Net Words by Nick Usborne – A Book Review

Business online differs dramatically from business
offline in several key areas. The first and
most important is the difference between the
behavior of online buyers and their offline
counterparts. Offline buyers must first
be AWARE that the service or product they seek
is available near their location, then either
call a specific company they know and trust
or visit a particular dentist, accountant, hardware
store or auto parts retailer.

When an offline buyer decides to purchase
an item or a service, he first must decide where
to spend his money, what his budget will allow
him to purchase and when he will get in his
car and drive to whatever location is necessary
to complete his actions. Even if the product
or service he intends to buy comes to his home
in the case of tree trimming service or pool
man, he will decide who to contact based on

Advertising! In the phone book, promotional
flyers, newspaper classified ads, billboard
advertisements, word of mouth, television or
radio ads. This is why we are constantly bombarded
from every one of those sources by companies
that sell their products and services locally,
regionally and nationally with ADVERTISING.

This is also why advertising online has
failed so miserably and contributed to the bursting
of the high-tech bubble. We tried to apply that
offline advertising model to the online world
and it just doesn’t fit! How do people behave
when considering a purchase of products or services
online? Do they wander around to different web
sites to purposefully look at those annoying,
blinking flashing, beeping banner ads. NO!

They go to a search engine, type the
product or service into a search box and click
the “Search” button! They don’t look
for a billboard telling them where to go, they
don’t look for an exit sign, they don’t reach
for a phone book or ask their neighbor, THEY

They may change the words they type into that
search box, they may misspell the words they
use to search for your product or service, they
may use a brand name to search for a product,
they may specify the town they hope to visit
in that search query. They may research the
problem that they hope to solve with their purchase
before deciding where, when or from whom to
buy it. These are very important clues to determining
how to market your product or service online!

Nobody sits down in front of their computer
knowing the answers to all of their buying decisions!
They search, research, shop randomly, shop at
YAHOO! But in all of that bouncing around online,
they will, at some point use a search engine
or directory to find what they want to know,
then they will decide where to buy it,
whether that is done online or offline.

You are dealing with someone seeking information,
features, benefits, resources, solutions, pricing,
comparisons when seeking online buyers.
They are NOT looking for your business
name, your widget, your service
offering, nor will they necessarily purchase
online! They are seeking a solution to their
problem. Whether that is how to treat their
sensitive skin after a summer sunburn, or seeking
price comparisons on used cars, or real estate
values and finding local agents. Search and
research — That is online behavior.

The online buyer is seeking something that can
be found using WORDS, TEXT, DESCRIPTIONS and
INFORMATION! They don’t shop based on who has
the best Flash Movie, they aren’t searching
for nice photographs of your building, your
fancy equipment or technical illustrations of
your products. They will find YOUR SITE one
way and one way only if they haven’t
already bookmarked your front page. By USING

I’m about to offer the shortest and most concise
book review Ive ever written. “Net Words”
by Nick Usborne. A great case is made here for
the importance of text on the web and why it is
critical to make your NET WORDS more focused as
well as the need to speak with a unique “voice”
on the internet.

Corporate doublespeak won’t compel anyone to buy
from you. TEXT written in an engaging manner without
wasted words is what WORKS online. Buy “Net
Words” and read it if you hope to have even
the slightest chance of success on the web.

Usborne laments the lack of respect paid to words
in online copy and makes a solid case for hiring
professional copywriter for business web sites.
I think he missed though, in making a case as
strong as he could by failing to emphasize the
role of search engines in making text so critical
to all online business owners.

I suppose I knew when I decided to review the
book that Usborne would be “Preaching to
the choir” when telling me, a search engine
optimizer, about the importance of words on the
web. You may have noted that I agree heartily
with the idea of “Creating High-Impact Online
Copy” as the “Net Words” subtitle

Usborne provides examples of strong and effective
words as effective sales tools, as you might expect
from a copywriter. But I don’t think he makes
nearly enough of a case for words as he could
had he emphasized more on their role in attracting
traffic to your web site in the first place.

Net Words is a quick read making a very important
point that all online business can benefit from. I
believe I’ll approach Usborne to add a couple of
chapters from yours truly on how important those
words are to the search engines.

About the Author

Mike Banks Valentine Does Search Engine Positioning
For Small Business
Tutorials, Resources, Tools for Small Business Online

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