Visual Communicator, User Experience, Information Architect, Art Director, Strategist

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Too Many Dishes.

Posted on April 20, 2013 in User Experience

Even if you have a dishwasher, you’ve most likely experienced the following series of events:

The night before, you had a gathering of loved individuals at your place. You made an incredible amount of food, tasty beverages, you have dishes piled up in the sink, on the counter, spilling out and threatening to take over the kitchen with a vengeance not seen since the Orcs attacked Minas Tirith.

You are stunned, frozen in your tracks.

There is a strong desire to clean the kitchen, reclaim your counter space, maybe clear a path so you can make yourself coffee. No matter how eager you are to be crowned ruler of your domain again – the sheer number of dishes creates a physical and mental barricade. You have nowhere to stack and prepare the dirty dishes, there is nowhere to put them once they are cleaned. If using a dishwasher – you quickly calculate that it will take at least 3 cycles to make a dent.

You retreat. You don’t have time to be concerned with this task, you need to check the mailbox, refresh Instagram to see what your ftiends are having for breakfast, and you need a latte, so it’s off to Starbucks.

What happened?

It’s human nature, the task had enough hurdles to deter you from starting at all. This phenomenon isn’t limited to kitchens across the globe – this is happening in your digital environment. Regardless of the platform your inbound marketing campaign takes on; desktop, laptop, or mobile device – you are asking someone to complete a task. Read this, fill out this form, download this paper, watch this video… the requests can be endless.

The problem isn’t any one of those tasks, the problem is revealed when you ask your users to participate in multiple tasks within an isolated environment. There are so many options, so many choices, that the user chooses to do none. This has nothing to do with interest, there’s a good chance they’ve made a note, or created a bookmark with the best intention to come back when they have more time available to participate the way you intended. You’ve communicated that each call to action, every request is equally important. They decide this needs careful attention, and it will take up more time than they have right now.

In most cases – this is not what you want at all. Like watching the incredible battle, you are yelling at the screen, trying to warn King Théoden – “Turn around, wach out!” It’s too late, game over.

When considering your inbound marketing landing pages, email blasts, microsite, homepage of your website – keep the message clear. This is an experience, and you want their undivided attention.

What’s originally causes the overbearing approach? The answer is simple, fear.

What if the user shows up, and I’m not asking the right question? What if I use the wrong buzz word? How can we communicate every single thing we do, leave no stone unturned? At the very same time, we need to leave room for explanation so we don’t overcommit or send the wrong message. Put it all in bold type, as big as we can. Self-destruct.

The answer, strive to know your users. There’s a good chance you may have several personas that each fit a specific segment of your business. Strategize and keep them from guessing which message is intended for whom, and remember – putting every message out at once to speed up the sales process will only hinder it. This is going to take some time, and alot of work. Use this time to realize the power and value of a focused pitch, in a board room, or on a device.

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