One thing I've learned about marketing my business online and working with clients is that you need to keep learning.
Over the years I've switched blogging platforms, URLs, design, strategy, tone, even some of these several times, just to see what works best and what doesn't.
At times changes have had a positive result, some times not. But not to worry.
It's only by daring to try something different that you grow.
My Latest Mistake
At the moment I'm fixated with typography and specifically readability.
Over the last couple of week's I've been trialing a sans-serif font – one that does not have the small projecting features called “serifs” at the end of each stroke – on a darker page background to gage the effect.
I was also using size 14 pixels.
I gave it seven days then consulted with my focus group, who articulated exactly what I was thinking: it didn't work.
More research led me to back to Georgia (a serif font) at 16 px, which from all the reading I've been doing seems to be regarded as one of the most legible fonts for reading online.
I've also found out that, for example:
- a large initial capital called a drop cap will increase readership by up to 15 percent, both on screen and paper.
- a font designed for screen display should be a dark color, at 16 px or above, on a non-textured light background.
- lines of copy should be on a vertical grid about 1.5 times the font size; no fewer than 50 characters wide; and no more than 80.
So off I go on another experiment that could be a mistake or not. But at least I'll learn something.
How Quickly Can You Learn from Your Mistakes?
Now that's a tricky one. In some cases I've let things go too long out of a willingness to stick with something; however, other times I've made quick changes.
For example, over the last three months I've been trialing various site designs, branding options and site structure.
Regular visitors to this site will no doubt have wondered what the hell was going on, but based on the data I've been collecting over 80 percent of my daily traffic is from first time visitors.
I can also see that regular readers of this blog read the RSS feed or subscribe to posts by email. Neither of which will reflect my site design.
Of course, from a branding point of view I probably wouldn't have recommended this to clients, but I'm not one to always make a recommendation based on what others say; I like to learn from the actions I take.
So What Are the Takeaways Here?
1) Don't be afraid to fail
My company Facebook Page failed. I killed it. I moved on.
2) Don't be afraid to do something different.
I started a podcast. I invested a lot of resources into it. It worked and I just won a Best Business Podcast award at the European Podcast Awards.
3) Always Track Your Data
I never make a change without looking at the metrics I have in place and an analysis of my goals.
4) Keep Moving
Ten years ago very few people were blogging. Four years ago few B2Bs were regularly producing video content for their blogs. Three years ago Twitter wasn't big. And one year ago no one was using Pinterest. It's only be daring to embrace something different and keep learning that you'll keep up in the race to succeed with online marketing.
What do you think ?