This is a slightly longer post.
I’m sure you learn a new thing about your online business 2 or 3 times a week (if not more). When that lesson happens what do you do? Do you just internalize it or note it down? If you note it down are you noting it in a format that an intern could easily read or grasp, or are you writing it down for just yourself?
The fact is that 90% of these daily lessons evaporate into nothingness, which is why I strongly recommend noting them down and making note in a language that someone totally inexperienced could read and make sense of. I use a dead simple free site called http://30boxes.com/. I’ve been using it since 2010. The site has a very simple interface, it’s essentially a page with 30 boxes, one for each day of the month. If you click a box a popup appears where you can type in your daily learning. The lesson needs to be written in a summarized format (around 7 words). You can use Bitly.com to add a short link to a Google Doc for lessons that are more detailed, but my advice is to keep things simple.
I make it a point to note one lesson a day. It’s not always easy to do because some days I feel I didn’t learn anything new, but that’s not true. I just need to think through my day and a lesson will pop. If you want to keep your learnings private just mark them as ‘private’. I personally don’t think this is needed because your calendar is only accessible via your login and password.
Every 30 days I have a calendar reminder to review daily learnings. I randomly scroll back, select a month, and go over the lessons for that month. It never takes more than 5 minutes and always ends up reminding me of a few forgotten lessons. It’s also a great way to have a reality check. Sometimes I just feel my mind isn’t learning anything new but when I go through daily learnings it immediately dispels that myth. We ARE learning all the time, we’re just not cataloging it properly.
Another cool benefit is that if I vaguely remember a lesson but want more detail 30boxes.com has a search box where you can enter the name of the idea (for example “reactivation email”) and see every idea with the phrase “reactivation email” in it.
I felt I had seen every tactic possible to goose email signups (example, example, and example). Then I saw this clever tactic on basspro.com. Below their main advertisement banner they have a giant SOLD OUT! sign for a $10 catch of the week item—
A naive person would think it’s silly to waste so much homepage real-estate promoting an item shoppers can’t even buy (it’s sold out). But basspro.com isn’t naive, they understand human psychology and know shoppers hate the idea of missing out of something (even if they weren’t really interested in this particular item). Basspro.com isn’t advertising a sold-out item, they’re advertising a solution for shoppers who never want to feel like they’ve missed out on a deal. That’s what they’re using this vital homepage real-estate for.
To minimize cart abandon rates homedepot.com shows shoppers how much they’re saving (in this case 33%) and also reminds them that the saving they’re about to enjoy is only valid few more days—
Great way to incentivize on-the-fence shoppers to take action today. Homedepot.com knows shoppers who leave thinking ‘they’ll be back real soon’ tend not to return.
I’ve talked about the importance of About Us pages many, many, many times and each example is a unique way of presenting About Us content. But, if you have a really short About Us message you may like how bulbman.com displays their About Us content. I don’t like their content per se but I do like the format in which they display it. Again, this only works if your About Us content is really short. On bulbman.com About Us is a link on top navigation, and on mouse over they show About Us content as the dropdown—
In a previous post I debated if Quick View interface was really needed. Basically, Quick View is a mechanism online retailers use to allow shoppers to buy directly from subcategory pages (bypassing the product page). Example—
When Quick View is clicked a lightbox like this appears—
Why I hate Quick View— product images on category pages are shrunk down, and Quick View takes up a fair amount of image screen real-estate. Thus, it’s highly likely people will end up clicking it accidentally, I know I do. If you really must use Quick View do what onlinefabricstore.net does. On their subcategory page they anchor Quick View link at bottom of product image—
As I was casually browsing through poppin.com an email signup popup appeared. Was annoyed and ready to click (x) but reading their popup message totally calmed me down—
Debspecs.com is an online retailer of reading glasses. They wanted to make a web commercial for new site visitors. This is what they created—
Sure it isn’t anywhere close to the polished product they would have got working with an advertising agency, but it also probably took 1/15th the time to complete and cost 99% less. And it still fulfills the core objective— using humor to get new visitors to take note of debspecs.com.