Friday, August 31, 2012

Show your work

In math class I was always the kid that didn't understand why I needed to show my work.  I could easily multiply 6x8 and divide 24/3.  I felt like the extra task of showing my work was just meant to slow me down.  The real reason was so the teacher could understand and help me.

We often make assumptions about our website visitors and glaze over things we think are common or given.  Like not explaining why we are asking for your email or what we plan to do with it.  This applies to all areas of your website.  Usability tests can help identify areas in need of more explanation.  Showing your work anytime the question Why?/How?/What? comes up, gives your visitors the assurance they need to move forward, and allows them to help you fix it if your assumptions are wrong.

Are you showing your work?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The way things are.

One of my favorite movies is Babe.  A little pig wants to be a sheep dog and learns the reality that pigs = food and that's just the way things are.

If you want to make something truly different or shake up an old process with a new faster, better, stronger one, you have to be ready to fight an uphill battle and prove yourself everyday.  But, in today's world, more than ever before, anything is possible.  Find supporters, believe in yourself, and make sure the world sees you do it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Ikea Effect

Yesterday I posted about prices being "reassuringly expensive".  Today is a continuation of that same concept extended to effort.  The more effort you put into something, the more it is worth... to you.

The easy explanation for the logical types is: 
    the value of anything = monetary cost + effort.

Having to "work for it" gives us a sense of pride and ownership that ultimately makes us appreciate the product more.  Ikea does this by making us work to put our furniture together, and the end result is something we can be proud of.

The trick is, you can't make people work for nothing.  Is your product worth working for?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reassuringly Expensive

We all know, you get what you pay for.  When things are expensive, we have more confidence in their value and quality.  This is one reason why good photographers who charge a modest $50 per sitting have a hard time finding work.  If you want great photos that you can show your grandchildren, you are much more likely to only consider expensive photographers.  Paying $750 is far more reassuring that you will get the quality you desire.  

If your products or services truly are inexpensive, and you don't want to sell them as "cheap", find ways to explain why your products are so inexpensive; bulk quantity, low overhead, direct buy, etc.  Otherwise, enjoy the added revenue from higher prices.

Are your prices reassuringly expensive?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Forget the Fold!

I'm constantly hearing people talk about placing content "above the fold" so that visitors will see it.  The truth is, the web doesn't have a fold.  Inline with my last post, people don't read a webpage first.  If the first impression is good enough to stick around, they scan the entire page, looking to be "hooked".  Scanning = Scrolling.

Scrolling isn't bad, boring is.  So... Forget the fold and start creating compelling webpages!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Anatomy of Conversion

First Impression
Should I stay or should I go?  Does it look like what I was expecting?  Is it well organized?  Does it appeal to me?  Is it worth taking a look at?  All these questions get answered in the blink of an eye.  

The Hook
A blog title, a call to action, a picture that makes me smile, a question that makes me think.  Is the hook good enough to make me stick around and dig a little deeper?

The Sale
Now that I am hanging around and interested in what you have, persuade me to take a chance on you.  To trust you.  To return for more, refer my friends, and ultimately buy.

The next time your surfing the web, try to be conscious of this 3 step process.  You may find you don't just do it with web pages, but with everything; magazine ads, books, restaurants, strangers.  We are constantly searching for something worthy of our time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


To successfully persuade someone, you only have to win them over, you don't have to defeat the opposition.  Example: To persuade someone that vanilla is the best ice cream, you don't have to prove chocolate is bad.

Are you trying to win new clients, or are you fighting the competition?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How do you want your customers to feel?

Before every interaction you have with your customers, you should ask yourself:  How/What do I want them to feel now?

Feelings are the most important factor in making a decision.  We often go against logic to appease our feelings.  Your landing page, the checkout process, and your customer service should all be projecting the appropriate feeling.

I've never shared something with my friends just because I made a sound logical decision.  It's always because I'm super frustrated and angry, or amazingly happy.

How do you want your customers to feel?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make Your Customers AWESOME

When I share my good experiences with a particular product or company with my friends, I'm usually bragging, or at best hoping they help themselves by making the same choice I did.  Affiliate programs generally work the same way, if I get my friend to sign up, I get a reward.  This seems so selfish and self centered.

What if, instead of me getting something, my friends get something?  Or better yet, we both get a reward.  Dropbox gives you 500 MB of free space for getting a friend to sign up, but they also give your friend an extra 500 MB.  When the reward for sharing is shared, its no longer selfish to share:  It's selfish not to.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization isn't about tricking people into purchasing your product.  Its about building long term, highly profitable relationships with new customers.  Your website can be used to put them in the right mood and persuade them to purchase, but your product and customer service have to deliver on your promises to keep their trust and gain their commitment.  Only then will they return and maybe, if your lucky, even share you with their friends.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

How do you attract new customers?  

Outbound marketing interrupts a potential new customers activities:  magazine ads, billboards, direct mail, emails, commercials, and telemarketing.  These methods are costly with a low ROI.  On average it takes 7 mentions for a consumer to remember who you are.  

Inbound marketing invites customers to share you with their friends and provides useful content for those looking to buy.  Inbound marketing gets you a friends recommendation and the title of trusted authority in your field. 

How do you want to start your relationship with your next customer?

Thursday, August 16, 2012


All websites have a purpose.  You can sell something, generate leads, entertain, host a community, or just waste space.  Pick a purpose and design everything else around that purpose. (layout, design, content, marketing, etc.)  What's your website's purpose?