The Power of Newsletters
I had no idea how incorporating a newsletter for your business could be so beneficial. It makes sense that customers who show an interest want to stay in contact with a brand. By maintaining contact through e-mail newsletters it can help to develop and strengthen brand loyalty by staying in contact with past and future customers. The numbers prove that past customers have a higher chance of becoming repeat customers. In the future of my business I plan to incorporate newsletters to remind customers I am thinking of them. Newsletters are also a great way to share the latest deals, sales and just share any information.
Knowing Your Audience
Knowing the your target market may seem obvious to some extent. General descriptions such as male/female, age and yearly income can all be a good place to start. What I thought was really helpful in this process was to narrow your customer down to an actual person. By creating target market personas you can find creative ways to appeal to that person. What do they need? What do they like? How do they spend their time? This process is fun and can give you a greater perspective as to who and how to attract them. Identifying an actual person makes marketing to them feel personal. In my marketing efforts I think this is a great way to better connect with your audience.
Where Are They?
Now that we are able to know who our audience is….how do we find them? Where are they? This is where when creating a marketing plan it is important to reach people through multiple channels. Video and Potcasts are just another way to attract loyal customers and build relationships with those customers. It is more personal and by sharing with them information they find useful or sharing about yourself, people dig it. You become special in their eyes because chances are you share similar thoughts and ideas with your target audience. I’m shy. I am going to try to utilize this concept in the future because of the business relationship benefits. I plan to do videos or classes of some sort through YouTube.
Most important is taking all the information and creating a focused and cohesive way to market a brand that attracts like-minded individuals.
Don’t make me think!
The number one most useful concept that I have learned and will apply in the future, is not to make online users think more than they have to. Layout and navigation should be obvious and sticking to standard conventions is the best bet. A website has only seconds to draw the user in and if they have to work too hard to acquire information for little or no benefit they will leave and more than likely they won’t be back. Patience is no virtue to online web users and this fact needs to be kept in perspective while creating a site.
Usability Trumps Design
This is a really important concept to keep in mind when designing a site. Although design is important to raise interest, promote a brand and evoke a feelings it is beneficial to think of the design as secondary to the actual use and goals of the site. There are examples where sites have been more focused on the visual pleasure that the purpose of the site has been overlooked. This can cause confusion and frustration for a user and if that’s the case the last thing they care about is how nice it looks. Being overly creative in design elements can lose potential customers and clients. A successful site must be both visually pleasing and user friendly and the balance of both is an art.
My Bad Habits
I know I have a lot of bad habits when I am online, for example I have no patience. I skim, I skip, I click, click away, I speed scroll…What I have learned is that these bad habits of not being able to focus on something for more than 3 seconds before changing my mind or being bored, are actually the majority of online users. This at first was shocking, then comforting. Im not alone! Knowing this makes it even more valuable to cater to users who don’t have the time or patience to spend reading long paragraphs of text or locating information. By being clear, concise and breaking up long text with headings, subheadings and highlighting strong points will draw in and keep a user longer.
As important and valuable as I know networking is to be successful…I am the worst at it. Networking is valuable not for what someone can do for you, but possible what you can do for someone else. Its all about who ya know. I am going to be completely brutally honest as much as I need to put myself out there. I am scared to. I lack the self confidence to do so. All the lights go out and I feel as if I have nothing to offer. That may be why I am an artist…I like to be all alone in my little imaginative world, and try not to concern myself with very much outside of it.
But…in order to make a name for myself I need to put myself “out there.” On the other hand I do love to meet new people and hear their stories and experiences. (I just don’t enjoy telling mine) I know networking can be a great way to add value and depth and even creativity by learning and being inspired by others.
I am making a conscious goal right now to start putting myself out there. Confidence comes from practice and I need to start practicing! Im going to let my little light shine.
Postcard/MailerThis was so much fun! Creating an imaginary event, taking place three months from now. The photo above is a postcard that would potentially be a marketing piece that local businesses would pass out and be stuffed in bags. The information it contains is the name of the event, when and where it will be held and a little teaser of what the event is about. And of course where to find more information about the event.
NewsletterThe second piece (shown above) would serve as a e-mailed newsletter to current subscribers. The newsletter offers a bit more information than the postcard version. The newsletter serves as a personal invite from Elliot Orange to attend the event. It also gives information as to how bring 3 canned food items can save customers 10% off a purchase including the charity website, Elliot Orange website and the event website. It also includes a little note from Elliot Orange to come join in on the fun! It dawned on me later that this version does not state that it is free…Because the first one I created and finished, did say free and mysteriously disappeared when my computer decided to freeze. Even so, I love the ease of making these kinds of marketing pieces!
Lastly I created a short video ad to serve as a commercial and a teaser to grab attention and gain interest in something a little different. All music and photos are copyright free and for use to anyone.
Bring Them Together
By incorporating both physical and tangible postcard, sending out an e-mailed newsletter, and creating a commercial ad,I believe I will have a good chance of reaching a broad market. Creating a multitude of media marketing pieces you can spread information through more than just one specific channel.
This last week we had the opportunity to facilitate our own usability tests with a peer.
After all that we have studied through the course work, it was time to apply it. For me, the experience was fun, and although I felt prepared and organized, I was also a bit nervous. As a facilitator it is hard not to help and point the user in the right direction in order to complete tasks. In order to gain measurable results in a usability test there are many steps and preparedness that you must have prior to testing, its is art.
How to Test I recently read an article featured on Nomat that clearly identified the ways to facilitate and conduct a usability test. The introduction explains that although facilitating a usability test is not difficult there are differences between good and bad tests. These differences will have a direct affect on the validity and the effectiveness of your ending test results. Although not “difficult” the article encourages practice in testing and mastering the “art” may take years.
The ART The article lists and identifies very real circumstances in which you will run into while testing and explains how best to handle them. Starting with a well written prepared script to explain the process to the test participants. By explaining what is expected and getting to know the tester it will build a mutual trust.Clearly state boundaries and expectations. Deflect questions, resist the urge to lead the participant in any direction. Become comfortable in silence, as it is necessary to avoid cross talk or encouragement in either direction. And lastly listen to what the test participant says, repeat what they have said to make sure you have understood what it is they are trying to say.
This was a really good article and it stream line the most important and valuable information concerning usability testing in a very straight forward and supportive way.
Usability test facilitation: 6 key skills. (2014, October 08). Retrieved March 04, 2017, from http://www.nomat.com.au/usability-test-facilitation/
When conducting a usability test it is important to have a clear list of tasks for the user to execute. These tasks should be the same as what the site’s typical users would encounter. Then, you will need to clearly define the ways to measure the success of those tasks.
There are several ways that you can conduct a usability test moderated in person and moderated remote are two. The facilitator is often watching the test user as they perform the given tasks. The tester can speak aloud as they navigate the site and make decisions in order for the facilitator to understand the process in which the user is going through. The facilitator will note where the test user gets confused or chooses the wrong option due to labeling, design elements etc. This allows the facilitator to both see and hear the task completion.
In addition to the facilitator watching and taking notes there are also tools that can be utilized in web testing, such as eye tracking software. This type of tool helps to understand where the users are looking at the screen in comparison to where they click. They are similar but not the same. Data may also be collected by the number of clicks to complete a task or the time it takes to complete specific tasks.
The data taken from multiple users can then be assessed as a whole for example 4 out of 5 users were unable to locate the shopping cart. This would be an issue that would need to be addressed. It is important for the facilitator not to help or guide the user while testing.
There are dozens of ways to recruit test users, ask friends, co-workers or classmates. You could take out an ad on Craig’s List (or something similar) You could entice recruits with cash or a gift card… I would just beg my closest friends.
When the test users arrive I would explain that they are there to participate in testing a web site. Their purpose is to help identify problem areas within the site and that they are not being tested, the site is. The more honest and candid information they are able to provide about the experience, the better the site will become. And hey I’ll buy the pizza!
Having your own business. Being your own boss. This sounds like a dream to a lot of people. I am one of them. I want to thrive and profit both in life and business on my own ideas and dedication. It is hard work to stay motivated and dedicated to your ideas. It takes a lot of time and energy to make them a reality. A profitable reality…
One of the first assignments this quarter, left the strongest impression on me in more ways than one. Lightbulbs went off for me when I watched Cal Newton’s talk. He was explaining the importance of time management and things aren’t as simple as “doing what you love.” Using Steve Jobs as an example do what he did not what he said. Stating that Steve Jobs who is a successful icon learned to love what he did. He found passion in something that he may not have originally dreamt of doing. Meaning, make whatever you do great.
As I’ve studied the course material, everything has stacked on top of this idea. Everything that I have learned and studied has given me more tools to work with no matter what I do. I won’t be daydreaming in the dark.