Jul 13

Avoid the Carousel


Every time I consider putting up a carousel on a property, I remind myself just how horrible of an experience every carousel I’ve ever used has been. Not to mention, there is no standard implementation out there that is immediately user-friendly as an interface.

Today a friend sent me to http://shouldiuseacarousel.com. I recommend bookmarking it to visit every time you think adding a carousel is a good idea.

‚ÄúCarousels are effective at being able to tell people in Marketing/Senior Management that their latest idea is on the Home Page. Use them to put content that users will ignore on your Home Page.”


Jul 13

Don’t Introduce Fears Where None Exist: Questioning Security Messaging Online


Having been in the e-commerce space for quite some time now, there are a lot of standard actions that most sites tend to partake in – best practices, if you will.

One of these is the use of security messaging online. This could be as simple as a privacy guarantee, or something more complex like a “guaranteed secure” logo or badge from a leading security firm. What’s interesting though, is that even though it may seem a given that reinforcing security measures on your site (especially in e-commerce, where payment information is often stored on the servers) would be a positive, it in fact can be be detrimental to your overall success.

Continue reading →

Jul 13

Further Learnings on Ethics-Based Messaging: Legality vs. “Respect”

devil duckIf you’ve been reading here lately, you’ll know that I’ve been doing some A/B/n tests to determine if it is possible to affect conversion rate of customers looking for free content by introducing “ethics-based” messaging into the page. As I reported previously, it definitely appears to work – at least in the tests I’ve done so far – but upon further research additional knowledge is starting to surface. Continue reading →

Jul 13

Ethical Reminders Have a Positive Impact: Increasing Conversion Rate on Digital Media Sell-Through Via “Morality Messaging”

Some time back, we identified an issue where customers were hitting product pages for our digital media content, but then abandoning the site immediately after. After seeing this, we dug in a bit further and saw that the majority of this was from customers coming directly to the site via Google or other search engines.

The best way to get to the bottom of this behavior, we decided, was to put together a survey and ask customers why they were leaving. After gathering quite a bit of feedback, the reason became abundantly clear: roughly 75% of respondents said they “decided not to purchase” because they “wanted the product for free.” (And that doesn’t include the people who would be too embarrassed to admit such a thing!)

Well, obviously making product free wasn’t an option – at least not if we actually wanted to retain licenses, continue to exist as a company, or follow any sort of ethical standards we have in place. So we struggled a bit – was this group of visitors simply a lost cause? Were they people who just weren’t going to be converted to customers? Continue reading →

Jun 13

Avoiding Cannibalization in a Loyalty Program

For the past few months I’ve been hard at work building out a new loyalty program for my company. We’re working with a great partner (500Friends) and I’ve been doing a lot of extra research while I’m at it (books I recommend: Loyalty Myths and The Loyalty Leap) – but building out a loyalty program is definitely a complicated process.

In particular, what I’m finding to be especially tricky is finding the balance between offering customers a program that’s worth being a part of, while at the same time making it financially viable for the company. One issue of utmost importance has been to determine what behaviors we want to reward our customers for doing, thereby encouraging and guiding that behavior. This, however, has been the fairly easy part. As long as we know what company goals are (this is much more than just rewards for purchases, by the way), it’s fairly simple to determine which behaviors we want to drive.

Where it gets more difficult is in determining what rewards are worth giving out – and here we’re doing a bit of guesswork coupled with our knowledge of our customer (through experience, feedback, etc). It’s easy to reward people with coupons and free product, and frankly a lot of customers are going to want that – so we need to offer it. The thing is though, these have costs associated with them, and those costs are beyond just what the actual product cost is. What’s particularly important to take into account here when determining rewards, and what we’re working on figuring out, is how much cannibalization of additional sales you incur at the same time. Continue reading →

Jun 13

Getting In Touch With Your Company

In my role of Chief Growth Officer, my focus is on growth (obviously), but what that is limited to is an area where I do my best to keep the boundaries blurry. Growth, after all, is more than just improving marketing ROAS or venturing into new products or markets. When you’re focusing on growth, you also need to focus on growth for your employees and the company as a whole. But how do you grow people, especially outside of general HR type practices?

The way I went about this was by a simple project: I made it a point to sit down and talk with every employee in our company.

It was a project that I undertook with a bit of trepidation. After all, opening the door to communication may sound great on the surface, but you’re also opening the door to hear things that you may not necessarily want to hear. Knowing this, I went into this with that as an actual goal: I encouraged my team members to tell me everything – good and bad.

I didn’t look for a specific set of answers, and I especially wasn’t looking to guide a conversation to reenforce my own biases as to what we should be doing and focusing our efforts on. Instead, I put together a simple guide for how the conversation would go, and put in a time limit of a half hour so we could do our best to stay on track (some ran over, some ran under – but it helped to keep discussions generally on topic).

Here’s how a general conversation was structured. Continue reading →

Jan 12

Starving the Artist is FREE Forever. Download the Free E-Book.

My book, ‘Starving the Artist: How the Internet Culture of “Free” Threatens to Exterminate the Creative Class and What Can Be Done to Save It’ is, from this point forward, free FOREVER as a PDF download.

Yes, it sounds ironic – but if you read the book you’ll understand the point here. I wrote Starving the Artist. It is mine. I alone have the right to determine how much it should cost. And now, with all the back-and-forth over property rights, I’ve decided it’s more important for people to read my book and gain some perspective than it is to try to convince them to pay for it. After all, the book is not meant to preach to the choir. It is meant to be a thoughtful conversation on the value of intellectual property and how property rights encourage quality creative works to continue to be created.

Anyway, just go download your free copy here.

Just promise you’ll actually read it.