We’ve all seen it—a splashy ad, a social media post that’s held our attention for more than 10 seconds. A banner with the words “save your spot” or a button “to learn more.”
This is the audience’s call to act, to go deeper, to figure out what an individual, organization or business wants with them and why they should care. The timer is ticking, their patience is running thin… they could be doing a million other things right now. They have a million other things to do right now.
This is the intersection of infinite points of entry and exit… how do you capture, engage and hold your prospective customers’ attention? What do you want them to do? What do you want them to learn about? What information needed a whole website to explain? How do you tell them on day one, 20 seconds-in, that you get them, you understand their pains and their challenges and this is the beginning of a long relationship towards your mutual success?
But the timer has run out. They’ve left before hearing your pitch. They left not knowing what you do, how you can help them, how innovative your solution is.
This is the state many businesses find themselves in—chasing ghostly trails of potential customers that didn’t stick around, that were faced with the arduous task of drawing their own relationships between what you say and what it means… and therein lies the crux. When you’re conveying information, you’re constructing a narrative for your customers, you’re helping them understand their own problems and challenges, and giving them incentive to search out and research new options, new ways of doing things, ways of breaking moulds. You’re helping them find the answer to their notion, “there’s got to be a better way.”
So how do you construct meaning? How do you get to the heart of the matter, how do you get the people you’re trying to help to sit up and say “I’ve been looking for that!” It starts with understanding who that person is you’re trying to help, why they’re looking for an alternative, what kinds of things will turn them off and building a journey around their immediate and long-term needs.
Learning Experience Design (LXD), while often relegated to courses and programs behind registration walls, can help you engage and retain customers too. You may not be in the learning business, but your product or brand may benefit from a learning solution.
What we’ve learned at Onlea as a leading online learning studio over our years of experience is that people don’t buy courses, they buy bridges to that next set of goals on their horizons. A course is a product in a much larger transaction that begins many stages before learners enroll and carries a future value for those customers. In this way, the success of a course also depends on the success of marketing and long-term relationship building. Going one step further, any company or service with a complex product, e.g. bank investment options, software applications or even physical tool manufacturers rely on educational content to build relationships with their customers. In this way, each touchpoint with your business is a critical learning opportunity, a chance to grab and hold your customer's attention and help them achieve their goals.
Here are some of the many opportunities where LX can help improve your business strategy:
- Social media campaign that incorporates learning interactives
- Landing page designed for first-time visitors to understand a product/service and returning customers to quickly find key information
- Video series that breaks down how to use a new product
- On-demand Learning Library for customers that don’t read the instructions
- A free learning module that shows you care about your customer’s growth
- Marketing content that aims to develop novices into informed customers
As you can see, there are many opportunities for engaging customers with learning experiences that build on their knowledge and can grow your relationship with them. In the quintessential design bible, The Design of Everyday Things, UX pioneer Don Norman ponders the number of everyday things the average human encounters and has to learn:
“... it is clear that the difficulties of everyday life are amplified by the sheer profusion of items. Suppose that each everyday thing takes only one minute to learn; learning 20,000 of them occupies 20,000 minutes—333 hours or about 8 forty-hour work weeks. Furthermore, we often encounter new objects unexpectedly, when we are really concerned about something else. We are confused and distracted, and what ought to be a simple, effortless, everyday thing interferes with the important task of the moment.”
- Don Norman
Design of Everyday Things
While this passage is from the late 1980s, one can only imagine all of the new things since then our population has had to learn in order to use. On that account, the next time you refresh your website, update your product strategy, or write a social media post to engage your audience, consider where your customer is on their learning journey and build them up.