Are You Offering Too Many Choices?

Are You Offering Too Many Choices?

I run into this kind of question every day in my profession. What exactly should I offer my clients or my customers? Although it might seem more intuitive to offer your customers a million options for your products and services, studies actually show that less choices equates to more overall sales. Sheena Iyengar in her TED talk below helps us to see that in a world inundated with hundreds of choices we all must make every day, people are simply less and less likely to take the time wading through options to find their golden ticket.

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Sheena Iyengar, professor of business at Columbia, relates a study conducted by her team on the market impact of the overwhelming choice. She actually found that a tasting table of 6 flavors of jam will far outsell a table of 24 flavors. The bottom line is that by diluting your option menu with too much variety of items will only work to make the chooser more confused and less likely to buy. Have you ever been at one of those restaurants with a bible sized menu of unlimited options? It can actually create a wave of stress and anxiety just to seen all those options in one place.

Part of our job in providing specialty services or products is finding and offering only a handful of the best possible options. So, if you are wondering how to apply this to your business, just ask yourself, "What is my absolute best product or service?" In other words, if you were buying from yourself, what would you buy? Often times that is exactly the first and only thing you should offer your customers.

The Age of Responsive Technology

The Age of Responsive Technology

Things are moving way too fast in the technological world. Don't worry, everyone is overwhelmed. Even the biggest tech firms in the world are concerned that they might not be "with the times". What does it mean to be with the times ... to be RESPONSIVE! So, what is RESPONSIVE DESIGN?

We used to just say mobile friendly, and even as little as 5 years ago this seemed like a revolutionary concept. Actually it was in Finland in 1996 that the first ever mobile devices accessed a website and only in 1999 that it became commercially available in Japan. According to a 2013 report from Walker Sands, the percentage of website traffic coming from mobile devices jumped from 17.5% in Q3 2012 to 23.1% in Q4 2012. An early 2010 ITU (International Telecommunication Union) report said that with the current growth rates, web access by people on the go — via laptops and smart mobile devices – is likely to exceed web access from desktop computers within the next five years (Wikipedia).

So what does all this mean for us, the little guys in a big technological world? Its time to GET RESPONSIVE. That means, making your website easily accessible and navigable by any device. There are a number of new themes on WordPress that can help an entrepreneur on a budget accomplish this goal, but everything has is quirks and inconsistencies. Here is an example of a site that we recently developed for Joree Rosenblatt, a fantastic mindfulness education expert and up and coming author.

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We developed her site from scratch as a child theme of the WordPress 2013 theme that comes installed with the new versions of WP. If you really dig through the css code of the Twenty-Thirteen Theme, you will see a whole section devoted to different media sizes. The code will look something like this @media (max-width:700px) { css code here }. We base our designs on iPads and iPhones, because that is what we have in the office. For us the media sizes are 768px or less for iPad and 359px or less for iPhone. With some simple tweeks, we were able to get the site to show up differently on all three devices as pictured above.

Another key to responsive design is steering away from Flash. At this point, Flash is rapidly declining and will soon be outdated since it is not available on most devices. Also, as you can see from the animation on Joree Rosenblatt's site, it is not necessary to use flash to arrive at the same results. However, doing something as elaborate as Jim Carrey's website in HTML5 is probably close to impossible (if you haven't checked out Jim Carrey's site before you have to do it but on a Computer Only). However, you can accomplish quite a bit of animation and interactivity with css, html5 and javascript - all legible by devices.

Things are moving fast, and it is very easy to get overwhelmed. The best we can do, sometimes, is respond to the the changes as they arise. If you are a small business owner or a blogger or just an individual on a budget, give us a call and we will make your designs responsive for a fraction of the cost of the other big firms. Call us today.

The Best Time to Send an Email

The Best Time to Send an Email

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Even after the development of social media, google ads, affiliate systems and an overwhelming number of other options for marketing your product and service, direct email campaigns are still the best avenue to get the word out. But everyone's question is always, "When is the best time to send my email campaign?"

While there remain many debates on the subject, we found this 2012 study conducted by Experian global information group that gives some insight into this question. And despite all the debates and misconceptions, it turns out that the highest open ratio, click through ratio and transaction ratio across all businesses comes in fact in the evenings and weekends. Maybe that is because everyone tends to send emails during the week and in the morning, as you can see by the volume on the chart.

Check out the results yourself:

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According to this chart, a higher ratio of emails are engaged on the weekends than during the week. That might be because of the sheer volume of emails that are sent during the week as opposed to the weekend. Let's face it, we get completely bombarded with emails on Monday morning, so many of them just get swept under the rug. I mean, how many emails can we actually open and read, right? This past Black Friday and Cyber Monday I think I received almost a hundred emails from the collective big-marts like Best Buy, WalMart, Target, Staples etc. (I don't even know how they ever got my email.) So what did I do, "Delete, Delete, Delete, Delete, ..."

But, on the weekends, when I'm sitting there twiddling my thumbs on my iPhone with my daughter at the playground, I occasionally check out those one or two emails that come filtering down the pipeline. Especially if they have a fun twist to them.

Perhaps the same reasoning could be applied to the results from the "Time of Day" study.

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I attribute these results to one of two possibilities. Either people are opening more emails on the evening and weekends because they are sitting at home playing Candy Crush on their phones at the time and have nothing better to do or more emails simply get opened when fewer are being sent. And although it may depend greatly on the type of business you are conducting, as in entertainment emails get opened more on weekends and business emails are opened more during the week, it doesn't hurt to look a little bit more closely at these results. And maybe, it would be a good idea to give it a shot and see if it works.

READ THE FULL STUDY HERE

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