual attention to results are punishable by red ink—lots of it—and layoffs.
- On the Internet—where it costs virtually nothing to advertise—there is no need for arithmetic, no allowable cost per order. The only ones punished are you and I, our in-boxes groaning with illiterate, irrelevant, self-indulgent, untested crap.
- "You cannot bore people into buying. The average family is now exposed to more than 1,500 advertisements a day. No wonder they have acquired a talent for skipping the advertisements in newspapers and magazines, and going to the bathroom during television commercials."
- “All direct mail is opened over the wastebasket.”
- The emotional hot buttons work in all media: fear – greed – guilt – anger – exclusivity – salvation – flattery. “If your copy isn’t positively dripping with one or more of these,” said Seattle guru Bob Hacker, “tear it up and start over.”
- The new and inviolable rule for Web writing: “You are a mouse click away from oblivion.”
- “Times change. People don’t.”
Websites Related to Today's EditionChartres Cathedral Stained Glass
Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy and Schuller family squabble
WHO’S MAILING WHAT! Archive of Competitive Intelligence
The 100 Greatest Advertisements: Who Wrote Them and What They Did by Julian Lewis Watkins
30 latest print ads – Clever and Creative!!
40+ Smart and Creative Print Advertisements for Inspiration
50 Beautiful Print Advertisements for Inspiration
“The Secrets of Emotional, Hot-Button Copywrting”
“All About Email Creative”
Email Campaign Archive