Educate without a bias

I won’t believe what you’ll “market” to me.

I won’t believe what your other clients say about you in their video testimonials that I see on your website.

But I will believe if my close friend recommends you.

I will believe if I “tell” myself that you’re great.

How would you let my friend recommend your product? How would you let me believe that you’re great?

Friendship is based on trust. No trust = no friendship.

Why should I trust you? Why should I believe that you do not have any wasted interest in “educating” me about a subject around your product?

In the connection economy, every smart business would educate the mass about how their product is great at solving problems. Nothing hip about it.

The thing called “education” loses its impact if it is done with a bias.  Education is not a sales technique but still, we do that. Consider the following:

  • 21 SureFire Ways to Bring Your WebSite on Top – Guaranteed!
  • Why You Should Hire a Full-Time PHP Developer in India for Your Next Web App Project?
  • If You Are Not Using XYZ App, Then You Are Not Using Mobile (Really!)
  • Why ABC Political Party is Clean and How Another Party is Ruining the Country…?

I’m sure you would have read hundreds of such headlines … in blogs, in videos, in almost every imaginable media out there.

Education has to be neutral. It cannot be biased and recommend your own product inside the body of the content. If it does, people get it. And they don’t believe in what you say.

If you want to educate people, educate without any wasted interest. Educate them because you want to share what you know. Educate them because they need to get what you know. Educate them because they want to listen to what you have to say.

That builds the trust and people will give you permission to sell your products, service, and ideas. To them, with a positive bias. Not easy to earn.

Easier said than done!

Return On UX

You’ve heard of Return on Investment, I know. But have you heard of Return on User Experience or RoUX as I call it?

Or, if you’ve heard, have your attentively thought about it?

ROI is easy to measure. You invest your dollars, measure the metrics, optimize and win (or lose).

But RoUX?

It takes awareness, guts, resourcing, intention to serve the humanity and the more important…the willingness to act even if your actions may be criticized … all these and what do you get in return?

It’s easy to hire the most expensive UX expert. It’s possible to train a junior who has substance married with guts. But it’s not easy to observe the benefits of better UX in terms of returns.

Your objectives will drive your decisions.

As a retail store owner, if your objective is to make the maximum possible profit from every footprint that you receive, you won’t be much worried about the feelings your customers carry while waiting on the Cash Counter for 20 mins to pay for their $5000 purchase.

But, if, for you, the customers who visit your store are more than just “footprints”, then you might figure out a way where select salespersons will go to the customer, talk to them humanely, and make sure that their billing is done without they standing in a long billing queue.

What would be the RoUX in such case?

Reduced marketing costs? More on-target sales force? The feel-good factor in your staff? More sale?

All of these are actually the by-product of better UX.

Better UX, as I see it, ensures that the person at the receiving end, is treated as a living being, his worldview is respected and he’s rewarded for shopping in your shop.

What would you do if you were that customer? Would you hesitate to recommend that retail store to everyone you know?

No chance.

The real RoUX will be the delighted users who will become your raving fans.

And the good thing about fans is they want to buy your products without being asked. I wanted to buy an iPhone before it was launched. I want to buy iPhone 6 which is not yet officially announced!

Apple is doing something right. It has kept my eagerness alive about what they have to offer next. They don’t need to spend on PPC or mobile advertisements to “sell” their upcoming iPhone which may be just an incremental update from their previous version.

That’s the REAL Return on UX!

Better UX reduces the need for investing time to figure out marketing gimmicks to win the competition. Better UX is more than better engineering, it is a better way of living a better life …

Right location wrong menu!

Are you someone who thinks:

“Despite the fact that location of my restaurant is in the heart of city, I barely get customers. Repeat customers? Hell No. Maybe I should change the location. Maybe the location is cursed. Maybe … Maybe I can focus on catering side business so that the $$$ I pay to the chef and support staff can be justified.”

Do these thoughts sound similar?

If yes, you need to seriously consider something: Only the “Right” location is not enough, you need the RIGHT menu too.

And, did I tell you that your right menu is made not only of the food items you serve; it includes right interior, right chef, right customer service directors (Yes, I’m referring to attendants and waiters!) and of course, great customer service.

We don’t live in 2002. This is 2013 and we’re welcoming 2014. We are competing with people who have ample resources, a better understanding of the subject and wider marketing capabilities that get attention.

Just Spray and pray won’t work.

So, how should you operate your business? 

By adding value.

Not just by adding value, by adding GREAT value.

How do you add great value?

Understand your customer’s needs. Make unique dishes for them. Offer them your best dish that is best not because you think it is best but because your customer thinks it is best for her.

Create products and services that serve your customer’s needs like no one else does and make offers that are opportunities for your customers.

How do you figure out what’s your customers’ needs?

By learning minute things about your customer behavior. If a customer likes All Vegetables Pizza then she might like Onion Capsicum Pizza with Sun-dried tomatoes. Well, there are chances.

Make decisions for your customer and assume the risks of such decisions. Make your customer a fan of your decisions, not just dishes.

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“But understanding customer’s needs is difficult,” You might argue.

Indeed it is. But when you solve that problem, you make your business thrive.

Before 30 years, it was more difficult to enter a new business. Today, it is not. Your unique differentiator will be the experience you will provide, not just the location of your restaurant or the products, which are on your menu.

So it is obvious that you are facing tough competition. No mediocre products will survive for long. You need to push your limits and enter the greater depth of what services you offer.

It is easy to copy a menu from one restaurant to the other, it is extremely difficult to copy the user experience from the other restaurant. That’s where you win!

This applies to every business on the planet. May it be offline or online. May it be a restaurant or an Online e-commerce Store, the principles remain the same. Run an extra mile or you have begun to lose the battle.

Figure out how you will run an extra mile. Remember, there are no traffic jams on an extra mile and that’s actually good news.

My App Vs. Their App

When you say “my app” and they are “my userbase”, you’re concluding it wrong.

Your app is not your app and your userbase is not your userbase.

For example, I use WhatsApp and WhatsApp is my app, I don’t care if it is from WhatsApp Inc. or some other company.

I would not write about WhatsApp here if WhatsApp Inc. would have asked me (or bribed me in whatever form) to write about it.

I write about WhatsApp because I consider it mine. It solves my problem and just for $1 per year. (Update: they stopped charging even $1 now)

Do you see the point?

Still, most App developers don’t get it. They want everyone to download the app and share their positive feedback.

Techniques to market your App would work only when your target userbase would consider your app, well, “their” app.

Don’t get fooled by apparent momentum that your aggressive marketing techniques might bring. In your heart, you know whether your app is your user’s app or not.

Your App is not yours. Your userbase is not your yours. Action happens only because of your target user’s love towards something that they want to do.

Every App Marketer wants Action (and Calls to Action) but only a few know what it takes!

Don’t prove yourself

If you’re good, good. If you’re not, you’re not.

What’s the need of proving it to someone else?

People who need to know that you’re good, already know it and others just don’t care.

Your work is NOT to prove yourself. Your work is just to do your best work.

When you work to prove someone what you have done or what you’re doing is right, you work very differently. And, certainly, you are not at your best when you do that.

Proving yourself is defensive. Proving yourself requires a lack of faith in yourself. Proving yourself is an unconfident behavior.

Instead, see what you can do to produce your best work; what you can do to get out of your own way; what you can do to smoothen your actions…

Actions matter.

And, here comes my favorite thought:

No actions, no results. Everything else is commentary.

Now, don’t mislead the proof thing with marketing, which is a leadership act. Marketing something is not proving. Marketing something is educating people about the existence of your work.

However, only a few people in marketing get that. They tend to prove that their products or services are the best. Best marketing, as I see it, is to put in your best efforts to make your products or services great and then just educate people about it.

If it is the best then people would want to have it, wouldn’t they?

If your marketing requires you to prove that your products and services are great, then something is wrong. Fix that, instead of investing your energy in proving the wrong thing.

Focusing on something is good only when the point of focus is right. Hence your focus should be your best work, not proof.