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Marketing Top Tip Battle!

It's hard to do a really good job on anything you don't think about in the shower

Check out the essay below.

It's basically about distraction and the sort of situations you let yourself get into.

You need to focus on the right things.

This relates, to me, to the artist who needs someone else to sell their work, otherwise the art suffers.

Anyway, check it out, then take a shower:
http://www.paulgraham.com/top.html >


Readability is important

I ran four usability tests this week and two of the participants had serious difficulty reading my text on the screen.

One person was dyslexic and really struggled. 10% of people are dyslexic!

Evolutionarily, written language is completely new. Aural language is much more natural to us. So this person read aloud in order that the words could be 'input' through her ears, HOWEVER, she read many of the words incorrectly, so the sentences she read to herself didn't make sense. When that happened, she skipped to the next sentence. A bit like when your grandad talks about how he's put Tomatorite on his tomatoes no matter how often you say "it's called Tomorite". Nature's predictive text.

Another claimed to have no problem, but was not native English and although she claimed she dreamed in English, she struggled almost as much.

Let's just grasp that. Half of the people I tested couldn't easily or comfortably read the text on my website. It was hard work to them.

As a true web developer, I partly consider this a problem of accessibility. One possibility may simply have been that I didn't write clearly enough, and didn't provide enough bullet points. I've always liked the Plain English Campaign http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/ and have always wanted to take their courses but found them too expensive but I see there are some affordable options now.

Frankly, I should have also written my text for the two speeds people read at. 1) People check the first appearance for less than a second and hit the back button if it doesn't seem right. 2) People skim to see if it's going to be worth their while. 3) Only then do people read. I didn't do that. I just wrote what I wanted to write, like a proper idiot, and assumed everyone was with me.

A good web developer would consider layout for readability. Think about line length, columns, window size, line spacing, justified -v- unjustified, paragraph indentation, interparagraph spacing, arrangement of headings, typeface, colours, patterns and movement/sound distractions & letter spacing.

Web development for accessibility would then say "be sure everything (including photo captions) is available to the browser in plain text so that people with poor sight can have the website read out to them by a screen reader" .. but my test subjects would never have one of those.

A web principle is "deliver the information in whatever way the user wishes to receive it". We don't force people to use a particular format of screen like Minitel did for instance. So for these users, an audio version of the text would have worked a treat. Video, perhaps even better.

Anecdotally, a dyslexic friend of ours learned by watching. We only had to show her once and she had it. I'm guessing she got good that way as a coping mechanism. Everyone has a strength.

Now, personally, I think text is great. I don't watch video, because I think of it as a massive intrusion on my time. 5 minutes long? I'll take the text and skim it thank you. A sales video with no way to pause and skip? I'll start it playing and instead of listening to it, I'll go take a shower and come back when it's finished and is displaying the price. But that's me. I'm obviously in the minority.

So today's tweak is to do all of these things, because readability is so BIG! Check your website for readability. Add video. A Million Tweaks should be a daily podcast (interest in podcasts is rising https://trends.google.co.uk/trends/explore?geo=GB&q=podcast).


Come back another time for the ability to vote and make your own marketing planner.

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New tweaks

Are you adventurous?

Try asking your prospects "are you an adventurous person, do you like to try new things?". Plot your sales value against whether you asked the question or not. Let me know how your experiment went....>

You have to have an email system

It will almost never work to place Pay Per Click ads to a landing page where you sell something. Unless you are really world class and pick your market and product, that's not going to be profitable. ...>

What's stopping you?

What's stopping you? What's in the way of you taking the next step, or making a decision on this? It's often an inner resistance. Once you name it, you can deal with it. So .. what's stopping...>

Customers first

Check this out: https://www.jnj.com/about-jnj/jnj-credo When trouble hits, what's your first inclination? According to this, for Johnson & Johnson, it's: Customers, then Employees, then Commu...>

Use Pinboard

By the way, the page I referred to in the last Tweak came from a strategy I have from Pinboard and it goes like this. Pinboard is a bookmarking tool. Maybe it only works if you're a geek but try it...>


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Who is A Million Tweaks?

John Allsopp

Hi, I'm John Allsopp and I founded A Million Tweaks in 2009 to do just what it says, continually improve marketing systems.

Nowadays I'm still just as hungry to learn the latest and most effective marketing techniques in what is an incredibly fast moving world. Basically I buy all the training courses so you don't have to.

Actually that's not an insignificant thing. Back in the day I got a first in my degree (Internet Computing) because I did the work, obviously, but also because I studied well and that means taking information from different sources and mixing things up to find the truth in the middle, and I still do that today. I remember waking up one Sunday, switching on the wooden, push button TV we had next to the bed and Tony Buzan came on with his mind maps .. it's still how I study now.

There used to be a very popular service that read all the business books and summarised them for busy executives. I'm not sure if that's still going, but this service is like a modern equivalent, except we'll actually do the work for you too if you like.

In marketing, however, there is an absolute truth: the result. It's often more effort to talk about marketing improvements than to enact them. Don't talk: test. If it works it works. So A Million Tweaks is about making small, low risk changes every day and iterating our way to your fame and fortune.

Anyway, I was supposed to be introducing myself in this box. I live in Scarborough with my partner (who has ME/CFS). I'm 6'6" tall which I think makes me an observer. I drum in a ska band (come see us it's a great night) :-)

If you want to get in touch there's 07762 941921 but best for me is email john@johnallsopp.co.uk or hook up with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Even better, fill out the form on this page and let's get talking about how we can apply some of these marketing improvements to your business, it's no good left stuck in my head now, is it?