I researched this topic for my last book, "Designing Websites:// for Every Audience," but lately I've been thinking about what makes people usable to others and how that is related to marketing.
Are you usable? Do you know what makes a person easy-to-use?
Here's what I mean:
• On a usable Web site, it's obvious what is clickable. When you speak to others, are the words you use clickable, openings for further conversation? Or do they stop the conversation in its tracks? Do you ask questions to understand what someone means by the words they use? Or do you shy away, fearing you'll seem stupid or uninformed, never quite finding the clickable connections of interests and project possibilities between you?
• On a usable Web site, text, images, actions and layout are consistent from one page to another, thereby instilling trust in the user. Are you consistent (and reliable) from one day to another?
• On a usable Web site, your clicks or other actions are acknowledged and you get feedback. Do you acknowledge others and give them feedback, or are you silent and unresponsive?
• On a usable Web site, your personal information only needs to be entered once; the site remembers it. Do you remember personal information, like other people's names?
One common denominator that flows throughout these examples is that being usable to others requires thinking about them, shifting the focus away from yourself and making space to think of others so you can help make their lives just a little bit easier - which is an excellent marketing strategy, I think.
I really believe that making ourselves more usable to others can improve our businesses (and our lives).
And I've posted some additional ideas on the topic on my new blog-specifically related to how to write usable e-mail messages-so feel free to join in the conversation here: http://stoppushingmearound.blogspot.com/.
Reprinted with permission.
Ilise Benun also publishes the 29-page report, "Practical Tips to Promote Your Business," and other marketing information. To learn more, visit the Marketing Mentor Store, www.marketing-mentor-store or contact her at PO Box 23, Hoboken, NJ 07030, Phone: (201) 653-0783.