Archives for May 2013

Congratulations to Jani and Kent!

In a previous email about Ryan Rotz’s transition, I wrote this:

Kent is moving toward more content acquisition and product configuration. He’ll be working more closely with Publisher Relations, our publishing partners, and potential authors to help us get more awesome content. Jani is transitioning into the role of team lead of the Product Creation Team. We’ll soon have three distinct teams in the Product Group: Product Acquisition, Product Creation, and Product Promotion.

I’m pleased to announce that Jani Snell is now the official team lead of the new Product Creation Team. She’s done a fabulous job in her responsibilities as the assistant team lead of the Product Team, and it’s clear that she’s ready for more responsibility.

As the Product Group grows and expands, we’re splitting the former Product Team into three teams:

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How Boba Fett Sells Lightsabers & Plans Content

“Click-throughs? My gun clicks when I’ve gone through my ammo . . . .”

Good news: you just got the opportunity to promote base packages for the next three months. It’s a huge campaign, and your manager is sure it can bring in 1.5 million dollars. You’re cleared for two Logos Talk blog posts per week, and Lauron, Dark Lord of MarTar, is giving your campaign green lights on any email list you want to hit.

Now you need to plan out content. What will you say? Here’s one way I like to plan messaging—but let’s use a cooler role model than me.

How Boba Fett sells lightsabers

Let’s say Boba Fett has killed so many Jedi that he starts selling off his trophy lightsabers. There’s no discount, and they’re pretty pricey. He’s also interested in selling lightsabers to the Christian market, so he adopts a system of marketing channels similar to those of Logos . . . but in space.

So where does he start?

First, he makes a list of reasons people might want a lightsaber:

  1. It’s the supreme cutting tool.
  2. It’s an elegant weapon from a more civilized age.
  3. It’s not as clumsy or random as a blaster.
  4. It blocks and reflects blaster bolts.
  5. It makes you look really cool.

There are more benefits, of course, but this will do for now.

Second, he makes a list of the audiences that these benefits would appeal to:

  1. Youth pastors
  2. Sci-fi enthusiasts
  3. People who often cut difficult-to-cut things
  4. Sith and Empire sympathizers
  5. Jedi wannabes

Nice! A list of selling points and a long list of customers.

Now he’ll list his available marketing channels:

  1. Blogs
  2. In-app messaging
  3. Emails
  4. Social
  5. Homepage slides

Now he does a little math:

If there are five benefits and five audiences and five channels, then Boba has a lot of options when it comes to messaging. He’s not limited to just one blog post about all five benefits to all five audiences. In fact, there are more than 125 combinations here (5 benefits x 5 audiences x 5 channels).

He chooses the ones to use in his sales campaign, beginning with a general, birds-eye-view message that speaks to everyone about all the benefits, then getting targeted right after that.

The sweet lightsaber-selling plan is almost done; it’s time for a sanity check. After all, some of these messages will be more #enpointe than others:

  • Email to sci-fi lovers about the lightsaber’s elegance: great
  • Facebook post for youth pastors about looking cool: terrific
  • Homepage slide for Jedi wannabes about blocking blaster bolts: probably too targeted for such a general channel
  • Email to Empire sympathizers about its superiority to blasters: offensive

Now the galaxy’s deadliest bounty hunter is armed with months’ worth of content ideas, and he’s going to make bank.

Now, try it with your promotion.

Make a list of reasons anybody would want to participate in your promotion. Then make a list of the kinds of people you think would pay attention to those reasons. Now, what channels can you use to reach them?

I bet you can come up with at least 50 things to say.

There’s an outline of this exercise on the wiki: check it out!

Five things customers want

On CopyBlogger today Sean Jackson wrote about five things that customers want:
5

  1. Ease
  2. Physical comfort
  3. Mental stimulation
  4. Identity reinforcement
  5. Social acknowledgement

How does this resonate with you? What are your thoughts on how this can be applied to Logos?

For those into behavioral theory, how does this stack up against Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Join the conversation!

Google Designers Talk Copy [Video]

Skip to the 20-minute mark here for insights into how Android designers write UI copy. The takeaways: “Keep It Brief,” “It’s Not My Fault,” and “Sprinkle Encouragement.”

That’s all UI-specific, of course, but the copy examples are worth a look.

KPCB Internet Trends 2013

“The latest edition of the annual Internet Trends report finds continued robust online growth. There are now 2.4 billion Internet users around the world, and the total continues to grow apace. Mobile usage is expanding rapidly, while the mobile advertising opportunity remains largely untapped. The report reviews the shifting online landscape, which has become more social and content rich, with expanded use of photos, video and audio. Looking ahead, the report finds early signs of growth for wearable computing devices, like glasses, connected wrist bands and watches – and the emergence of connected cars, drones and other new platforms.”

Email Etiquette in a Growing Business

Email-Etiquette-2Many of you know that I came to Logos from a rather large company — the largest in the world, in fact. As Logos continues to grow, there are a few areas of our business that could be tweaked, in order to help alleviate growing pains.

And based on my short time here, I think one of those areas is email etiquette.

As a smaller company, email, phone conversations, and even Lync chats can seem superfluous. If you have a question, concern, or project you need finalized, you simply walk down the hall and ask the person directly. The amount of meetings in a smaller company allows for this sort of casual flexibility, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

But as a company like Logos begins to grow, emerging from the shell of a “small business” and morphing into something — dare I say — more “corporate,” we must adjust some of the ways we communicate, in order to continue to be efficient, effective, and profitable (while still preserving the laid-back, “start up” vibe).

I would certainly never suggest that we adopt any hard-and-fast rules, nor should we all of a sudden become a company with corporate “red tape” and a litany of endless policies and procedures. After all, I left that work life behind for a reason. But there are some general tips we can appropriate for the benefit of not only productivity, but also the general sanity and well-being of Logos as a whole. I also think this is especially important as we continue to bring on new employees from a variety of big-business backgrounds.

  • Don’t reply to say “Thank you,” unless there’s more to the conversation. This is a pet peeve of many, and while it is nice to be thanked, this is probably best left being done in person. I struggle with this one, personally, so I’m sorry if I’ve ever sent you a ton of “Thank yous!”
  • Summarize long discussions. Don’t just forward a lengthy chain of emails without any explanation. Instead, give the receiver a synopsis of the discussion/project/problem up to that point, so they can quickly respond and act on the matter.
  • Reply promptly. This might seem counter-intuitive to productivity, especially if someone just says “I don’t know the answer, let me find out,” but it is vital from the standpoint of both company morale and long-term efficiency. People want to know that they are being listened to, and that their concerns are being addressed, but they also want to know that their project is moving forward. We have great resources like the Wiki and Asana to track projects — but always point a person to such resources, in case they’re not aware of the status of a project (or where it’s located).
  • Be proactive. Think about other follow-up questions or issues that might arise as part of your discussion, and answer them before they’re asked. This saves time, and helps others think through their projects. Two heads are better than one.
  • Only copy relevant people. Don’t cc the entire office when you want to reply to a single person. Don’t bcc someone if you’re concerned they might Reply All. And don’t Reply All unless it’s to tell us that the building is on fire.

More tips on email etiquette can be found here.

The better we are at communicating through services such as email and Lync, the more we’ll accomplish as a business. Because let’s face it: as we continue to grow, our face-to-face time will be less and less, and the need to streamline communication will only increase.

What do you think? What are other ways we can help improve our communication as a growing business?

Are you “dogfooding”?

DogfoodingDogfooding” (or “eating your own dogfood”) refers to a company’s use of its own products in order to discover usability problems, poor customer experiences, inelegance, etc.

Are you dogfooding? If not, you should be.

I’d argue that a marketing department should do more than just use its company’s products; it should also follow the company’s customer-facing communication, participate in its programs, etc.

Here are some ways you can (and should) be dogfooding:

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5 Excel Skills Every Marketer Should Have

I found parts of this article quite helpful (even though the title is poorly worded: you have skills; you don’t know them).

It covers these five areas:

  1. Table formatting
  2. Charting
  3. Pivot tables
  4. Functions
  5. Advanced filters

If you’re looking to improve your Excel skills (and you should be!), the article is worth your time.

Who are you targeting?

Creators: Pastor, church leaders, seminarians, etc. This group creates sermons, messages, papers, etc.

Consumers: Christian families, individuals who are not pastors/in seminary, but who are interested in studying the Bible at a deeper level.

Creators

Consumers

More Logical More Emotional
Want a seminary library at their fingertips (1,076 resources!) Want their questions answered (this answers my question about marriage!)
Easily recognize the value:It’s for pastors! It’s for me! Need to be shown the value:It’s for pastors. Why buy it?
Need to be shown how to use it to prepare messages (e.g. prepare a sermon) Need to be shown how to use it to answer questions (e.g. what does the Bible say about dating?)
Bible Study Tools for Pastors video Bible Study Tools for Families video

Who is your target audience?

The Ultimate Guide to Conversion-Centered Design

The Ultimate Guide to Conversion-Centered DesignGood design is effective design. If a page fails to accomplish its goal well, it’s worthless—no matter how beautiful or easy to use it is.

Unbounce has a great free resource that deals with this subject: “The Ultimate Guide to Conversion-Centered Design.”

Here’s what it covers:

  1. Conversion Centered Design vs. User Centered Design: Find out how design is evolving
  2. The Seven Principles of Conversion Centered Design: Build from a solid foundation
  3. CTA Design & Page Placement: Best practices for the strongest CTA’s
  4. Persuasive Copywriting: Work with your prospects, not against them
  5. A/B Testing Designs for Higher Conversions: Test your designs for optimal results
  6. Designing for Mobile Conversion: Embrace the platforms your customers use
  7. Conversion-Based Page Templates: Example landing pages designed for conversion

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