Writing for the Web– In our W2 Module, we learned the difference between writing for the web vs writing for print. We learned that the average internet user prefers to skim and that long text can dissuade potential customers from reading further. I learned strategies such as sentence structures, shorter paragraphs, headlines, and general web copy. As a digital marketer, writing is one of the most valuable skills to have! Writers are the voice of the business. A great writer can provide clarity, story-telling, and is the basis for blog content creation. Writing is transferable to any industry. These lessons taught me strategic writing that I will use throughout my career.
Visual Design– In our W4 Module, we learned about visual design and how it relates to marketing. I learned how images, colors, fonts and visual elements affect how users perceive your brand. I learned that certain colors incite different feelings. Our assignment was to create a graphic design promoting an event. I had the opportunity to use what I learned and put it into practice by creating a marketing piece. Flyers, Banner Ads, logos are all forms of marketing content I’ll need to know how to create. Visual components are especially effective in influencing the audience. Thanks to this module I learned concepts, found free software and had my first experience creating graphic flyers!
Social Issues with Content Creation– In our W8 Module, we learned about copyright, privacy, legal issues and fair use. Most of what we’re learning revolve around inbound marketing. When I work with businesses I’ll most likely play a role in their content creation. In our discussion we defined fair use and gave an example how we’d use it in our marketing. The legal issues with content today cause a lot of commotion. There’s confusion, confrontation, ambiguity, and is something I can possibly run into when I do real world projects. I don’t want to deal with it. The best way to deal with it is learning what I can do to avoid legal issues when I create content.
Branding– In week 4 we learned about branding for your business. I learned online branding is not just your logo and website. Branding is how your customers feel about your product. Branding is the visual elements, the story you tell, and the message you inspire in your audience. It’s clear that the most successful businesses of today were able to tug the heartstrings of the consumers. In our W4 Blogpost, I had to analyze DO The Extraordinary and identify what they’re doing online to enhance their brand. I am fascinated with branding. Outside of this class, I’m constantly reading, learning techniques and studying the best brands in the market. I plan to make branding my forte in my marketing. This module helped me understand the different ways businesses do branding on the web, identifying them and explain my reason.
E-Commerce– In Week 2 we learned about the components of e-commerce. Our discussion assignment was to identify what the company was offering, how they accepted money and the shopping journey. We watched videos and read articles that taught us about various e-commerce strategies. The assignment was to analyze a small business, commercial and non-profit website and take notes on what could use improvement. Proactively finding solutions to e-commerce platforms will benefit the businesses I work with in the future.
Usability Test Report– The final project for this class was to design, conduct and create a usability test report. This gave real-world experience on professional UX testing. Testing and finding areas of improvement for a website can be costly. Small businesses may not have the knowledge or the resources to do one. This means their web presence can be lacking in many areas, which can result in setbacks and customer dissatisfaction. Poor UX. E-Commerce is the new normal. Everyone is shopping online. Businesses need to ensure they follow best practices. After this project, I can confidently say I know how to conduct a usability test. Having this experience makes me more valuable in the marketplace.
Email newsletter- Email will play an essential role in our lead nurturing system. We want to build rapport with potential clients looking for information on buying/selling homes. Strategically crafted landing pages and an email sign-up form will call users to stay connected. The example I used in my multi-marketing piece included an open house invite, what to expect from the e-newsletter and a free pdf guide from Quicken Loans. We want to provide valuable content that builds trust, gives clients what they’re looking for and work towards an opportunity to meet in person. Our blog posts and videos will be included in our email newsletter. Emails will be tailored towards our potential client’s needs (home buyer, home sellers, aspiring agents). Email services like AWeber and Mailchimp offer great analytics, tools and templates. Tracking email analytics (open rates, CTR) will help me drive the results and see what needs improving. 1-4 emails per month.
Flyer- Canva is a free software I’ll use to create beautiful graphics. Flyers, event promotions and homes for sale will be posted on Facebook. We want our viewers to like, share and engage with us on social networks. Visual pieces provide opportunities to engage and build brand awareness. We’ll use these visuals to get people visiting our site to find more information. They’ll be included in both our e-newsletters and website. Graphic visuals will be made and posted when necessary.
Video- One video per week. Videos will be included on our website, e-newsletters and facebook posts. We’ll have our own YouTube for the company. Videos will cover buying/selling tips, information, events, testimonials, and conversations. I plan to meet with team members once a week to come up with engaging videos that our audience can benefit from. YouTube analytics (shares, likes, comments) will be monitored carefully and used to make improvements. This will be the heart of our content strategy.
This usability test was done by the man, the myth, the legend himself; Mr. Steve Krug. Throughout the video, I made some key observations in preparation for my first usability test. Up to this point, the concept seemed simple enough. Ask users to do specific tasks and take notes. But continuing research I learned of the different factors to be aware of such as; how do I answer if they have questions? What can I say to keep the test productive? What should I be taking notes of specifically?
Here are some segments and what I took away from this usability test on “ZipCar” with Steve Krug.
“First go ahead and look around, what strikes you about it, give me a little narrative, what kinds of things would you do on this site?” -Before giving his tasks, he asks his tester to observe the homepage. Originally I might’ve jumped straight into the tasks, but this kind of information can be essential to revising the front page. During my test, I made sure I asked these questions and took notes.
“okay. okay. hmm. okay.” – I learned that when communicating you want to be neutral. Simple phrases like “okay” and “hm” may seem redundant in normal conversation, but is a good way to remind yourself to remain neutral.
“figure out how much it costs to rent a Zipcar ___ hours a week and ___ days a month” – The first task was very specific. The scenario was elaborate, with a story that puts the tester right in the shoes of a potential user. This gave me insight on creating an effective scenario, that’s realistic and can lead to productive findings.
“what do you think that means” – This is a great question to ask I’ve learned. Steve gives a list on his website called “Things a Psychiatrist Would Say”. It’s important that as a tester we do as little to interfere with the process. Playing Devil’s Advocate, and asking questions that elaborate versus giving away the answers is key in usability testing.
Krug, S. (n.d.). Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug: Usability Demo. Retrieved March 04, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QckIzHC99Xc
My first networking experience was at 16 years old – As a club promoter for Diamond Nightclub in Seattle. Every weekend I’d reach out to different circles of friends and get them to come to the nightclub. The more people I got to come out, the more I got paid!
The value of networking comes from building relationships. These relationships lead to new opportunities that can take your business to the next level. There’s a reason why “Your network is your net worth” and “It’s not what you know its who you know” are still popular mantras today. The collective power of community has the potential to bring the brightest minds together and make an impact. “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours” – Les Brown.
What I like about networking most, is stepping out my comfort zone for new opportunities. I’ve had phases in life where I either felt extremely anxious at public events or was the life of the party. My most recent networking event was Seattle Interactive Conference 2015. I volunteered one day and the next day I went alone. Even though I met a lot of cool people, I felt anxious at times throughout the day. Like I needed to talk to people and if I didn’t I’d be succumbing to my insecurities. What do I say? I don’t have a business, I’m just a kid in school. What value can I really add?
I didn’t have much to offer at the time, but as I’m learning, improving, and becoming more valuable I’m starting to lose my shyness. To get better at networking I need to identify my value proposition, continue my personal development and keep stepping out of my comfort zone.