Before we began, $60 per month seemed a little steep for a 6 year old’s karate lessons. My wife took him to the first few sessions and came back with such glowing reports about the instructor that I had to go check it out for myself. Turns out the dude is very good… and not just at the butt kicking part. He smiles with the kids, learns people’s real names, places jokes in the middle of sessions for the parents, stays firm but friendly and gently employs an “evil pickle’” (a padded green baton) to test the children on their acquired techniques. It isn’t easy to maintain the attention, interest and respect of both 6yr. olds and also adults all while delivering REALLY good karate instruction.
There are defects in his business model to be sure but, I was reminded how personal, high quality and friendly leadership goes a really long way when setting value. Once I experienced the karate lessons I was happy to only be paying $60/mo.
*** Oh, and just so you don’t write this guy off as a fun, groovy kid teacher, I want to mention that his dojo wall is line with his world class accomplishments and articles from every major media source highlighting his personal accomplishments.
[Ryan writes on leadership development at www.RedBikeLeader.com]
It’s really easy to lose sight of WHO your website is for. We all know it is for our customers. In fact, I would argue it is for the people who aren’t our customers yet but who we really want to be our customers. TRUTH is that we are all guilty, us included, of designing our sites (and other marketing materials) and writing our content the way we know how to. Worse yet we are all are guilty of designing and writing for our personal tastes and styles not for what would be most effective in reaching new costumers.
We all need to stop doing that and we need to start zeroing in on our target audiences.
I read this article about a business owner who has over 2 million monthly subscription customers. He spends a majority of his time writing, editing, re-writing and fine-tuning their website and marketing content. The E-myth (great classic book about small business) teaches us that we need work on our businesses not just in our businesses.
So here are some simple challenges to all of us:
- Study your front page / landing page – Is it geared for new customers?
- Look at your language – Is it clear? Is it proper? Does it have your customer in mind? Are you too wordy?
- Does your website navigate easily for the most important information?
- Do you have a clear call to action?
- Have you any idea how much traffic your site is getting and other important statistics? (Link it up with Google analytics)
- Spend 1-5 hours EVERY WEEK fine-tuning your messaging on your site – Learn how to make it the powerful tool that it can be for placing you first in your market category.
[Ryan also writes for RedBikeLeader.com - engaging & developing young leaders]
Whenever something takes longer than the predetermined time I have alloted for it, I can feel my satisfaction and enjoyment waning. On the other hand some things in life need to be extended: mountain bike riding, a very nice meal with my wife, a good fight scene in the movie and a much needed Sunday afternoon nap. But, finding a critical piece of information or receiving a needed service are not among those items.
Unashamedly, I like to fly Southwest Airlines. Online check-in is quick and easy (although I do have a suggestion about how to make it quicker) and boarding is a breeze. Today I found myself riding ‘twinkie’ on a very full flight to Atlanta via Delta. I don’t love Delta. The online check-in was very SLOW, requiring me to visit 3 more screens than S.W. and also much less user friendly. The ‘boarding’ process had 7 zones, people still mysteriously crowd up to get on and amazingly they found a way for it to take longer getting on. The beverages cost money PLUS they are slow in coming, the airplane & internal tv’s are OLD and even though I could pick my seat, I still have to ride in the middle cause that is all that was left.
I expound on all of this because when it comes to websites, service companies, responses to needs in the world, finding vital or common information, telephone & email interactions… ALL OF THEM should be quick and easy. WHY? Because people just like me and you have already experienced that they can be, so now we won’t find it reasonable or enjoyable to experience anything contrary to that.
So I was watching this interesting video on the importance of interaction design in products. (found via forty)
In the video they had this sketch.
Here they are describing the process a customer takes as a relationship.
So the M is marketing. Getting the customer to the point of purchase (P). The area after that is the Interaction Design. Most businesses and organizations focus on the M.
So here is where the illustration / video left off. Why is interaction design important? The customer already paid right, so who cares. Wrong. Great interaction design, will feed the marketing side. Look at products with good interaction design, in relation to their marketing.
Examples that come to mind for me: Apple, Nintendo WII, In-n-Out Burgers, and toyota Prius. All barely have to market at all. They have created such a great user experience or product, that word of mouth marketing is free and in abundance.
So the moral of my story (as it often is), Focus on your end product, the interaction design, the customers experience, and the marketing will be cheap(er) and easy.