Wag The Web Site

A brief thought for the week.

I’m told that email is the killer application. I’m told that the use of ‘permission marketing’ through email is the fountain of wealth. I’m told that email is the only true way to communicate one-on-one online.

And I believe it. I think these statements are true. I think email is it. Number one.

A lot of people feel this way. But when you look at the businesses they run online, what you see doesn’t really match what they say. Their web sites are huge. Big dogs. But what they do with email is small. A little skinny tail of a thing with almost no wag.

So picture this.

If we’re going to build our profitable relationships through a campaign of permission-based emails, it’s time that the tail begins to wag the dog. Let email take the lead. And build your web site to serve the needs of what you do with your email.

Maybe you already thought of this. If not, I think it’s an interesting thought. Because it changes just about everything. Just one of the things it changes is the way in which you write.

If you’re a writer, my guess is that your writing style differs between when you’re writing for a site and when you’re writing email.

When you write email, you probably write in a more personal way. You probably picture the recipient and write in a way that is closer to the way in which you speak. It’s conversational. You recognize that there’s a person at the other end.

But if you’re like many web site writers, the way in which you write a page online is very different. You write to a crowd. You write to the demands of your boss. You write to the needs of the designer. You write to the credo of some weird search engine optimizing guru who asks you to use the word ‘free’ three times in the first paragraph of each page.

And once you’ve done all this, there’s no room left in which to write to your readers one at a time, one on one.

So here’s the challenge: Shrink the dog and beef up the tail.

Everyone tells you that email is the big thing. Everyone is going to have to figure out how to build this new model with the small body and big tail. But as the writer in charge, you can get ahead of the game by just changing the way you think about writing the site.

Just imagine you were writing an email. See the one recipient, the one reader. Start giving the email style of writing the kind of wag it deserves.

Wag hard enough and the rest of the site may follow.

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