A million years ago, I learned how to write direct response marketing copy, what we used to call mail-order ads. The beautiful think about direct response marketing is that the market told you how you were doing - you either got lots of responses to your offer or you didn't. Every variable of an ad was tested, from the typefaces used to the headline, from the tiniest nuances of copy to the impact of the size of the ad.
Test results were an open secret: you learned what ads worked because they were the ones that ran most often, sometimes for years.
At heart, the web is direct response marketing. In fact, it may be the most brutal of direct response arenas.
Back then, especially in print advertising, you had the advantage of print media. Magazines were specialized: if you someone read, for example, Popular Science, you could presume a general interest in the technology of the day. For the most part, that is why the magazine was in a reader's hands.
Today, particularly with content farms and their ilk, the reader arrives at a web page perhaps with a specific interest in mind, but distracted and confused by a thousand different claims, promises, false leads and who knows what else.
You have an instant to grab their attention and then convert that attention into a desired action.
Study this book assiduously and you will learn what you need to know in order to approach the issue of conversion. It won't make you an expert in the sense of providing you with a set of answers and solutions that apply to every situation. Rather, it will equip you to understand what questions need answering.
Some may be put off by this book's "by the numbers" approach: it begins at the beginning and ends at the end and does an excellent job of covering everything in-between. This textbook approach may be irritating to some, but it pays off in that the student will gain a thorough understanding of the subject.
The book is broken into reasonably sized chunks of text, each covering a specific subject. There are numerous (and quite well done) examples illustrating various points. The writing style is neutral and never overly aggressive.
Overall, this is a text for the serious student who wants to understand what conversion is, when and why you should be concerned with it and, generally, how to increase your conversion rates. For the dedicated student, it will result in a rewarding experience.