As a UX professional and marketer, I run into business challenges all the time.
UX (and marketing) after all are rooted in the core needs and goals of the business. If the goals or needs are ill defined or if the strategy to reach the goals doesn’t make sense, the UX guy and the marketing guy are going to know. It’s our job.
Believe it or not, most small businesses are shaky on the business fundamentals. Plenty of folks – maybe even yourself – have a passion but don’t feel like you have all of the skills necessary to make money doing it.
Today, you’re in luck. I’m going to teach you a simple mantra that’s going to keep you focused on the proper business fundamentals for selling.
It’s going to improve your website AND your marketing. It’s going to save you from trying to fix the issues retroactively, or finding out that’s near impossible and just settling for what you have until you get more budget. Both of those options sound less preferential to just getting it right the first time.
This mantra sounds simple but it’s incredibly powerful.
Much like the cute girls in yoga pants who earnestly say “namaste!” and focus on their breathing, we need our own mantra to get us in shape.
The UX Mantra: Product, Market, Message, Reach
When you’re trying to develop a successful marketing campaign, which includes just about everything your business is going to do online, these are the four items that have to be defined:
Product – The thing you intend to sell
Market – The people you want to buy your product
Message – What you say and how you behave to get people to buy your product
Reach – The method you use to deliver your message
If you can get those four ideas straight, you’re going to be well on the way to creating a successful marketing plan / website.
You can think of these four ideas as sequential if you reorder them. It wasn’t as catchy or memorable to order them correctly but you can order them thusly:
Product –> Message –> Reach –> Market
The first thing you have is a product. To sell it, you need a captivating message that must reach your market. And that’s why that is the proper order. But for catchiness sake, I like to say ‘product, market, message, reach’. The important thing is that you have all four. The order will become apparent once you start defining them.
How to Improve Your Front Page In Under 2 Minutes With the UX Mantra
If you have a website, pull up the front page and ask yourself how easy it is to identify the product, the message, and the market. You don’t have to worry about reach because for the purposes of this exercise, the website IS the reach. We can talk SEO or social if we want to discuss reach further but what’s important here is to see if your front page has a strong identity with your business fundamentals.
Let’s try this with three websites, just so we can see how this works.
I’ve chosen three websites off the top of my head:
Let’s see how they do.
It’s January so New Year’s Resolutions are literally breaking all around us as we speak. But for those of us who want to get in shape and land on livestrong.com, we wanna know if they’re speaking to us, what they’re saying, and what they’re selling.
The first thing I’ve noticed is that they’ve got market and message clear and out front: there’s a picture of a regular dude doing situps while watching Ellen (probably). And the message is: you’re busy and we’ll help you lose weight.
There are other nice touches too. There’s the “Lose 10-25 pounds in 8 weeks!” message to the right of the logo. And if we were to keep scrolling we’d see that they have health news, fitness advisors, success stories, and a ton of people who like them on Facebook. The message is simple: we’re the fitness site that’s right for YOU.
GOOD JOB LIVESTRONG.
Apple has always sold their hottest product on their front page and this time is no different. The hottest gadget Apple currently makes is the iPad mini, or as I like to call it, the iPod Touch XL. And their main message is a simple one: The iPad Mini is an iPad, only smaller.
Apple identifies their market through the video and TV ads. If they don’t appeal to you, you are not their market.
Also, they are such a large company that they are one of the few that can get away without stating it explicitly. In fact, if there’s a lesson to be learned in this from Apple it’s that their products implicitly bring all the boys to the yard. Because damn right, it’s better than yours. Apple’s entire identity is wrapped up in providing the most compelling computing experience available. By the time you get to their website, you already know that you want some.
What their site does is continue the design aesthetic of the rest of their product line: simple, elegant, and straight-forward.
GOOD JOB APPLE
Tax season is upon us (and even if it wasn’t if I hear the phrase fiscal cliff one more time I’m going to throw somebody off of it) and more importantly, the NFL playoffs are upon us. And that means H&R Block commercials on TV. Their commercials are all about having H&R Block look over previous years returns to see if you can save money.
Now, let’s talk about that message for a second because it’s both (a) counter-intuitive and (b) speaking the users language.
See, every year accountants everywhere have to gear up for saying “Prepare Your Taxes With Me!” And that message has never been appealing to customers. It’s selfish and doesn’t do anything for the user.
H&R Block could do just fine business with that message though. They are huge – they have branches everywhere. And since literally everybody has to get their taxes done, even a limited message will work to some extent.
But rather than go that direction with some version of “We’ll save you money on your taxes!” or “We charge less for preparing your return!”, both of which have already been said in previous years and have also been said by ALL accountants they decided to take a different tack. They want you to bring in your previous returns to see if they can save you money.
Do you see what they did there? They spoke SPECIFICALLY to new customers without alienating old customers. Potential new customers think “What the hell, it can’t hurt… and that’s like free money!” and H&R Block gets to say, “As long as you’re here, after I save you money on your previous returns, would you like me to do your current return where you will also save more money than you did in previous years?” And even they don’t say that explicitly, because they’ve bested your previous accountant, you’re going to think seriously about them doing your return in the future.
THIS MESSAGE IS GENIUS.
The product is obvious (tax returns) and the market is obvious (non-H&R Block users who have to prepare their taxes).
If you want a masterclass on how to do the UX Mantra right, H&R Block could lead it.
GOOD JOB H&R BLOCK!
Say It With Me
Product, Market, Message, Reach
That’s the UX mantra that will get your marketing efforts pointed in the right direction.
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