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Welcome to another weekly digest of material from my website grahamjones.co.uk. Enjoy. people who spread the rumours on Twitter, further damaging his reputation. If you were down the pub with your mates and you heard a story on the TV news which did not reveal the identity of an individual you and your friends may well speculate. That happened too, no doubt, with the BBC Newsnight story. But the conversations were private, between a bunch of friends. Unless those conversations were recorded the lawyers would have a tough time taking action even though slander may well have technically occurred. And those mates down the pub may well be aware that their private speculation was inappropriate to put in writing or to spread further than their close bunch of friends. Most people realise that rumour and fact are different things. Therein lies the problem with Twitter, though. It makes us think we are just down the pub with our mates. The visual cues of pictures of all your friends suggests you are just talking to them alone. The fact that the Tweets are short and snappy make us feel also we are in conversation mode. These two factors falsely suggest to our brains that we are in chat mode with mates, rather than in broadcast mode. The mistake that Alan Davies could have made is the kind of thing many people may well have done. We re-tweet things just as easily as we say “Oh yeah, good point” when we are down the pub. The problem is, down the pub we are unlikely to get into any kind of legal hot water, even if we have broken the law. But the extreme public nature of Twitter means our law-breaking is obvious. If you want to avoid being sued, you have to stop thinking that Twitter is a social medium. It is not – it is a broadcast medium. And that means you have to think like a broadcaster and take into account the laws of libel at the very least. Related posts 1. The digital you – identity in the social age 2. Twitter and Facebook face trouble as they focus on money instead of users 3. Choose your social networking friends with care
If you think Twitter is social, think again
Twitter users love to think that the online chat service is a social medium. It isn’t. If it were, Lord McAlpine’s lawyer’s would not be threatening to sue the comedian Alan Davies for re-tweeting a short message which led to a link on which Lord McAlpine’s name was included. In case you have missed the brouhaha, Lord McAlpine was the victim in a case of mistaken identity over an alleged incident of sexual abuse. In a BBC Newsnight story a former resident of a North Wales children’s home alleged he was abused by a “leading member” of the Thacther government. The BBC did not name the individual, but before long Twitter and the rest of the social web was awash with rumours as to who it might be. After a week, The Guardian named Lord McAlpine as the victim of mistaken identity. Soon after The Guardian ran its article, Lord McAlpine issued a statement pointing out his innocence and did a lengthy interview with BBC Radio Four. The legal action was already underway when Lord McAlpine conducted the interview and resulted in the BBC agreeing to pay Lord McAlpine £185,000 in damages plus all his legal costs. But the lawyers acting for Lord McAlpine also want to sue the
Could plain text emails make a comeback?
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Guarantees and money-back offers: it’s all in the numbers
Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/grahamjones/~3/Wg-HtKTFzTs/ guarantees-and-money-back-offers-its-all-in-the-numbers.html
Users of iPads and other tablet devices will tell you how wonderful it is to be able to view web pages and graphical emails in the palm of their hand. They’ll also wax lyrical about the value of a 10-inch screen and how brilliant that is for checking emails compared with the tiny little screens on the iPhone. Maybe. More email is now opened on a mobile device than on a desktop. The average desktop computer uses a 19-inch screen nowadays, but the average mobile screen is still only three or four inches. In spite of the popularity of iPads and similar devices the bulk of email opening is on phones. This means that if your email marketing is based on a graphical template there is a chance that the bulk of your recipients will not be able to view it effectively. And there are two other factors combining now to make graphically-based emails more of a problem. As more and more people use mobile devices the telephone companies have started to restrict new contracts with much more limited and less generous data allowances. Gone are the “unlimited” data arrangements for most people; nowadays data is increasingly costly. And that means users – such as your email recipients – will be more wary about downloading complete emails, especially if they are graphical ones as they will eat into their more restricted data allowances. On top of this, there’s another issue people are muttering about. The graphical email SEEMS less personal. If you are using a fancy template it is clearly not something you are going to produce on a one-to-one basis. Open rates for email marketing hover around an average of 20% – eight out of ten people ignore them. One of the reasons is that they know they are marketing emails because they are not personalised as much as they might be and part of the influence of this apparent lack of personalisation is the use of graphical email templates. So three things are colliding – the increased use of small screens, lower data allowances for mobiles and the heightened awareness that graphical probably means non-personal. There can only be one result of this combination – an increase in the desire for textonly emails. And if that happens all the people who have moved towards iPads so they can read those graphical emails more comfortably may well have wasted their cash…! Related posts 1. Mobile web could be a cognitive problem
Money-back guarantees exist widely online. Almost every sales website you look at has some kind of “badge” showing you that if you are not satisfied you can get your money-back, no questions asked. Indeed, under current legislation in the UK, for instance, you are required to offer either a 7-day money-back guarantee or three-months plus seven days, depending on specific circumstances. Similar laws exist in many countries around the world, so it is no surprise that you see these badges showing “30days guarantee” for example. But is a “1–month” guarantee any better than a “30-day” one? Or is a “365-day money back” offer better than a “1-year” money back offer? We can use different numbers to signal the same things,; so which kind of numbers should we use to help increase the likelihood of sales in the first place? Consumer research has looked into this and the results might surprise you. When people were offered mobile phones with a 731-day guarantee they were less impressed than when the same phones were offered for sale with a 2-year guarantee, even though these are the same thing. Two things are apparent from this research. Firstly, people need to have guarantees and money-back offers expressed in numbers they are used to. Few mobile phones are offered with a 365-day guarantee, for instance, but many are sold with a 1-year guarantee. Secondly, the research shows that people prefer small numbers when being given guarantees. Online this means that a “3-month” guarantee is much more likely to attract buyers than a “90-day” one. You will find many internet marketers arguing that the bigger the number, the better. Their view is that big numbers impress and that people are bound to buy if they think they can use your product for 90 days before deciding whether or not to keep it. However, the research data are not on the side of people who argue this case. The research points towards smaller numbers being more preferable than bigger ones. That means having a “1 month” guarantee instead of a 30-day one, or a “1 week” money back offer instead of a seven day one. Whatever the length of the guarantee you are offering you are going to get more sales if you choose the lowest number AND if that number is what people are used to. People are much more used to a 1-year guarantee than a 365-day one, which is handy because the 1-year is the smaller numebr! Related posts 1. Vodafone UK measures the nation’s mobile manners
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Perfect grammar can lose you sales online
Sitting at your computer is not good for your brain
British MPs yesterday were quizzing business leaders during a session of the Public Accounts Committee where the the Chief Finance Officer of Starbucks, Troy Alstead, was denying that the company was involved in tax avoidance. Now, you may think that the tax affairs of Starbucks, Amazon and Google in the UK are acceptable or otherwise, but what psychological research suggests is that the first sentence of this blog post is more likely to have made you feel negative than if I had said: “British MPs yesterday quizzed business leaders where Troy Alstead from Starbucks denied that the company was involved in tax avoidance”. The first sentence of this blog post uses the “imperfect” grammatical form, whereas the alternative sentence uses the “perfect” form. New research from the University of Alabama shows that the grammatical form of sentences affects our emotional response. When the item is likely to make us feel negative – as in the case of big business taxes – the imperfect form allows that negative feeling to carry on, helping us continue to feel bad about the situation. But the perfect tense isolates the negative thing into the past, making us fell less negative about it. The researchers found the opposite response when it came to positive things. If you want people to continue to feel positive about something then using the imperfect grammar allows people to continue to feel positive, whereas the perfect form shuts the positive thing away in the past, making your readers feel less positive than they otherwise might. When it comes to selling things online this can help you write the best sales copy. To accentuate the positive aspects of your products or services make sure you use the imperfect grammatical form and if there is anything negative or something which could induce a negative feeling, then use the perfect form. Here’s an example: Delegates at my workshops were telling me recently that they are continuing to benefit from what they had been learning. The two-day event excelled, in their view. In this example, the positive of the continued benefit of the learning experience is accentuated by the imperfect tense, where as the negative of having to be away form the office for two days in the perfect tense is made less negative than it might otherwise be. The careful use of the imperfect and perfect grammatical form in your sales copy could help influence the number of buyers you will be getting. Related posts 1. Write right to create positive emotions
At any one moment in time these days around 1 billion people are sitting in front of their computers doing stuff online. Indeed, right at this moment you are one of that number as you sit in front of your screen and read this. Before the Internet came along, of course, you didn’t do this. Can you actually remember what you did with all those hours which you now spend sitting in front of a computer screen? The chances are for much of the time you were with other people. Nowadays when we are in offices with other people we are often actually working in isolation; we share the same physical space, but our “world” is the one we inhabit through the computer screen, often oblivious to what is going on around us. There has been much debate as to whether or not this is “good” for us. Now, some new research into specific brain structures suggests that the social isolation which the Internet forces upon us could actually be making us less able to think well. The study looked at the production of myelin, an insulating covering for brain cells; it is what gives us the “white matter” in our brains. And it is important stuff – it ensures the proper conduction of signals in our nervous system. When people lose white matter they can end up with a variety of problems such as blurred vision, speech impairment and memory loss. What this new research found was that when we are socially isolated we tend to make less white matter in the areas of our brain that are responsible for thinking and emotions. It seems that social activity is fundamental to allowing our brains to produce the right anatomy to make us think better. Admittedly, the research was conducted in mice, but it does suggest that social activity and brain structure are linked. Indeed, this has been found in previous studies which showed that the degree of grey matter in the brain is linked to our levels of altruism and caring for others. Now, don’t get too hung up on worrying about the structure of your brain. Instead, think about the practical implications. If you want your business to succeed online you need to ensure you think well and that you are capable of emotionally connecting with your
customer base. This research implies that this is much more likely to happen if you spend more time out of the office socialising with people and less time in front of your computer. It is very tempting in the online business world to sit in front of your screen doing more “work” and believing that what you are doing is helpful to your business. However, this research suggests that you could actually boost your business by taking time off from your computer and going out into the “real world”. Related posts 1. The Internet is making us all much nicer 2. Improve your brain by meeting Facebook friends 3. Proof: Internet Addiction DOES exist
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