I’m a big fan of Dr. Flint McGlaughlin at Marketing Experiments. I spoke at their Selling Online Subscriptions Summit in ’08 and was invited to attend and listen to all the other speakers; his keynote alone was enough to make the whole conference worthwhile.
The thrust of his message is encapsulated, for me, in this one line: clarity trumps persuasion.
Why use persuasive copy when you could simply clarify your offering instead?
Why explain when you can show?
Why sell when you can offer?
Every page on a web site has an intended purpose, but every visitor to the site brings his or her own purpose. As visitors traverse multiple pages, they are bombarded with the various intents of your site. If you insist on your purpose winning over the customer’s purpose, you will lose customers. If you allow your customers to shape your site’s purpose, you will gain customers. It is just about that simple.
Put another way:
via Business Pundit.