Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy [NOOK Book]


A guide to creating copy that connects with customers??and makes the sale

Advertising and promotion professionals have long known that, while bells and whistles may grab a customer's attention, words make the sale. Yet, nearly a decade into the Web revolution, E-commerce professionals are just now waking up to the fact that the usual high-tech, graphics-heavy approach to site design is bad for business.

Net Words explores the reasons why and ...

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Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy

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A guide to creating copy that connects with customers­­and makes the sale

Advertising and promotion professionals have long known that, while bells and whistles may grab a customer's attention, words make the sale. Yet, nearly a decade into the Web revolution, E-commerce professionals are just now waking up to the fact that the usual high-tech, graphics-heavy approach to site design is bad for business.

Net Words explores the reasons why and makes a strong case for a revolutionary new approach to copywriting tailored to the unique demands of a powerful new medium. With the help of dozens of examples of successful and unsuccessful on-line writing, author Nick Usborne shows readers how to harness the power of the written word for the Web. Readers learn how to imbue a business with a distinctive on-line "voice" and use it to forge lasting bonds with customers, increase market share, and close sales.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071415774
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Publication date: 11/26/2001
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 335 KB

Meet the Author

Nick Usborne has written hundreds of articles on the subject of marketing and online writing. Many of these can be found by searching the archives of and Business 2.0. Nick is also a highly respected consultant and much-requested speaker for conferences and corporate meetings and seminars. More details are available through his site at

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Everything Changes Online 1
Ch. 2 Allow Copywriters to Do Great Work 16
Ch. 3 Only Words Will Set You Apart 30
Ch. 4 The Velocity of Words 45
Ch. 5 Words Build Relationships 61
Ch. 6 Can the Web Be a Store? 78
Ch. 7 Close the Sale 88
Ch. 8 Think Like a Direct Marketer 102
Ch. 9 Email - Where Copy Is King 124
Ch. 10 The Language of Personalization 151
Ch. 11 Service with a Smile 163
Ch. 12 Writing Newsletters 173
Ch. 13 Copywriting Online Is Different 190
Ch. 14 The Heart of a Great Copywriter 208
Ch. 15 10 Easy Wins with Strong Copy 226
Ch. 16 An Online Writer's Manifesto 243
Index 251
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A few days after I finished reading the manuscript of Net Words, I happened to visit the web site of one of the major airlines. "…our mission is to ensure that our customers accomplish theirs…" The company's CEO greeted me "We are committed to continually improving our brand product and focusing on customer service. Every employee has been trained to deliver our unique brand of customer service. Our Customer Service Plan is specifically designed to assist us in reaching this objective for every customer on every flight."
Boy, could they use Nick Usborne's book.

Why can't they talk like real people? (and what's a "brand of customer service" anyway)? As Nick would point out, this type of generic corporate speak is not going to work. Especially not online where your voice is the main thing that sets you apart from the crowd.

Of course, words don't live in a vacuum. I've had a couple of bad experiences with that particular airline, so when I read what the CEO had to say about their commitment to customer service, what went through my mind was: "Yeah, right". A reader's reaction to your words depends on everything from how she was greeted by your receptionist to what she heard about you from her friends.

Can good writing cover up for bad service or a lousy product? Usborne says it best: "Great copywriting cannot be used as a bandage to obscure the way that you really are." When your customers compare notes via email, chat rooms and newsgroups, you can't hide what's really going on.

But great copy can make a difference. The words that you use online are in fact a critical part of the user's experience, and Nick packs the book with examples of how to do it right. How to write online text that is funny, personal, engaging, informative. In short - how to write text that people actually want to read.

I hope that someone from that airline will read Net Words. I hope that everyone who writes online will read this book. We could all learn from it. As I read the manuscript, I found myself re-writing emails I was about to send out, and changing some text on my web site. Usborne will make you think. And he'll remind you of some basics that so many of us tend to forget when we write: be personal, keep it simple, be specific.

What I love about this book is that it's a practical guide, not a manifesto. Usborne provides his own useful advice, as well as words of wisdom from other people in the trenches. The book lists new rules along with some old ones. What do they have in common? They work and they make sense. Nick's objective is not to shock us, but to help us do a better job. In the process, he's written a terrific book that should influence the way companies communicate with their customers online.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2006

    Good for Writers, Better for Businesses

    The basic premise of Net Words¿how good copywriting can make a Web site more effective¿is as fundamental in 2006 as it was in 2001 when the book was published. Net Words is still relevant in terms of technology, and author Nick Usborne, a prolific and respected copywriter, is unquestionably an authority on this topic. Writers should read the book with an understanding that they will learn some important Web marketing principles and a few theories for writing business-related online copy, but they should not expect Net Words to be a handbook on online writing. Many of Net Words¿s guidelines and tips for copywriters are most likely already known to writers with any persuasive writing or basic marketing skills, but this book certainly is useful to offline writers unfamiliar with the Internet or how marketing copy differs from other kinds of text. Business owners who wish to improve Web sites and designers who would like to understand the copywriting process should also read this book. Usborne provides numerous examples of good and bad copy from actual Web sites, offering the reader a chance to visit these sites and analyze Web content. He also reviews the benefits and disadvantages of different kinds of online communication, such as newsletters, e-mail, and discussion boards. Usborne writes with a pleasing style¿humorous, honest, and straightforward, and he elevates a subject that could be tech-heavy to a level nearly all readers can grasp. There are occasional uses of jargon that may be troublesome for some readers, and the book does have a repetitious feel toward the end. Nevertheless, reading Net Words is an enjoyable experience that will certainly benefit those in decision-making positions of business, Web developers, and writers new to creating marketing copy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

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