Writing For The Web: A Tip From Jim Sterne

March 3, 2006

After trying to subscribe to Jim Sterne’s newsletter, Sterne Measures, for a month now, the light bulb went on and I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do it in Mozilla from the e-Metrics Summit site. So I moved over to IE (I really hate IE, but it is useful at times) and subscribed, no problem at all.

It was a double opt-in — the kind where you sign up and then you get an email asking you to confirm your fervent wish and desire to be on the mailing list. So I did the second opt-in from my email box and was very promptly greeted by this new email message:

OK – now you’re subscribed to Sterne Measures.
Thanks for being willing to work so hard.
Here’s the most recent issue: February 28, 2006

What great writing! It felt like he was standing there talking to me. Every bit as great as the auto-response that Jarad Spool wrote me when I signed up for the UIE course.

Sometimes I have trouble writing in this one-to-one style — especially when I’m doing my email marketing, which I find so much harder than blogging. When that happens, I imagine just one person I know who is on my email list, and pretend like I’m writing the email just to her. Later I go back and take out all the really personal stuff, but it helps create that “just you and me” tone that is so vital to the Internet. Remember — leave the Madison Avenue tone to the advertising agencies and find a genuine voice on the web. You’ll create a more authentic site, have greater credibility — and ultimately, convert more browsers into buyers.