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How to use video to increase sales for small business

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I’ll never forget the first video I made for my business. Literally wiping my clammy hands on my jeans, shifting my blazer every few seconds, blotting my face with a bath towel because the light kit I’d purchased was hotter than a tanning bed. A good friend of mine and successful YouTube creator had convinced me that I could use video to increase sales for my business, but I had no idea it was this angst-ridden.

I pressed record, sauntered to my little tape line on the floor and made sure I was centered like I’d practiced a handful of times. I squeaked, “Hi, I’m Bryan Caplan …” and stopped. I ran back behind the camera, pressed stop and pressed record once more. The next time, I’d get a little further in my spiel, then mess up again and repeat the madness. Before I knew it, I’d tallied up 2,000 steps on my Apple Watch because of all the back and forth redos.

I thought I had a great take, and I sent it to my business partner, Jake. His reply: “You look angry.” Over 30 takes, and that’s all I get! I literally fell to the floor and slumped over in resignation.

I sat there for a moment with my head in my hands, thinking that video marketing was not for me.

Sure, I could build websites or design fancy email marketing campaigns, but I’d met my match with video.

Then I heard a knock on the door. “Daddy, can I come in?” It was my daughter, Olivia, coming to see how my first jaunt in filmmaking was going. When I opened the door, she oohed and aahed at all the equipment I’d sunk my money into. “Wow, Dad, this is amazing! Are you famous?” I couldn’t help but smile as I showed her around and explained what I was doing. It was that little visit from Livi that gave me the boost I needed for one more take.

I stood up, wiped my hands, adjusted my blazer and blotted my face. This time, I was going to do it. As I pressed record, I started in with my New Year’s message. I wrapped the shot and stopped the camera. This was it! I watched and rewatched the video, each time reassuring myself that this was my best take! Before sending it to Jake, I added my editing magic and a fancy animation.

When it was done, I showed it to my wife, Linda, and Olivia. “Wow, that’s great! You look so handsome!” Ego point for me!

I sent it to Jake. “Looks good!” he said simply. I took that as a win.

I published the video on YouTube, and we sent it to our digital marketing clients. We got a few replies of Happy New Year and considered that a huge win. People enjoyed the video!

Fast forward four years. I came across the video as I was writing this blog post, and I felt the need to share it with you, so you can learn from my failed production how to use video to increase sales. Take a look…

How to use video to increase sales and avoid key mistakes

When you watch my first video, there are four key takeaways to improve your own videos:

  1. Double-check your background.
  2. Invest in your lighting.
  3. Listen to your audio.
  4. Smile!

1. Double-check your video background

When the pandemic started, my wife and I were glued to the news desperately trying to understand what was going on so we could protect our family from COVID-19. Back then (it seems like forever), virtually all news correspondents were reporting from home since we were on lockdown.

I’ll never forget watching one such newscast, and I was unable to listen to a single word because I was distracted by her background.

 

The distraction wasn’t my two kids getting into a squabble or our two puppies pawing for my attention, it was a single picture frame behind the reporter that was on a slant. She must have had 10 frames behind her, but this one was on a steep slant, and I fixated on it. I even told my wife, “She really needs to straighten that frame.” It had nothing to do with the breaking news she was delivering, but I just couldn’t stop telepathically willing her to fix the frame.

Oddly enough, your viewers are probably doing the same thing when they watch your videos. They’re using every piece of visual information they can to determine if they know, like and trust you enough to continue watching your video.

Best practices for your video background

There are three key things you want to do to ensure your video background is professional:

  1. Think visually.
  2. Consider using a green screen.
  3. Show your logo or branding.

1. Think visually

Before you record your entire video, record a “test take.” Simply press record and talk for a few seconds, then stop recording.

Now, play back that take.

  • Do you see anything out of place behind you?
  • Does anything need to be moved, straightened or removed?
  • Is there anything that would distract — or worse, offend — your viewers or detract from your professionalism?

You want to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Is anything going to take away from their viewing experience enough that they’d either stop watching or wouldn’t take action?

2. Consider using a green screen

Green screens are great because you don’t have to worry about all the knickknacks and tchotchkes behind you. A green screen allows you to replace your background through chroma key technology. The Adobe website explains how it works:

Shooting with a green screen involves filming a person or adding visual effects in front of a solid color. Then, by digitally removing or “keying out” that color, you can drop that scene onto the background of your choice in post-production. Removing the colored background is also referred to as “chroma keying.”

Using a green screen does require some video editing know-how, but it makes for a much more polished video. You can use programs like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to fill in a photo or video behind you.

You’d be amazed how affordable green screens are nowadays, and there are plenty of options.

 

You can purchase a simple green sheet (make sure it’s ironed) and hang it from the ceiling or a laundry line. You also can purchase an actual green screen. Personally, I purchased a pull-down green screen (think back to the overhead projector screen your teacher would pull down in elementary school.) Ultimately, whatever works with your budget is your best starting point.

3. Show your logo or branding

In my first video fail, notice how I had the old logo for BJC Branding, my marketing agency, behind my left shoulder. That’s not by accident. I actually found a canvas printing website, uploaded my logo and ordered an oversized canvas to hang on my wall. Every subsequent video included my branding, which helped to bolster brand resonance in my videos.

What is brand resonance? Not to bring politics into it, but think back to the months leading up to an election. Can you still see the unending parade of lawn signs and bumper stickers surrounding you at every turn? That’s what we call brand resonance. The more you see a specific candidate’s branding, the more they bounce around in your head. They stop top of mind.

Want another logo hack? Consider screen printing a T-shirt or sweatshirt with your logo, so you can record your videos on the go.

Of course, if you are a savvy video editor, you can overlay your logo on your videos to make sure people are seeing your brand while enjoying your content.

Notice also how my head is trapped in a clock. I was trying to look fancy, but it didn’t work for me. Instead, I looked like an astronaut or someone stuck in a fishbowl. Despite my best effort to look fancy, I would have just removed the clock from the wall.

2. Invest in quality lighting

You wouldn’t believe the light set I had purchased for a huge deal on Amazon. It was one of those bargains that was dramatically discounted, and I couldn’t believe my good fortune … then I unpacked it. And I realized it was reduced to sell because it could have filled a Hollywood studio and generated enough heat to fry an egg on my floor. Add that to my list of impulse buys that missed the mark.

Now, you can grab a ring light and some backup LED lights for a fraction of the price. Bonus: It won’t act as a mobile tanning bed while you’re filming, which means no wiping sweat from your brow every five minutes.

In the video fail, I had shadows on my face, and that’s one thing you want to avoid if at all possible.

Shadows cast doubt because they hide something.

 

Think back to the show “America’s Most Wanted.” Do you remember how the informants were hidden in the shadows? They were hiding their identity. Because of my poor lighting, it’s like I’m saying, “Happy New Year … now give me your money so I can invest it in more substandard videos in January.”

If you don’t have the budget for a proper lighting set, no problem! Plan your shots during the day (fingers crossed that it’s sunny) and face the sun. Now you can soak up some vitamin D and record your video at the same time.

If you’re recording during an overcast day or later in the day, you can “MacGyver” a floor lamp into studio lighting. Take a look at how my business partner, Jake, and I used this makeshift setup when recording a set of videos on his back porch in Florida.

3. Listen to your audio

When I recorded the video fail, I went all out! I researched and found this fantastic mirrorless high-end camera that cost a boatload. Then I invested a small fortune in the boom mic attachment that only worked with that specific camera. I knew I needed the best if I wanted my videos to be the best. Wrong!

My office at the time had a laminate floor and a few pieces of furniture, so sound resonated off the walls. I purchased such a fancy piece of equipment that I didn’t know how to properly use the microphone attachment. It’s as if I were recording in an echo chamber, and it really degraded the audio portion of my message.

Learn from my folly. You don’t need the fancy new camera.

 

In fact, a smartphone (especially one made within the past three or four years) is going to produce amazing video quality and comes with a high-functioning internal microphone. That said, I would definitely suggest investing in an external microphone (a boom mic or lavalier mic) that plugs into your phone.

EXPERT TIP: To find a mic that works with your phone, simply go to Google and type in “iphone 12 mic” or “Samsung phone mic.

4. Smile!

After 35 takes, I’d lost my oomph! When you record a video, you put undue stress on yourself and increasing pressure each time you stop and re-record. It’s easy to lose your upbeat vibe and feel defeated, but don’t hunch those shoulders just yet. Instead, smile.

In the words of Dale Carnegie:

It costs nothing but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich they can get along without it and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.

The power of a smile is unmatched, and your inclusion of a smile in your video is critical. Carnegie went so far as to include it as the fifth principle in his legendary book “How to Make Friends and Influence People.” (Highly recommended reading if you don’t have it on your bookshelf yet.)

By smiling when you start your video, you build an instant rapport with your audience and break down barriers with those watching you for the first time.

Avoid that awkward split second where you go from normal face to smile. If you can, try to start your video mid-smile.

Looking at my video fail, how could anyone feel the vibe of a happy new year when I couldn’t even greet them with a smile? It comes off pretty disingenuous, which just makes the message fall flat.

You need to be excited and happy as you record. My first video fail was filmed after so many takes that I was just tired and wanted to get it done. It shows. Now take a look at one of my latest videos and see how excited I am to share something with you. The little boost of enthusiasm goes a very long way

How can you use video to increase sales?

I shared the breakdown above with you because you need to start somewhere, and I’m confident that dissecting my failure will help you succeed. My friend told me that my first few videos would stink (and he was right), but as I continued to work on my format and delivery, I overcame my fears and started generating value-add video.

Here I am more than four years later with a successful YouTube channel that both educates small business owners and helps generate business for our digital marketing agency.

If your videos continue to add value, your sales can and will increase.

 

So, how can you use video to increase sales? Well, consider making these different types of videos. I’ve included examples of each one.

Don’t get overwhelmed with the list above. Just start by choosing one or two video types and follow my advice above. Keep in mind that videos up to two minutes long tend to get the most engagement, but some of your videos may be 15 minutes or even more than an hour in length. (Yes, people will watch longer videos if you continuously provide valuable information.) That said, start short and work your way up to longer videos.

Practice recording, but don’t be a perfectionist. When you feel like you have something good, send it a panel of friends, family and a few trusted customers. Take their feedback constructively and reshoot if need be. Above all else, don’t stop! Video is here to stay, and the sooner you start recording, the sooner you, too, will see dividends. Good luck!

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Typography 101: How to select a brand font

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There was a “shower thought” meme circulating recently, pointing out that “accents are just mouth fonts.” All the design nerds at GoDaddy Studio had a good chuckle at that one. But the insight is kinda profound, from the perspective of your brand’s identity, and more specifically, your brand font.

You see, words aren’t just words in the context of design.

 

They serve a dual function — communicating information and telling a story. Like an accent, the way in which we receive and decode even basic information is affected by the idiosyncrasies of the voice telling it to us. And this unique tone of voice is a result of that individual’s origin story.

So now the question arises: What unique accent does your brand have, and what can this tell us about you? Your choice of brand font is really the key ingredient to shaping your brand’s voice out there in the world, in line with your story and your graphic style.

Look here, for example, at the same brand name written in three very different font styles. Each of them seems to come from a completely different world, and we know this instinctively, without any additional graphics, images, or words. We read them all slightly differently.

In this post, you’ll walk away with:

  • A working knowledge of the basic principles of typography.
  • Insights on how fonts can affect your brand identity and messaging.
  • The ability to find, navigate, and edit fonts in GoDaddy Studio.
  • Your own customized selection of typefaces to add to your brand board.
Real talk from GoDaddy Studio design curator, Storme Conradie

This information is going to make your creative decisions more tuned-in to your brand. Choosing your hero fonts upfront will also develop brand consistency, and save you loads of time in the design process down the line. We’re thinking long-term here, folks!

GoDaddy Studio makes the process of finding fonts and creatively editing text extremely simple and intuitive.

 

Once you know the basics, almost anything is possible.

The art of typography

For most of its existence, typography has been a highly specialized field for professional designers with a thing for microscopic detail.

But with the advent of personal computers and word processors, the average person has been presented with a universe of typographic possibilities for the first time. And these options just keep expanding as the field of typography keeps growing.

Today, most devices come pre-programmed with hundreds of font styles.

GoDaddy Studio has more than 500 unique fonts, all free with a Pro account

It’s an ever-evolving art form, and in as much as there are some unshakable rules we’ll look at in this chapter, typography — like all forms of art — is subject to the tide of trends.

We’ve been seeing a surge in the popularity of Delicate Serifs, Supersized Type, and Didones.

 

The point to take from this is that — whether we realize it or not — we’re all incredibly finely tuned to the subtleties of typography. In fact, we’re subconsciously snobbish to the extent that a poorly chosen font (Papyrus or Comic Sans anybody?) might rightfully raise a red flag and strongly affect our decision to engage with a brand at all.

You’d probably trust your life savings with one of these companies more than the other.

Let’s start with some basics and fine-tune as we go along.

Typography 101

It’s important to get some terminology straight at the outset because typography design has its own secret language to describe structure and spacing.

Once you start looking closer at the nuances, you’ll be able to express your choices better (“I like Sanchez Bold, but think it needs some tracking and an option with heavier serifs.”)

First off, the difference between a font and a typeface is confusing. You can use them interchangeably for the most part (we’ll do exactly that in this chapter), but to be absolutely correct and gain some cred with the type geek crowd:

  • A typeface is a family of fonts (Baskerville, for example).
  • A font refers to any variation of this typeface (Baskerville Regular, Baskerville Bold, Baskerville Italic, and so on).

This is important to know because while some typefaces in GoDaddy Studio have only one default appearance, many of them will have variations in weight and style — i.e multiple fonts within a given typeface.

The Baskerville typeface has several fonts.

Anatomy of a font

Typographers clearly personify their creations, judging by how many terms for the bits and pieces that make up letters, numbers and symbols are borrowed from the human body. You might never think of an ear, shoulder, leg, arm, or spine in quite the same way after today. The alternate definitions of beaks, bowls, tails, and spurs might also surprise you.

This diagram identifies the range of components that make up a typeface. The more you learn about typography design, the more you’ll start paying attention to how these little details differ from font to font.

Now let’s consider how we refer to the positioning of text on your canvas, and the spacing between letters, words, and paragraphs.

This diagram illustrates the relative high points and low points of a font from its baseline. The parts of a letter that rise above this are called ascenders, while the bits that dangle below the baseline are called descenders.

The length of ascenders and descenders in a word will influence the relative space between text above or below.

If the ascenders and descenders get too close to each other, the lines feel compressed, and the paragraph would require more effort to read.

In this case, we would need to adjust the leading: the space between lines of text.

This is an easy adjustment to make in GoDaddy Studio, by simply dragging the dial within the Style tab when editing fonts.

When we’re dealing with spaces between the letters themselves, we refer to tracking.

If letters are too close together, the word can be harder to read. Again, it’s a simple edit in GoDaddy Studio, switching to the tracking dial, and adjusting the spacing to add some breathing room, and legibility. You could play around with this as a creative flair for sure, too.

Kerning is similar, but refers more specifically to the spacing between two adjoining letters, and not the whole word.

Sometimes the word will be evenly spaced, but two particular individuals are standing a little too close for comfort. Restoring balance here requires optically adjusting the kerning — or just, you know, closing the gap a little.

Hierarchy

The final typographic lingo we’ll run through is hierarchy, and this one’s important because it’s how you’ll navigate the reader’s eye through your design.

In any design with text — an Instagram Story, a poster, a presentation — we can’t simply take it all in at a single glance.

To decode your message clearly, our eyes need to have a starting point, and then proceed in the right order — from point a to point b, c, d, and so on. Without this priority order for the information you’re relaying, your message will be confusing at best, and frustrating at worst.

The idea of hierarchy is most obviously expressed in editorial design, which has its roots in centuries-old newspaper layouts and remains the default today.

Scanning the pages of a publication, printed or digital, the first thing to grab your eye will always be the headline or title. If this piques your interest, the sub-heading might give you a little more context, and if you decide to read on, you’ll dig into the body copy.

These three levels are typically expressed in descending order of size:

This age-old idea still applies to almost all graphic design and branding.

Think about a concert poster, whether it’s on a street pole or your social feed. You’ll only glance at it for a moment.

In this example, there’s an order in which the designer wants us to read the information: a hierarchy from most to least essential. We’ll absorb this information sequentially, so each section ought to nudge us on to the next in a logical way:

The reader moves through text all over the page, but in a coherent order:

  1. The Desert Foals! I love them!
  2. Playing live in my town? The price isn’t too steep…
  3. When and where is the show?
  4. How do I buy tickets?

This instinctual, instantaneous process simply doesn’t work in reverse, and so the key is to make sure that the most essential information is absorbed first.

There are a few ways to do this as a way to engineer your hierarchy.

Scale

Size is the most obvious one: the more real estate the word takes up on the page, the more likely we are to read it first.

Weight

Bolder, heavier typefaces will typically get noticed before thin, slender fonts, simply because of the unignorable presence they demand.

Color

All things being equal, a word expressed in a strong, vivid color will always attract the eye more than something neutral, faded, or monochrome.

It’s no different from being transfixed by a single pink flower on a green and brown tree.

Position

Front and center is always a good spot to grab attention, but for more text-heavy design, remember that the (English-speaking) human brain is wired to scan from top to bottom, left to right — making the top left quadrant of the page our default starting position.

That’s enough theory for now. It’s time to use all this knowledge to make some informed decisions for your brand.

Let’s take a gander at the options.

Types of typefaces

All the thousands of font styles in the world can mostly be grouped into five main groups or families.

They’re classified by their structure, but this is very closely related to the context in which we use them.

These quick reference guides include some examples of the relevant typefaces we have waiting for you to try out in GoDaddy Studio:

Serifs

Serifs are those tiny little extensions that stick out from the tops and tails of some letters. Whether a font has these or doesn’t, will affect its classification.

Serif fonts, as you might have guessed, do have serifs. It’s kind of their thing.

For centuries, pretty much all typefaces were Serifs, and as such, they’re associated with classicism, and tradition — traits that suggest trustworthiness, and authority.

Stylistically, they exude sophistication and grandeur. Equally at home in a headline, logo, or full page of text, elegant Serif fonts are highly practical all-rounders in your brand identity kit.

Sans serifs

Sans is the French word for “without,” so sans serifs are fonts without those little doohickies at the ends of them.

Without this added ornamentation, they appear cleaner, more geometric, and minimalist. There’s straightforwardness and simplicity inherent in this, and brands that value these ideas would gravitate to modern sans serif fonts (take a look at many tech company fonts and you won’t find serifs).

Emerging much later in typography’s history, they conjure up associations of modernity and progressive thinking. Sans serifs are supremely legible, which is why you’re able to read this paragraph so easily. They team up beautifully with their serif cousins as a font pairing: an unbeatable combo is a serif headline, with sans serif body copy.

San serifs font example

Slab serifs

A slab is something we talk about when we refer to enormous, flat sections of stone or concrete. So, in the typography world we can imagine Slab Serifs as exactly that: fat, chunky serif fonts of significant weight.

You’d be more likely to use this for a headline rather than body copy. Their hefty presence makes them impossible to ignore. Counterbalancing a strong slab serif headline with a no-nonsense sans serif for body copy is a solid pairing.

The well-built jocks of the font family, slab serifs project strength, confidence, even athleticism — but not without a sense of playfulness. This might be why it’s the Varsity sports sweater standard.

Slab serifs font examples

Script

We’re clearly all in denial about the death of handwriting since there are hundreds of fonts that emulate the O.G typography: pen on paper.

There’s an inherent beauty to the unbroken, liquid dance of lines that sketch words like patterns on a page.

In GoDaddy Studio, it’s a heck of a lot easier than mastering fountain pen technique. Digitized though they may be, Script fonts call to mind the work of human hands. They’re expressive, free and casual, but equally capable of femininity and elegance.

Not always the easiest to read, they make better headlines and subheadings than body copy.

Script font examples

Display/decorative

The name says it all, right? Display typefaces, or decorative typefaces, are the big ones you’ll bring out when you really want to get noticed.

They’re for headlines and logos primarily — the main event. These typefaces are elaborate, ornate and playful, with an attention to detail that carries through to our associations with your brand.

Opting for decorative fonts in your brand kit is a considered move; they function as graphic elements, and as such ought to align with your brand’s graphic style.

display or decorative font examples

Font pairing

In the last section, we mentioned that certain typefaces work well with others. We also discussed hierarchy and the idea that copy usually appears at different sizes and lengths in any design.

While you could use a single typeface for all your branding and communication, it’s far more common (and sensible) to have two or three options in your kit of font styles, to use at different positions within your hierarchy.

Sadly, not all fonts can co-exist harmoniously. Some combinations just look wrong.

 

They can tug in different stylistic directions, compete for dominance on the page, or just seem to exist in different worlds. Font styles that are too similar trouble the eye too, as the reader wavers between reading, and noticing subtle differences between the necks, shoulders, feet, and ears of the two slightly different typefaces.

Font pairing refers to selecting two or three fonts for your brand kit that work in harmony, despite their differences.

Beyond our general advice of choosing a combination that is neither too different nor too similar, it’s difficult to prescribe any hard rules here. Contrast is important: pair chunkier fonts with more slender ones, an expressive typeface with a straightforward option.

The options within your brand kit could also include different font variations of the same typeface: bold, italic, textured, and so on.

uote from Storme Comradie

Some of the fonts we have in GoDaddy Studio are called duo fonts, which is basically a typeface with two very different expressions designed to work together.

Essentially, it’s a pre-selected font pairing — a two-for-one for the taking.

You’ll need to try out a few combinations to find the magic formula, which will of course hinge on your brand’s style.

As a starting point, here are some suggestions for font pairings we think work particularly well together — grouped according to our 10 graphic styles. Either use these or try subtle variations as you develop a customized combo to add to your brand board.

Bold font pairings

Example of bold font pairings

Minimal font pairings

Minimal font pairings example

Elegant font pairings

Elegant font pairings example

Modern font pairings

Modern font pairings example

Street font pairings

Street font pairings example

Classic font pairings

Classic font pairings example

Luxury font pairings

Luxury font pairings example

Playful font pairings

Playful font pairings example

Organic font pairings

Organic font pairings example

The right fonts for your brand

As we’ve emphasized before, the name of the game when it comes to creating your brand’s identity is consistency: pick them, and stick to them.

Just like your graphics, images, and colors, select font designs that complement your brand’s story and style. That said, trust your gut here. You need to be in love with your brand’s typeface more than anybody else, seeing as you’ll be using it on a daily basis.

Love at first sight is as good a reason as any to guide you.

 

Here’s some excellent parting advice from the king of the type geeks at GoDaddy Studio – our senior UX designer, Daniel, who also runs a dedicated font fanatic account @type.bot that we recommend you follow for ongoing inspiration.

quote from Dan Klopper

Daniel suggests seven key points to consider when choosing a typeface for your brand identity:

  1. Make sure it’s clearly readable and functional before choosing a typeface based on its looks. It needs to work across many mediums as your brand evolves over time.
  2. Typography styles are expressive and evoke emotions, so choose a font that is versatile and allows for different moods, depending on what content you need to create.
  3. Looks are important and cannot be ignored. It helps to distinguish your brand from others. It’s important to think about the unique letterforms and if they hold their own character, plus if they elevate your brand and don’t fall into the generic pool.
  4. Be consistent with the use of your primary typeface. Experiment with layout and forms and be consistent in delivery of type scale and composition, so that your audience can easily identify your brand.
  5. Start simple and if you need to grow and evolve your brand, start thinking of a complimentary typeface that accentuates your primary typeface and overall brand.
  6. There’s a limit. It’s best practice to keep your brand’s font family in the range of one to three fonts that work well together. A good starting point is a single font that’s versatile in its weighting and style.
  7. When you’re establishing a brand from scratch, a single well-chosen typeface can serve you and your brand well, before having to consider more typefaces (if at all). Start simple and build confidence through continuous creation.

quote from Storme Conradie

Create your brand new brand with GoDaddy Studio today, and find the perfect fonts to stand out in style. 

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From clip art to Comic Sans: These screenshots from 25 years ago show just how much the internet has changed

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  • A report from Morgan Stanley analysts in 1996 predicted the prevalence of the internet.
  • It said a person of intermediate web literacy was anyone who simply knew their own email address.
  • From clip art to Comic Sans, screenshots show how different the internet looks 25 years later.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Morgan Stanley tech analysts Mary Meeker and Chris DePuy knew the world was on the cusp of something big in 1996. They drafted a 323-page report expressing their high hopes for the internet, saying it could be "one of the hottest new markets to develop in years."

Looking back on the report now shows just how far the internet has come in 25 years.

For starters, the report shows how rare some now-common internet activities were in the past. Among 150 million estimated PC users around the globe, the authors estimated 23% had used email for work, 6% had used the web, and 5% had used an online service.

"We feel that e-mail, online/Web access may be ubiquitous for PC users within a decade," the authors wrote. "At a minimum, e-mail should become pervasive. So should Internet/Web access: E-mail is the 'killer application' of the Internet today, and browsing through information services the 'killer app' of tomorrow."

Another marker of the web's progress came from the authors' guide to the report for audiences of varying levels of internet literacy.

Meeker and DePuy defined a novice reader of the report as someone who had "never heard of Motley Fool, CNET, or Yahoo." An intermediate audience was just anyone who "knows [their] own email address."

Take a glimpse at the internet of yesteryear with these screenshots of websites from 25 years ago.

McDonald’s

an animated Ronald McDonald the clown and two animated McDonald's employees at the counter

Microsoft

the Microsoft website in 1996

AOL

a red sidebar on the left and paragraphs on the right of the AOL website in 1996

Blockbuster

the words video, music, books, news, and games on the Blockbuster website in 1996

Xerox

clip art of a film reel and giant question mark

Coca-Cola

various images on a yellow background on the Coca-Cola website in 1996

Amazon

a blue box in the corner of the Amazon website in 1996

Nokia

a picture of a landline phone and a table of contents on the Nokia website in 1996

Mercedes-Benz

animated cars and the Mercedes-Benz logo on a gray background

Sony

a digital table of contents on the Sony website in 1996

Almanac.com

farming tips on a yellow background on Almanac.com

Ebay

text about Ebay on the company's website in 1996

GAP

sweaters and ornaments on the GAP website in 1996

Comedy Central

the Comedy Central website in 1996

Intel

icons on the Intel website in 1996

Frito-Lay

colorful splotches on a white trapezoid that says Lay's at the center

American Express

icons on a sea foam green background on the Amex website in 1996

IBM

orange and purple blocks and the words "tis the season" on the IBM website in 1996

Yahoo

several rows of hyperlinks on the Yahoo website in 1996

MT V2

a blue background with pictures of people and M2 MTV logos

AltaVista

a red banner and search area on the AltaVista website in 1996

The Weather Channel

clouds and a digital table of contents on The Weather Channel's website in 1996

The White House

animated icons and descriptions on the White House website in 1996

Nintendo

several icons on a black background on the Nintendo website in 1996

Kodak

four panels of photos with the globe in the background

Pepsi

a green and black background with the words "Pepsi World" in the middle

MSN

paragraphs and a picture of grass and the sky on the MSN website in 1996

Netscape

several paragraphs on the Netscape website in 1996

Dell

color-coded text boxes and icons on the Dell website in 1996

Epic Games

a digital table of contents on the Epic Games website in 1996

MIT

hyperlinks on the MIT website in 1996

Disney

a blue wave and icons on The Disney Store's website in 1996

Microsoft Windows 95

an image of a pink birthday cake and several paragaphs on the Microsoft Windows 95 website

The X-Files

a black background with the words "The X-Files"

1996 Olympic Games

several icons and an image of people playing basketball on the 1996 Olympics website

HP

rows of hyperlinks and an image of trees amidst a sunrise on the HP website in 1996

Adobe

a calendar, yellow sidebars, and the words happy holidays on the Adobe website in 1996

FedEx

an animation of a box in motion on the FedEx website in 1996

UPS

a picture of a box, a baby, and the Olympics logo on the UPS website in 1996

Pizza Hut

the Pizza Hut logo and online order form from 1996

Toyota

an image of a car, several paragraphs, and the word Toyota on a yellow background

Adidas

a foot, a sock, and a red animated face

Hertz

several colorful stripes on the Hertz website in 1996

National Hockey League

pictures of hockey players on the NHL website in 1996

GeoCities

the GeoCities website in 1996
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How to optimize mobile checkout for small business success

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In this hyper-connected mobile age, the average person spends almost four hours a day using their smartphones. So, is the average person spending time on your ecommerce site? More importantly to you, are they buying? In this post, we’ll explain why it’s essential to optimize your mobile checkout for your customers.

In addition to reading news content and checking their social media feeds, today’s mobile users like to shop on the go with studies showing that 79% of consumers made a purchase with their smartphone within the last six months.

As an entrepreneur or business owner, to stand out in your niche, optimizing your website for tablets or smartphones alone isn’t enough to ensure sustainable growth, you have to make your mobile checkout journey as smooth as possible.

Optimize your mobile checkout design

When you’re optimizing your mobile checkout journey, design matters. Many people make the mistake of valuing looks over logistics doing so will make your checkout journey confusing, prompting your mobile customers to abandon their purchase and go elsewhere.

On mobile especially, people like a user experience (UX) that is swift, simple and intuitive.

 

Any snags and it’s unlikely that people will complete their purchases.

To make sure your checkout design is swift and responsive, you should:

  • Avoid using too many colours, information boxes or dropdown lists. Dropdown lists are especially disruptive to the checkout experience as they require scrolling, distracting shoppers from the task at hand. When it comes to mobile checkout design, minimal is always best.
  • Embrace autofill boxes and pop-up keyboard functions to make entering person data and delivery information as frictionless as possible.
  • Show your mobile customers how many steps they have to take to complete their purchase by adding a progress bar to your checkout journey a simple design feature that helps guide people through the funnel, step by step.
A prime example of a clear, concise, and effective mobile checkout progress bar from ecommerce brand, Zalando.
  • Cement your payment options and payment processes (including the likes of fingerprint and QR code payment if possible), offering as many relevant options as you can without cluttering your page. And, test your payment functionality frequently to avoid any bugs or errors that will drive people away from your business.
  • Value your messaging. When it comes to your mobile checkout journey, copy counts. While you should be as sparing as possible, adding a little microcopy to each stage of the process, telling your consumers exactly what to do and why, will increase your chances of closing those all-important sales. Our essential guide to design principles will tell you all you need to know to get your microcopy just right.

Related: 4 COVID-19 mobile app trends every small business owner needs to know

Test your mobile checkout process efficiently

Testing your mobile checkout journey extensively (asking around 10 different people at a time to make a test purchase as if they were a customer) and noting any common difficulties or inefficiencies will empower you to fix any pressing issues head-on with a web developer.

Without regular mobile testing, you could miss small gaps or performance issues in your checkout journey.

 

Smooth and responsive design is essential, but without regular mobile testing, you’re likely to miss small gaps or performance issues lurking within your checkout journey. If you don’t ensure every last detail of your mobile checkout is fully optimized for success, your competitors will so don’t forget to test, test, test.

The goods news is: There are two distinct and stress-free ways you can test and optimize your mobile checkout journey for business-boosting glory:

  • Mobile testing software: There are many user-friendly UX-based mobile testing tools and platforms available today, designed for checking and analyzing your checkout process and functionality. Here you can invite your team to login and test your designs, adding any feedback either in the platform itself or in a shared document.
  • Heat mapping tools: Heat maps are excellent for ongoing testing and refinements as they will show you exactly how your mobile users engage with your checkout offerings.

Heap mapping tools will show you where your potential customers swipe and scroll, using heat-based visuals to show you where people interact most and least on every page. By running a heat map on your mobile checkout journey for specific periods, you will be able to see where people get stuck, get confused or lose interest. You can also see where your designs, action buttons, and design features work best.

Bonus tips to optimize your mobile checkout process

By making your design features as efficient as possible and testing your mobile processes regularly, you will create a smooth, seamless experience that will boost sales and improve customer loyalty. If people are onto a good thing, they will come back for more if they find your checkout process tedious, they will go elsewhere. It’s that simple.

To complement the tips and advice we’ve already shared, here are some additional mobile checkout optimization tips to try out once you’ve made those all-important initial improvements:

  • Offer a guest checkout option: 28% of mobile customers abandon their carts because they weren’t offered a guest checkout option. Rather than making every customer sign up to your business and enter all of their details, offering the option of a guest checkout journey will speed up the journey and reduce the potential for any friction or hesitation.
  • Add clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons and “save for later” options: To entice mobile customers to engage with your checkout, you should add clean and clear CTA buttons to each stage of the journey to guide them through the process with ease. Also, adding a “save for later” option to your journey is an effective way of enticing hesitant consumers to come back and make a purchase another time.
  • Run mobile audits: in addition to function-based testing, you should also run regular mobile audits (there are several user-friendly platforms available today) to automatically crawl and check for any defects or errors. Doing so will empower you to nip any potential issues in the bud and avoid any costly issues later down the line.

“Mobile is not the future, it is the now. Meet your customers in the environment of their choice, not where it is convenient for you.”— Cyndie Shaffstall, mobile expert & founder of Spider Trainers

We hope that these mobile checkout optimization tips guide you to success and if you’re looking to improve your business, check out Websites + Marketing Ecommerce and GoDaddy Payments.

The post How to optimize mobile checkout for small business success appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.



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