Inspiration…Lessons…Wise Words

by on February 22, 2013

Today’s post is going to be a little different.  I found some funny and insightful and interesting comments I wanted to share.  Below the comments are my thoughts/lessons to be learned.  So there really isn’t one theme to this post and that kinda breaks my own rules but I loved all of these and couldn’t decide which one to focus on.

keepoutA little humor to get us started:

“My rates are as follow:

$50 per hour.

$75 per hour, if you watch.

$100 per hour, if you help.”

— Anonymous

Clients may not find this one funny but designers and webmasters can relate!  Clients: don’t take it personally – we all do this in some areas of our lives.  We help our doctor’s diagnose us.  We give tips to the car mechanic.  When it’s something you care about, you can’t help but give your input and want to be involved.  From a designers perspective, sometimes having a client involved feels like too many cooks in the kitchen and they just want to be free to do what they think is best.  As with most situations, honest communication usually helps things run smoothly.  The other thing to remember clients is that you hired a designer for a reason, so deferring to their expertise is wise and ensures you get the most out of the money you spend.

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” — Red Adairprofessional

This is one of my favorite expressions, along with “penny wise and pound foolish”.  I get not wanting to spend more than you have to and I also understand needing to be very cautious about your budget, especially when you factor in a tough economy.  However there is a big difference between spending your dollars wisely to get maximum value and hiring someone just because their price is the cheapest out there.

I could list so many quotes and clichés here, for example “you get what you pay for” and “you can’t get a Porsche for the cost of Toyota” and they are all true – but I won’t torture you with listing any more of them, you get the idea!

So how do you avoid falling into the lowest price pitfall?  Do research, ask questions and clarify what you are getting for your money.  Ask yourself if something appears too good to be true (because it often is).  Get on social media and ask for referrals from happy clients.  Ask any contractor you are considering hiring to show you results they have achieved.  When you compare quotes from different companies or contractors, be sure you are comparing apples to apples to do a valid price comparison.  Ask yourself what your goals are and where you currently stand and then consider Pitfallwhat you think it’ll take to achieve your goals.  It’s not reasonable to reach lofty goals without a time and/or financial commitment.

“Design is where science and art break even.” — Robin Mathew

I love this one because it doesn’t get a lot of discussion and it’s such an important point.  So many people think design is just about the art and they forget about the science.  A good designer understands the science of human behavior and the science of conversions and sales.  Creating a site that is pleasing to your eye is not necessarily going to get you the results you want.  You need to be willing to marry good design with proven marketing strategies.   Ensuring your site looks good and projects the right image is important.  Creating a design that inspires an emotional response is also a good idea.  That is the art side.  Just don’t forget to factor the other side in too.

Did you know that you can use a tool in Google Analytics to see how people are interacting with your page?  It’s a good idea to check that out and see how people are responding to your different links and calls to action.  My guess is the science side of things needs a little more attention in most cases.  In your Google Analytics account, go to Content, then In-Page Analytics.  (Note in addition to seeing how they are interacting with your layout, you’ll also see what pages are getting the most clicks and you can work on jazzing up those pages!)

“Good design means never having to say “Click Here.”” — Shawn LeslieClick-Here

This one is interesting.  Having a design that naturally creates a flow through the page to the call to action is always a good idea.  But I am a big fan of making things crystal clear and idiot proof, so I am not sure it’s bad to say Click Here.  If your design guides people to taking the most desired action, then you have a good foundation in place, but I would still back it up with a Click Here to ensure there is no doubt at all what the next step is.  Of course, if you take Click Here and add a reason why, it’s even more powerful.  It’s the psychology of human nature that we respond to requests better when there is a reason why.  Tests have showed that the reason doesn’t even matter, the mere existence of a reason is enough to impact results.  But since I’m all about taking things a step further, I say if you are going to give a reason anyway, you may as well make it benefit oriented.  So, in a perfect world, your design would naturally draw the eye to the area of the page where they are supposed to take action and then the text would tell them to click and it would tell them what’s in it for them.  Ex: “Click here to discover the top 10 things you can do right now to improve your website”.  People are a whole lot more likely to click on that, don’t you think?  So while a solid design may render the Click Here redundant, I think redundancy has its place in marketing.  J

“Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.” — Jeffrey Zeldman

Whether you are a designer of the owner of a site, this advice applies.  While it sucks to be the victim of intellectual property theft (and there are some cases where you shouldn’t just accept it and you do need to take action) I think the point of this quote is to say, create something so killer that people will want to steal it.  They do say copying is the sincerest form of flattery.

stoptime“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford.

Another one of my favorites.  Pretty straight forward.  Again, I understand, we all live in the real world and have to deal with budgets.  But cutting of the thing that helps you get new business isn’t the best decision.

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter F. Drucker

Love this one!  One of the things I like to do with clients that are having trouble making sales is dig a little deeper.  When you find and then truly understand the problem or pain point of your customer, and then you truly understand how your product or service solves the client’s problem, then you have the ability to create copy that allows the customer to so easily see the solution to the their problem in your product or service.  They can then easily sell themselves.

“What helps people, helps business.” – Leo Burnetthelpingpeople

A fundamental principle that all business owners should remember.  Make sure you are always offering value.  And once you’ve checked to ensure that you offer value, check again.  It’s that important.  Not sure what that means?  Remember that everyone buys because of a need.  It may be a true need or may be a desire that they’ve convinced themselves is a need.  But there is always an underlying reason.   Does anyone really need the latest MAC lipstick color?  No, they don’t.  But they do need to look good and feel good about themselves.  So now you’ve identified the true need.  Does someone really need the latest John Grisham book?  Probably not.  But they do need entertainment and escape from the pressures of everyday life.  Help them with that, and you’re set.  When you identify all the ways you can help your customers and potential customers, it helps your business.

And lastly….

master-marketing“Marketing takes a day to learn.  Unfortunately it takes a lifetime to master.” – Phil Kolter

Never stop learning.  Never stop testing and trying new ideas.  Never stop finding new ways to see things and approach things.  Whether it is SEO or design or copy or social media, you can always improve.  Keep acquiring knowledge and then keep putting it to use.

I hope you found this helpful.  I find inspiration in other people’s words of wisdom and I thought it would be fun to share the wise words with my added commentary.  Feel free to share your favorite quotes and your thoughts on them!



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Davis February 28, 2013 at 9:48 am

Great quotes. I also like this one by Groucho Marx- If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong. Enjoy your day!

Reply

Jennifer Horowitz February 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Another very important one! Thanks for sharing Kathy.

Reply

John February 27, 2013 at 9:52 am

Ha love that first one. I might start implementing multiple rates myself…

Reply

Jennifer Horowitz February 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Let us know how it goes John. :) I think it’s a fine idea!

Reply

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