June 27: Don't Innovate on Navigation

When I work with clients on new site designs most people want something cool or innovative. Those are good qualities, but some areas are off limits. It's not a good idea to come up with new ways to navigate your site. People get used to navigating sites a certain way so making them learn a new way to get around your site is not the best idea. Most people will just leave your site.

How easy is it to navigate your site?

June 26: Key Web Usability Question: What Do You Expect To Happen?:

When testing web designs on users the most important question is "what did you expect to happen?" Whether they click on a link, mouse over a picture, or select an icon the best result is for the site to behave the way they expected.

When blue words don't link, icons change into a new shape, or pictures go blank it is confusing to site visitors. When in doubt, ask users what they expected to happen.

Do you test your web designs? What kind of questions do you ask?

June 25: Limit Choices

Giving customers choices is a good idea, but don't give too many or you will confuse them. When I sold PDA's for FranklinCovey, we offered IPaqs, Palms and Handspring devices in a wide range of prices. Most of my customers didn't know where to begin. After asking them some questions about their needs and planned uses for the device I would narrow the best choices down to a few units.

When I first started I would explain the features of any and all the PDA's people wanted to hear about. This was way too much information. By narrowing the choices to the best fit for each person I was providing a service and making the decision easier for customers. And I started selling more PDA's.

How do you focus on the best choices for your customers? Do you ever overload them with information?

June 24: Give Customers Control

When in doubt, give your customers a choice. This is particularly true in web design.

For example:

  • Should you write out the copy or post a PDF? Both.
  • Should videos auto play or should people hit the play button? Let visitors choose to hit the play button.
  • Consume your content as book, ebook, or audiobook? Yes, the more choices the better.
Give your customers control.

What kind of choices do you give your customers?

Aprill 8: Leadership is Influence

Effective leadership is getting people to perform a task or behave in a desired way through your positive influence. Effective means the follower wants to perform and will likely continue to follow your lead long term.

Of course there are shortcuts to getting people to do what you want, but shortcuts often lead to rebellion and sabotage.

What kind of leader are you? Are you effective long term? Do your people follow you because of your influence or because of your threats?

April 7: Avoid Jack Ass Management

If you are driving a mule you have two options:

  • Dangle a carrot
  • Threaten a whip
Many managers use the jack ass approach, but people are more complex than animals. Motivating employees is about more than rewards and punishment, it's about motivation. Find out what makes people tick and help them fulfill their passion.

Do you use the carrot and stick approach with employees? How do you motivate them?

April 6: Integrate Your Marketing Tools

Once you choose the right tools, make sure they are working together. Do your print ads have a web address? Do you post your commercials on your website? Do you mail a schedule of events to your customers?

The more tools you use and the better you integrate them, the more powerful your marketing is.

Are your marketing tools integrated? How?

April 5: Pick the Right Marketing Tools

The major marketing tools are:

  • Public Relations
  • Publicity
  • Advertising
  • Sales Promotion
  • Personal Selling
  • Direct Marketing
  • Internet/Interactive
Some tools work better than others depending on your message and your audience. Make sure you pick the right ones.

What marketing tools do you use? Why did you pick them?

April 2: Fast Enough

In 2000 computer companies advertised fast speeds. A PC with a Pentium III chip was considered a fast computer at around 500 Mhz. Today we don't hear much about computer chip speeds. What happened?

The first PC processors were relatively slow, but eventually they got fast enough. My car can go 110, but I rarely go over 70. That's fast enough.

Marketers usually advertise the latest, greatest and fastest product features. The danger is when you base your business on a feature that is no longer a big deal.

Do you base your marketing on a fast enough feature? What else could you emphasize?

April 1: Don't Get Fooled Again

If you keep finding yourself in the same bad business deals guess what the constant is...you. The same goes if you keep trying the latest marketing fad, or watching your best people leave the company. Something needs to change, and that something is you.

Take a look at the consistent patterns that take place in those situations. Make a list of what to avoid and what to look for in the ideal situation next time. Make sure you don't get fooled again.

What mistakes seem to continually plague your business? What can you do to change the situation?

March 30: Logos are International

You do not need to speak English to recognize these logos:

  • Apple
  • Taco Bell
  • Chrysler
  • Microsoft
  • The Olympics
Since real logos are pictures, they are international by their nature. So if you ever intend to have a global reach, build a brand around a pictorial logo.

Is your branding and logo ready to go global?

March 29: Use a Logo

Logos allow you to connect with people on another level. Your logo should be a visual representation of your business that people react to on an emotional right brain way. If your logo is a font, you do not have a logo. Unique fonts are great and complement to your logo, but they are not your logo.

How well does your logo represent your company?

March 28: Turn Your Blog into a Book

Blogs are a great way to accumulate and organize content. If you can post a handful of juicy morsels a few times a week, by the end of the year you will have enough information for a book, or as some call it a blook. You gotta know I'm turnin' this biz memes puppy into a book as soon as the year is up.

How could you turn your blog into a book?

March 27: Write an Outline

Not everyone is an author, but it can be easier than you think. If you can write an outline you are halfway there. Can you come up with 7 or 8 key principles to share with customers about your business? You have an outline. All you have to do is put some detail and explanation to these and you have yourself a book- presto!

What are some key principles for your business? How could you share these with customers? Why not write a book?

March 26: Write a Book

A good way to establish yourself as an expert to your customers is to write a book. Some people spend time promoting their book and get some business on the side from it. Another angle is to use your book as an expensive business card. Give it out to customers and prospects. They are more likely to keep it and think more highly of you when you give them a book instead of a flimsy card.

What could you write a book about?

March 25: Design is More than Making Things Look Pretty

I hear it all the time when it comes to web design "we'll make the site and then the designers can make it look pretty." Good design is more than just making things look pretty. Good design is creating websites, and products, made for human beings.

Sure looking good is a part of appealing to people, but it goes way beyond that. The iPod is more than just pretty, it was designed to work well. The scroll wheel of the original and the touch pad interface of the iPhone are examples of great design in action.

Do you have great designers working for you?

March 24: Don't Put Welcome on Your Home Page

Welcome to my blog! Could you think of anything cheesier I could put at the top of this page? Besides looking like 1999, no one reads a welcome message. Find something more important to put in the prime real estate usually devoted to these sad vestiges of web design past.

Do you have Welcome on your home page?