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Archive for February, 2016

Overcomplicating a Website Project

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Technology professionals have long been known for “tech speak”. We web and internet professionals have largely adopted that culture as the internet, software development, and system administration all form closer and closer ties. Many times these terms are useful because they serve as shorthand for best practices or efficiently discussing technically complicated principles. Unfortunately, a lack of discretion by web and internet professionals in using these terms has caused them to be misapplied or misunderstood outside of that technical sphere. The jargon and nuances of the internet continue to grow and it often overcomplicates launching, redesigning, or re-purposing a website.

During a project to re-configure a website to focus on marketing conversion, a client said, “Can I get the wire frames for our landing page?” A basic wireframe existed from the last template redesign but was not specifically laid out for the new landing pages. The landing pages were based off the overall site layout but rather than ask questions, we prepared a basic wireframe specific to the landing pages that filled in a bit more content than the basic site wireframe did. After receiving the wireframe, the client called and said, “This isn’t what I want. I want the document that shows how the pages interlink.” The client simply wanted a copy of the sitemap that had already been constructed and approved.

The fault was ours for not asking a clarifying question but it serves as a small example of the wasted effort cause by miscommunication on terms that are becoming more universal but not fully understood. Wireframes were not necessary for the scope of the project but were introduced because it’s something that “should” be done.

When planning a website project, use the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Map out what is really necessary for your project. If it’s a large web launch or a platform migration for a substantial existing site, then a full blown process of steering groups, UI testing, sitemaps, and wire frames is appropriate.

However it’s rare for most trainers, consultants and professional coaches to have a project of that scope. It’s likely that existing materials either online or offline have the core content to build out the website project. A sitemap is often advantageous to use as a checklist that you have included all your targeted content and ensure that navigation is clear. Depending on the scope of the project, additional resources might be unnecessary because live testing or initial builds will inform the optimization rather than dedicated resources beforehand.

Having a plan for your website is key but going overboard with the planning wastes time and resources that could be spent actually building out the web project.

Is Your Digital Marketing Burned-Out or Bored-Out?

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

ID-10046983In a recent conversation with a client that offers sales training and consulting, the owner said, “We’re burned out. Everything seems the same. We start putting together content and inevitably we end up writing a similar article every time.” It’s not uncommon for trainers, consultants, or professional coaches to fall into a rut because they forget the power of their content. However, that’s not burn-out, it’s bored-out.

Burn-out and bored-out are polar opposites of one another but are often referred to as if they are the same thing. Since burn-out and bored-out are opposites they call for different plans of action.

Digital marketing happens at a much quicker pace than any marketing media has in the past. It’s important to take stock of the quality of your current content to ensure you’re producing marketing communications at a level that is worthy of the product or service you provide. If it’s not valuable or insightful for your target market, then it’s a wasted effort.

If you are truly burned out, meaning the level of time, energy, and/or money is exhausting, then it’s time to re-evaluate the entire marketing mix. An over-extension on your marketing plan will lead to a collapse sooner rather than later. It’s better to re-evaluate that plan and formulate something more manageable before a total collapse occurs requiring a restart of marketing initiatives.

It’s much more common to be bored-out, meaning the content or campaign has become tiresome to you personally and creating the necessary elements has become mind numbingly dull. A revitalization process is necessary to overcome bored-out because that lack of energy will bleed into the marketing materials.

Get some outside perspective so that you can look at your digital marketing with fresh eyes. Many times a trainer, consultant, or coach’s familiarity with their expertise makes them an impossible critic. They fail to see the powerful insights in their content because it’s old news to them. An outsiders perspective that has less familiarity will highlight if bored-out Is a result over being overly critical. If it is the outside enthusiasm can reinvigorate the trainer, consultant, or professional coach.

If you confirm that your content or communication has become monotonous or dull then challenge yourself. What are some new topics or channels you can use to revitalize your digital marketing? Put some real thought into making new compelling content. If you are struggling to find new material get outside suggestions or hire help to revamp what is causing the bored-out.

Burn-out and bored-out pose equal risks to your digital marketing but be careful not to misidentify them. Burn-out calls for a slow down and re-evaluation where bored-out is often a speed up for revitalization. It’s important to handle either burn-out or bored-out urgently because a collapse will stop the entire digital marketing campaign or a lethargic uninteresting campaign will lose the target market.

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