December 20, 1999
I received the following message from a web site I signed up with probably six months ago:
Give a gift from ingredients.com IN the Saint Nick of time.
Our scent-sational line of personal care products can lift your spirits, calm your soul, or take you wherever you want to go. And you won’t even have to use our products for them to work their magic on you. Just do your holiday shopping at ingredients.com. The sheer simplicity will give you peace of mind and the free gift-wrapping and shipping will give your body a break. Find out what’s in it for you and all your friends.
ingredients.com. Your personal care e-source for peace of mind, body and holiday spirit.
This is the first time they’ve mailed anything to me. I took a look at this and thought that they had largely wasted a great opportunity to reach me during the pre-Xmas frenzy.
I’d like to propose that we try and “fix” this message to make it an effective marketing tool. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what works and doesn’t work, what should have been included, and what should have been omitted.
I’ll start off with three easy improvements:
1. They didn’t put a link to their site! I can guess from the company name that I need to go to ingredients.com, but they most certainly should have given me a hot link.
2. They didn’t remind me that I ASKED to be on this list. When I first looked at it I thought I was being spammed.
3. They don’t follow basic privacy guidelines by giving me a simple way to get off the list with each mailing.
I can think of about 10 more things they could have done to make this better, but before I ramble on, I’d like to see what everyone else comes up with. Let the games begin!
December 6, 1999
I had a conversation with someone the other day about why people did or did not post to ADL. I thought that a lot of people might not understand the power of an ADL post, or may not think that they have much to contribute. He thought that we were all too wimpy to have an opinion.
In the spirit of proving my friend wrong and showing that we as a group are not too wimpy to have an opinion, I offer a short list of “Reasons to Post on ADL”:
1. Be Recognized for the Expert You Are: There are now over 800 people on the AIMS list. And this is not just any 800 people. These are all Canadian Internet Marketing and Sales professionals. If you wanted to show that you knew your stuff, what better place to do it?
2. Give and Get: Most of use will read ADL far more often than we’ll post, but if we ALL take the attitude that it is a good read that doesn’t need our help, it won’t be much of a read at all!
3. It’s good for business: If you are a consultant or writer, what better way to increase your profile than offering a few “freebie” bright ideas to the list. I know that I’ve already twigged to a few bright bulbs out there I hadn’t come across before ADL.
4. Find Answers, Find People: Posting to ADL can put you in contact with other people who may have run into the same issues you’re facing. Why not learn from their experiences? And if you have an answer, share it so that others can benefit.
How do you make yourself heard? Just look at any issue of ADL for convenient mailto’s between postings and at the bottom of each issue. Let’s show we’re not wimps without opinions! I’ve talked to a lot of you at AIMS After Parties, so I KNOW you have opinions!
December 1, 1999
In ADL-0033, Chris Anderson wrote:
We spend all this money trying to get people to visit our site but we don’t offer them anything when they get there. The best website I have seen so far on the web is http://www.boo.com these people put a lot of imagination and work into this site, I am now their client because they gave me more than one reason to return.
I fully agree that the key to online success is what you do with people once they get to your site. The statement SOUNDS obvious, but it seems that many people either don’t get what this means or they don’t truly believe it. It is quite common to see companies spending millions on advertising to get people to sites where search doesn’t work or the shopping cart function is intimidating. These same heavy advertisers baulk at the cost of doing usability analysis.
I would STRONGLY urge everyone on the list to take time to get a copy of an outstanding report on the customer experience recently published by Mark Hurst at Creative Good in New York. Some of you may remember Mark as a speaker at the AIMS/CMA Interactive Conference last spring. Mark is quite an impassioned spokesperson for making sites work from the customer’s perspective.
You can find the 78 page report, which gives analysis of usability problems at 10 major e-commerce sites, at: http://www.creativegood.com/holiday99/indexdd.html
The report is incredibly popular right now, so you may have to suffer through long download delays, but it is worth it. Normally they charge a bundle for these reports, but this one is a freebie for the holidays.
After you’ve downloaded the Creative Good report, click over to Jakob Nielsen’s site and sign-up for his bi-weekly mailing of usability insights at http://www.alertbox.com . For those of you not in the know, Nielsen is THE guru of usability and his comments are essential to understanding what works and doesn’t work on the web.
I want to emphasize that EVERYONE should be looking at this stuff, not just those with a technical mandate. Your site is your customer experience and your customer experience is your brand – don’t blow it once you get them to your site – your company’s reputation is riding on it.
BTW, I think that boo.com would fair rather poorly on the customer experience test. You like many of us on the list are most likely interested in technology and new web techniques, which makes boo.com’s gimmicks appealing, but consumers are turned off by ANYTHING that gets in the way of buying. It would be interesting to discuss boo.com in terms of the Creative Good report.