Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, is best known for his 7%-38%-55% Rule. It states that 55% of communication is attributable to non-verbal behaviors like body language and facial expressions; 38% of communication is attributable to voice, including volume, tone, pitch, cadence, and quality; and only 7% of communication is attributable to the words used.

Despite persuasive evidence, companies continue to pile on the Web text in the vain hope that search engines will index it and someone might actually read it, even though the reality is that 70% of Web site visitors merely scan for headlines, bulleted points, and captions.

Instead, the most effective way to deliver a marketing message is a Web video using a professional performer who knows how to use his or her voice, expression, and body language to drive the point home.

"But Wait, There's More …"

I have noticed a proliferation on the Web of the sad-old direct marketing formula that you see in sales pitches for magazine subscriptions. Can you really expect people to take you seriously when you adopt this Barnum and Bailey approach to marketing?

It is a formula that flies in the face of Dr. Mehrabian's research and every other usability study that warns against over-burdening Web site visitors with too much text. Your search engine optimizer may think it's great for driving traffic to your landing page, but I'll bet if you check your logs, 50% of that traffic disappears in under five seconds.

This format is an outdated sales technique that doesn't work in a Web environment, where people find it difficult to read large amounts of text. It is also a tactic that insults your customer's intelligence.

A Red Flag Marketing Formula

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Jerry Bader is senior partner in MRPwebmedia (www.mrpwebmedia.com), a website-design firm that specializes in Web audio and video. Contact him via info@mrpwebmedia.com or (905) 764-1246.