Clay Ostrom is the co-founder of a consultancy called Map & Fire which helps brands develop Lean Strategy. He was introduced to PickFu in a Medium article by Mike Fishbein, who we’ve also featured here on the PickFu Blog.

Taking Mike’s advice, Clay used PickFu to test two titles for a Medium article he was writing. He wanted to see which title and illustration had more click appeal.

The poll results were a perfect split – 25 preferred the puzzle pieces, and 25 preferred the blindfold. I’ve previously written about the value of a tied poll result, and Clay agreed. “For me,” he wrote in an email, “it was arguably more interesting than an obvious winner.” After reading and analyzing the comments, he concluded, “the more you connect with people around the value of the experience as a whole (understanding how people think), and the emotional connection, the more it reduces the importance of a definitive ‘right’ answer.”

Being a strategist, Clay decided to take it a step further. Using PickFu as a brand, he went through an exercise to identify what elements of value he experienced while using the polling service. These values were based on Bain & Company’s pyramid below:

After identifying key values that PickFu’s product addresses, he formulated four potential marketing messages:

  • “Avoid the white-knuckle moment of launching a marketing message that you never really tested”
  • “Get fast, in-depth understanding of how your audience really thinks about your product — in their own words.”
  • “Customer insights so quick and easy, you’ll actually look forward to testing.”
  • “Trade your mountains of raw data for clear insights that actually get you informed”

  • Clay delves into the process by which he arrived at these marketing ideas in a second article on Medium.

    That’s when we here at PickFu decided to see what kind of traction these messages had. We tested the four options in a round-robin poll, where each option is pitted head-to-head against all the other options.

    These were the results:

    Though Option B, “Get fast, in-depth understanding of how your audience really thinks about your product — in their own words,” won overall, Option A, “Avoid the white-knuckle moment of launching a marketing message that you never really tested,” brought out some interesting insights.

    “I wouldn’t have guessed white-knuckle would turn so many people off….or simply be misunderstood,” Clay said. “Great example of the bias we have as marketers and writers, where we may take for granted terms as being commonplace or at least not off-putting.” In addition, some respondents “didn’t like it because it created a sense of anxiety, which… is actually a benefit,” Clay noted. “That tension can be a motivator to using a product.”

    The white-knuckle idea goes to show that even if an option doesn’t “win” in a poll, the comments reveal what audiences associate with each message, and the feelings they have about your product. Synthesizing the comments in aggregate helps develop what might become secondary selling points or brand pillars, and lead to better communication and messaging overall.

    If you’re looking to hone your own marketing messages, test your ideas using PickFu now!

    Exactly who likes your product or design should never be a mystery to you. Knowing your audience means understanding their needs and desires, and knowing how best to address them.

    On PickFu, you always know who answers your polls – each result includes a demographic breakdown of gender, age, income, ethnicity, and education level. But you can also target certain demographic groups so that only certain subsets of the population respond to your poll.

    “Your audience gives you everything you need. They tell you. There is no director who can direct you like an audience.” – Fanny Brice

    Mobile Device Platform

    One of the most practical demographic segments PickFu offers is targeting iOS or Android users. If your app is only available on one platform, why poll those who couldn’t download it if they wanted to? This Android game wanted to see what users thought of a new mobile app icon. The poll encompassed Android users between the ages of 18 and 34:

    app-icon-testing

    PickFu also offers the ability to target Mobile Gamers.

    Reading Preferences

    Authors use PickFu extensively to test book titles, subtitles, cover designs, and blurbs. Knowing this, we created several categories on PickFu so that authors could better target readers. You can poll based on the type of reading (fiction or non-fiction) readers prefer, and the number of books they tend to read per month.

    When writing effective book descriptions, a top tip is to use the first sentences of your blurb to hook a reader in. One author used PickFu to poll females who preferred fiction to gauge which opening sentences were more intriguing.

    reader-poll

    Vegetarianism

    If your book is aimed at a niche market, why poll those outside that niche? One author whose cookbook included kosher vegetarian recipes polled 50 vegans and vegetarians. They overwhelmingly preferred the colorful, more poetic option over the straightforward title.

    demographic-targeting-vegetarians

    It would have even been possible to target only vegetarians of the Jewish faith on PickFu, though it would have taken longer to complete the poll. This author decided not to keep the focus that narrow. After all, the kosher recipes could still be enjoyed regardless of religious beliefs.

    Income

    When you’re launching a boutique product, it makes sense to ask opinions of those in your target market. This line of organic skincare products polled women who made over $60,000 to see which logo they preferred:

    logo-poll

    Age

    Perhaps your product is aimed at the youth market. This upcoming line of streetwear wanted to see what males under the age of 50 thought of its logo design:

    poll-young-males

    These are just some of the ways the ability to laser-focus polls has helped our customers. Who is your main audience? Do they share certain traits? Are there even more segments that would be useful to you? Send your thoughts to us @PickFu!

    Recently, a new customer signed up for PickFu and told us he’d discovered our service in a book. That book was Launch Tomorrow: The Non-Designer’s Guide to Using a Landing Page to Launch a Lean Startup, by Luke Szyrmer.

    In it, Szyrmer outlines a method for defining an audience, validating an idea, and quickly taking that idea to market. PickFu is featured as a means of rapid market testing “in order to figure out which concepts grab attention, tickle tastebuds, and leave people wanting more.”

    “The implications of PickFu,” he writes, “are enormous… If you can find out how people react to a certain color or shape or logo or byline, you have a much better chance of choosing something attractive.”

    Szyrmer emphasizes PickFu’s affordability and speed. He recommends using PickFu polls to create an attractive offer and to make important branding decisions. “By choosing a brand and a style that already evokes exactly the feelings and associations that you want in your target market, you construct a unique experience which can’t be found anywhere else. With PickFu, you can test these associations out within minutes.”

    The author is honest about a drawback, too: “Declared behavior isn’t the same as actual behavior. This is a big problem with branding, traditional advertising and market research. Just because people say they’ll be happy to buy something often doesn’t mean that they actually will. As a result, you can’t be certain that the declared results will directly correlate with sales. Nonetheless, PickFu’s inexpensive and fast. If you want to put some numbers to help you prioritize a list (of for example bullets), then it’s a great first cut to weed out the more attractive options based on consumer opinions.”

    If you’re curious about Szyrmer’s other tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, check out Launch Tomorrow on Kindle or @LaunchTomorrow on Twitter.

    An attractive photo, a great layout, a memorable logo or app icon – these elements are often touted as the keys to optimization. Indeed, a well-converting site, ebook, or app will need them all. But sometimes we tend to underplay or altogether overlook the importance of copy testing – and to our peril. Whether it’s description copy of an e-commerce product, the subhead of a new book, or the elevator pitch of a growing startup, words matter.

    Recently, PickFu increased the number of characters you can include in your test text block to 1,000. That’s the equivalent of roughly 200-250 words. Here are some great ways to use this feature for copy testing to improve your business: Continue reading

    99designs is a great site for startups and small businesses – for just a few hundred dollars, you can launch a design contest for a logo, WordPress template, PowerPoint deck, signage, and more. Graphic designers around the world compete to win, you provide feedback, and after seven days, you pick a winner.

    Here at PickFu, we crowdsourced our own logo using 99designs. Once the contest began, however, something became clear: even though receiving over 350 designs was valuable from a cost perspective, choosing a winner among them all was beyond overwhelming.

    “We’re programmers, not designers,” said Justin Chen, PickFu co-founder. “Other than my own visceral reaction, it was hard to judge the value of all the colors, typefaces, and icons.” Continue reading