Technology is everywhere! During the past few weeks, it has been the main way that we have been able to stay in contact with one another, yet I’d like to think that actually, the best technology is effectively invisible.
This isn’t to say that we can’t see it, more that we don’t notice it. It is effective. It just works.
Even so, people do normally ‘notice’ technology in the first instance. Top technology companies have turned ‘unboxing’ into an art form. The look and touch of the latest iPhone are carefully designed to make us feel good! This is all very well but ultimately it is what you can do with the phone that matters. A handset is just a tool that allows you to communicate, surf, photograph, or whatever? The look and feel may be important to start with but, at the end of the day, you just want it to work. It is what you do that matters.
The same is true when it comes to the technology you use in marketing your business. It may be nice to have all the bells and whistles but what really matters is that your customers and prospects, who engage with you, are fully focussed on your marketing message rather than the technology you use to deliver it. You want the technology to be so good that people don’t notice it!
UX is the key – but stay focussed on your goals
User eXperience (UX) is a significant and growing field in the world of marketing. However, like so many aspects of technology in marketing, it is being sold as a design solution rather than a practical solution. Talk of the psychology of colours and the positioning of key elements on forms and web-pages can lead to an expensive bill but (IMHO) is of limited practical value for the majority of SME businesses and websites.
Use your own experience of your business, customers and markets. You know what you want to offer and what people are looking for. Make sure you deliver in a straightforward way. This sentiment applies equally to your marketing.
For most of us, we should be focussing on a clear message with well laid out, straightforward navigation to our web content – and no dead ends! You can test this yourself, or ask friends & colleagues to take a look. There will always be someone who can offer another tweak or refinement but ask yourself if these make any significant improvement. Incremental/marginal gains in UX can be expensively unnecessary. Don’t try to make your marketing technology perfect. It never will be! What is important is that it works seamlessly.
Website Speed – Fast enough is fast enough
Some people are fixated by website speed tests. Whatever speed-score their website delivers, they want it to be faster. It becomes irrelevant whether the real-world performance of the website delivers a good and positive experience for their site visitors. It becomes all about making the numbers better – even if this delivers no real value or benefit. Are marginal gains in site speed really worth it if?
If I had to pick, I would say that speed isn’t everything – fixation on speed tests isn’t as important as UX – fast enough is fast enough. A slightly slower, well flowing site is better than a fast site with poor logic/navigation that frustrates visitors or leads them to dead ends.
Focus on effective functionality
If users can find a way to break your website, they will! Better that you break it first. If you have tried to break your new web system, and failed, you can be confident that it is OK to launch on your market.
Even if you have failed to find the flaws in functionality and flow of your website, those flaws will still be there – and the chances are someone will find them, even if they are extremes!
Unless you are anticipating very high traffic on your site from the start (in which case it should be worth investing in some careful and comprehensive testing and a phased roll-out of a new site), I recommend that you make sure that you are ready to handle the process failures and bugs manually in the first instance.
This process has benefit for most businesses:
- It is more cost-effective
- No need to second guess every single possibility (and programme in solutions from the start that will rarely, if ever, be used)
- If you have a good, flexible system, you can always add functionality
Accepting that you will need to keep a close eye on your new system for a while and be ready to jump in and sort any problems that visitors experience, quickly.
I reckon that good system that is live and working for you and your business is more use than waiting until you have perfection before launch. Even if some visitors do experience the odd glitch, helping them quickly with backup and support can send a strong and positive message about your business
My tips for effective marketing technology for your business…
- Never forget that marketing technology and websites are the means, not the end to achieving your marketing and business objectives.
- Start the process then evolve with experience. With development platforms such as WordPress, it is easy to add functionality based on real-world experience.
- You can start with a simple system and, over time, evolve it into a sophisticated, yet practical, web-application to help drive your business.
- The best technology for your business is invisible to your customers. It just works. It is your business that they see and remember.
- Get support from someone who understands both business process and technology. Someone who can support you in achieving your business goals, not just someone who does what you tell them.
Get in touch if you would like to chat.