Sprint: The Slow Network- How Your Eye Impacts Your Messages

Today I saw a bus advertising Sprint as “The Slow Network.”

What?

It actually read “The Now Network,” but part of the N was hidden by a mirror or other part of the bus, and my mind saw the “low” and filled in the rest, resulting in the message that Sprint was a Slow Network. The mind does that; you can read about how what the eye really sees is not necessarily what our brains interpret it as here.

After I spotted this bus and processed the information, I did a double take, and realized what the ad was supposed to say. But if I had processed this information on a more subconscious level, would I have thought of Sprint as a slow network, not realizing why? The answer to this question isn’t quite clear, and would most likely vary from person to person. But this question should affect how we shape our advertising messages.

What does this mean for you?

I’m not saying that the word “Now” should not be used because it has two letters in common with “Slow,” a word no cellular network wants to be associated with. But similarity between the two words should be acknowledged and considered slightly when designing ads, especially for outdoor ads such as buses, when more factors may be out of your control. Could have the word “Now” been more centered in the design?

When considering wording for your advertising and marketing messages, recognize rhyming and similarly spelled words that could alter the meaning of your message if seen or heard incorrectly. Unfortunate placement of ads could significantly influence the success of a campaign, so take small factors such as this into consideration.

Four Out of the Box Ideas for a More Captivating About Us Page

Add a Webcam to your about Us Page
Image Courtesy of Chris Gladis

In my last post, Does Your About Us Page Engage?, I emphasized the importance of an interesting and effective About Us page. Many About Us pages are short, give little information, and give visitors an opportunity to leave the site. In addition to the information I provided in my prior post, I had some ideas to make an interesting About Us Page.

Keep in mind that these ideas will have to fit in with the personality of your company. These ideas will not work for all companies, but may work for yours if used in the right way!

1. Add a Webcam.

Let your visitors see what you’re up to by placing a webcam in your offices/ other locations. This will give you a really personal touch and make you stand out from your competition! The Neopets offices have a webcam up, which fits into their playful, child-like brand. Bungie, the makers of Halo, also reveal “official daily updates and subliminal bungie messages” with their webcam.  I also particularly like the Penn State webcams, although they are not linked specifically to any Penn State About Us pages.

A related idea is to add a video to your About Us page. Perhaps a video of your CEO talking directly to your visitor, or a video of your office having fun, if your company has a more laid back personality. Videos can help visitors achieve a more personable level with you, and as we learned in a prior post, making your About Us page more personable can increase conversion by up to 30%.

2. Make a Funny.

Use comics to communicate your message. Mideast Youth uses this approach to communicate with its younger audience, which may not want to read a lot of text. However, you may want to think about the fact that an image is not as SEO friendly as text, and the visitor could ultimately visit a blank page if the image will not load for some reason. With that said, I think a short comic would be incredibly unique and effective when paired with a few words about the company.

Use Comics to Spice up Your About Us Page

3. Write a Note.

Holly Buchanan of Marketing to Women Online recently wrote about how handwritten notes can increase your conversion. She references a study by Which Test Won, which found that using a version of a product demo featuring handwritten thoughts beside a screenshot, as well as authoritative quote, increased conversion by 85%. Buchanan also provides an example of using the same technique on @thatrobguy ‘s Twitter page, on which Rob Wolf uses what appears to be a handwritten note directly below his picture.

Try handwriting a note and posting an image of it to the site- or use handwritten fonts to draw in your visitors to achieve a higher attention level. It may even increase your conversion, or immerse your visitor deeper into the content of the site.

@thatrobguy's Twitter Page
image courtesy of Holly Buchanan

4. Post Baby Pictures.

Instead of posting the typical head shots or group shots of your staff, try posting baby pictures. This would work especially well for any companies offering children’s products or services. Organizations with a more free or laid back personality could also use this tactic to help their About Us page truly stand out.

A related, fun idea is to have cartoon characters drawn up for each member of your staff and use those in lieu of head shots.

More

For more information about creating an effective About Us page, read my prior post, Does Your About Us Page Engage?, or get in touch with me to ask how I can help craft a unique, usable About Us page for your own organization!

Does Your About Us Page Engage?

How Effective if Your About Us Page?
Image courtesy of Davide Restivo

The About Us page on a website is one that is often overlooked and underestimated by web designers and marketers alike. Research shows that when potential customers get to know you on a personal basis, they may be more likely to buy from you. In fact, a 2006 MarketingSherpa Report reveals that rewriting your About Us page to be more personable can lift e-commerce conversions by up to 30%.

And yet the majority of About Us pages describe what the company is all about and nothing more. However, pictures, videos, and personal bios of key members of the company are rarely used to allow visitors to truly “get to know” you, increasing the likelihood of a purchase, registration, subscription, or whatever call to action you seek to achieve.

7 Guidelines for a More Effective About Us Page

  1. Pictures are worth thousands of words. Be sure to add pictures of yourself or the staff. People like pictures and they are easier on the eyes than words. Humans are attracted to humans, so make sure you show pictures of who they may be dealing with, or who is in charge of the organization.
  2. Don’t make your About Us page another sales pitch. That’s what your landing and sales pages are for. Your customer wants to know about you- that’s why they clicked the link to get to this page. Deliver.
  3. Tell a story. How was your company founded? Let customers in on the history of your company, as well as any interesting facts that may stick out in their mind. You shouldn’t provide the entire history of your company on this page- although if you wish to include it on your site, summarize the history briefly and then create a separate page for this information (don’t forget pictures!).
  4. Include Mission Statements. If your company has a mission statement that is concrete and followed, include it on your About Us page. However, if its empty or outdated- consider rewriting it before adding it.
  5. Lead them deeper. Each page of your site should include some call to action to carry the visitor deeper into the site. Invite the customer to learn more about the history of the company, or to see samples of the work the company has completed. The key is to get them to click again. Often, About Us pages can be the point of exit for some visitors.
  6. Stay Social. Let visitors know where they can find you or employees on social media sites such as twitter or Facebook. I prefer to use images/badges/buttons for access to these pages for recognition and an increase in the likelihood of a click.
  7. Invite Visitors to Stay and Chat. Invite the visitor to contact you, either via a link or a contact form.

Personable About US Pages Increase Conversion by 30%

It’s also important to remember to keep with the personality and general feel of your company. If you’re a fun company, make your About Us page fun. If you’re selling a more serious service, such as banking or security, stick to a more professional approach- but be sure to remain warm.

Takeaways

Don’t waste your web space. Instead, strategically use your About Us page to gain trust by showing visitors that there are real people behind the organization or site. A heavy disadvantage to the website-visitor relationship is that you lack the personable contact of a meeting or sales call-use this page to try to counter that disadvantage. Doing so will give you a leg up over the competition and the basis for a loyal, and perhaps profitable customer-company relationship.

Learn More

To learn more about how your About Us page can be improved, inquire about a full website evaluation and analysis via email or contact form. You will be provided with a usability rating, areas that need to be improved upon, and specific guidelines for how to rectify the weak areas of your site. For more information on this and more services I provide, check out my available Services.

Unlock Your Site’s Potential with a Website Evaluation

More Tips for a Great About Us Page

Halloween Design Freebies

Free Halloween Deskptop WallpaperWith Halloween coming up in less than two weeks (Colin is going to dress up as a Monkey- I can’t wait!), I thought I’d share some free Halloween themed freebies with my readers!

Included are vector files, desktop wallpaper, and Photoshop brushes that I thought were fun, and could perhaps help you out in any Halloween design projects you may be working on- whether it’s a flyer for a local pumpkin patch or an invitation to your own spooky party- these images may help! Enjoy!

33 Free Halloween Desktop Wallpapers You Should Download from You The Designer

Free Halloween Icons for Your Spooky Designs from You The Designer

33 Blood Splatter Brushes for Photoshop Users from You The Designer

Halloween Vectors and Brushes from GirlOnCanvas.com

25 Vector, Icon and Photo Resources for Halloween from Designer Freelance.net

The Landing Page – The Key to High Conversion

Landing pages are the key to conversion
Image courtesy of Steven Depolo

The landing page is one of the key aspects of a marketing campaign. Whether you write an email, send out a postcard, or advertise on the radio to get your target market interested enough to engage, the landing page is crucial to a successful conversion.

Nonetheless, companies miss the mark on landing pages each and every day. And I’m not just talking about little local companies whose websites resemble a business card. I’m talking about the national P&G brands that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on television commercials, and then tell you to visit a disorganized website to learn more. Once you get to that website, you have to search the siteto find what you’re looking for because the landing page wasn’t targeted, or worse-they send you to the homepage of the site.

The Homepage as the Landing Page

This is NOT the ideal landing page. As I discussed in my post, The Importance of Landing Pages, nearly three years ago, the company home page is NOT always the best landing page. In fact, it should almost NEVER be used as the landing page.

Instead, take your audience to exactly where they want to go. Ideally, each message should take the audience to a unique and targeted page intended just for them. For example, I received a mailer from Amazon containing a coupon for $5 off of a diaper purchase. The landing page URL was perfect- amazon.com/baby. It was short, easy to type, and easy to remember. However, the page wasn’t targeted for baby diapers, rather, just everything baby.

Don’t Make Visitors Work for What They Want

Need an example of an extremely targeted landing page? Rob Wolf, a freelance marketer, brings those who view his Twitter profile and click on his webpage link to a targeted bio page on his website- intended solely for those Twitter users. Because Twitter communicates in 140 characters or less, and therefore Twitter users may wish to receive their information quickly and easily, Rob explains who he is in a few bullet points. Although this may not be a sales page, it’s a great example of an extremely targeted landing page.

The point is that if you want those who “click through,” or are interested enough to respond to the call for action and visit your landing page, you want to make them work as little as possible if you expect to see a large conversion rate. Take them exactly where they want to be and give them exactly what they want.

Creating an optimal landing page doesn’t always have to be a lengthy process. If you use the research that’s been conducted on what’s successful and what’s not, then you only need to follow a few guidelines to ensure a successful campaign.

Optimize Your Own Landing Pages for Success

I’d be happy to walk you through this process if you feel that you need a little guidance. Already have a landing page in action? I’ll conduct a landing page evaluation to assess its potential effectiveness and usability, and deliver a detailed report on what you’re doing right, and how things could be better. A full website optimization is also available. For more details on these and more services I provide, visit my Services page, or feel free to contact me for additional details and/or pricing.

If you want to learn even more about how to optimize your landing pages in order to maximize conversions, check out Tim Ash’s book: Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions. This book, released in January of 2008, has had much praise about how it will enable you to stop guessing at the best design, and educate you on what studies have said the best practices are for maximizing your conversions. Check it out!

Engage In the Conversation

Have you noticed any campaigns with very superior, or very poor landing pages? Please share your experiences and thoughts with a comment.

Rhett and Link Sing for Social Media

I recently discovered Rhett and Link on YouTube, a musical duo that creates video music video parodies, scripted series, improv, and just some funny and entertaining stuff. You can check them out on YouTube, or you can go to their website and find even more “free mp3s, life stories, and secrets!”

I’ve also become a very big fan, and have already followed both Rhett and Link on Twitter.

Below are some of my favorite Rhett and Link Videos…enjoy!

Facebook Song

Internet Overdose Song

The Homemade Design that Made My Birthday

My Paper Dolls
My Paper Dolls

One of the best homemade gifts I’ve ever received was for my birthday last year, from my best friends, who were still attending college at Penn State University.

My friend Stacy had called me a few weeks before and asked me what I wanted. I hadn’t seen her or my other friend Elaine in a very long time, so all I said was “just you with a big pink bow on top.” She laughed and I didn’t think anything else of it, because she didn’t push me to give her any other ideas for what I wanted.

A few weeks later, while I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t spend my birthday with my best friends, I get a package in the mail from Stacy and Elaine, with three adorable paper dolls of us inside, made from pictures taken during our spring break vacation to California the year before.

The doll of Stacy was her with outstretched arms, wearing a big pink bow. This was one of the best gifts I’ve received, as you could tell that they put a lot of work and creativity into this gift.

Of course, I would expect nothing less from either of my friends, as they are extremely creative individuals, with more artistic talent in their bones then I could ever pull out of mine. They both come up with and create awesome concepts for logos, as well as for advertisements.

Erica as a Paper Doll

Elaine is also especially gifted in copywriting and tagline / slogan writing. They may both be available for hire for graphic design and/or advertising positions or projects, and they come highly recommended by me. If you’re interested, send me an email at ericadewolf [at] gmail [dot] com and I will be more than happy to put you in touch with them.

Stacy has a limited amount of work available at Creative.gd, and both can give you samples of their work upon request. Stacy can also be contacted on StumbleUpon…here.

These paper dolls really brightened my day, and were a lot better then any store bought gift they could have thought to get me. They truly did spend a great deal of time on me, and it made me realize how loved by them I truly am. Thanks Stacy and Elaine!!

Perhaps you can use their creative idea to make your friends or family a “paper doll” of you this holiday season so that they’ll never be without you. It’s a great, inexpensive way to show somebody you care.

This post was written in response to the Homemade Gifts Group Writing Project over at the Denim and Silk blog, written by Tabetha. Thanks for the inspiration! This truly was a wonderful gift and I would have most likely never have shared this great idea if not for your writing project! Thanks again!