I Can't Believe You Said That! Dealing with ControversyWritten by Ron Sathoff
There's a very fine line that we all have to walk when we want to make an argument about a controversial subject: On one hand, you want to limit controversy as much as you can, because too much can lead to a lot of problems, ranging from flaring tempers to hurt feelings to broken noses! On other hand, controversial subjects are usually most significant and, many times, most useful to discuss.
Many people try to handle controversy by simply avoiding it. Unfortunately, this often leads to bland, wishy-washy arguments that really have nothing to say.
Other people face controversial subjects by bluntly stating their opinion, regardless of situation or reactions of audience. These people often call themselves "frank," "candid," "upfront" or "in-your-face" -- but, they are about as effective as people who have nothing to say.
Why? Because, for an argument or a persuasive message to work, there has to be COMMUNICATION. This means there has to be at least one person talking and one person listening. If a message is too blunt or controversial, then audience has a tendency to "tune out" what is said -- they are too angry, shocked, or outraged to continue paying attention to what you have to say. As soon as they stop listening, communication is over and your message has failed.
How do you prevent this from happening? Well, I have found that best way to present a controversial subject is to use a method called "proof-to-claim." To use this method, you hold controversial point of your message (your claim) for end of your argument, after you have had a chance to present all information (proof) that supports claim.
For instance, if you were telling your customers that you were going to have to raise your prices (a controversial subject to all of us who have to pinch pennies!), you would want to talk about increased service you will be providing, or increased costs you have been facing BEFORE you say that prices are rising. This allows you to communicate your reasons before your audience gets angry, and therefore, harder to reach. In fact, by holding off on controversial claim, your audience may even come to be more accepting of your message by time you actually have to say those dreaded words -- lessening negative effects to an acceptable level.
How To Get Great Buys On Banner Ads And Make Them Produce ResultsWritten by Kevin Nunley
Banner ads are down but not out. The billboard-like Internet ads that appear on web sites everywhere don't pull response they once did. Yet, today's much lower ad prices are giving many businesses an affordable and effective way to spread word online.
Back in 1994 when Web was new, as many as 40 percent of people who saw a banner ad clicked on it. As time passed and banners became commonplace, response rates dropped to 1 to 2 percent. Those figures are comparable to what other media--radio, TV, newspapers, and direct mail--can deliver.
Banner ad rates have dropped from $20 to reach 1,000 people a year ago to just five or six dollars today. Even though trendy luster of Web has passed, there are still millions of interested prospects to be found online. This could be best time ever for small and medium-sized businesses to stock up on banner ads.
The Internet ad industry isn't taking response rates lying down. Recently Internet Advertising Bureau approved standards for new, larger banners. The new "wide skyscraper" size has already appeared on top sites and is three times larger than what we are used to. Advertisers hope larger size will get reader attention, converting more sales.
Experts warn not to get caught up in flash of new banner technology. The quality of your offer and clarity of your message are still main factors in getting results. Here are five ways to make sure you banner gets attention and pulls response:
* Your banner should ask reader to take action. Something as simple as putting "Click Now!" on your banner can increase response.
* Use words that attract interest and create emotion. Free and Special Offer are favorites. I like to start each line with an action word. Buy, Save, Profit, and Rush work well.
* Push main benefit your product or service provides. Most advertisers forget this point and promote their product's features. Show readers how a feature leads to something that benefits their situation. The chrome fender on Gizmo 2000 saves time and reduces costs.
Animated banners pull better response than static ads. Sites and banner networks usually have guidelines that help keep your animated banners from becoming a turnoff. Keep your ad size under 12k. Anything larger takes forever to load for anyone using a slow dial-up line as almost 80 percent of North Americans do.