Clarity Over Cleverness: An Author’s Journey

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPamela Wilson is the Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital, the company behind the popular content marketing website Copyblogger. She co-hosts a biweekly podcast called ZeroToBook with bestselling author Jeff Goins. The show follows Pamela’s progress in self-publishing from start to finish.

In June, Pamela was anxious to give her work a name so that she could start sharing it with people. During an episode of the podcast, she and Jeff discussed the importance of a book’s title and Jeff explained a methodical process for ideating titles and getting unbiased feedback from potential customers.

At the heart of his process – PickFu. … Continue reading

When a poll ends in a tie, how should you pick a winner?

As Americans, we often scratch our heads at the legions of international soccer fans who can live with a tie. A score like 2-2 (or even worse, a 0-0 draw) is so inconclusive – we like the clarity of winners and losers. When a game ends tied, how are we supposed to feel?!

But a tied game is still hard-fought. The players still put it all out on the field, exert huge amounts of effort, and in the end, are shown to be evenly matched. Alan Jacobs wrote an impassioned defense of ties a few years ago in the Wall Street Journal. In it, he writes,

Since scoring is so rare, many matches end 0-0 or 1-1. And this is something that we soccer fans don’t just accept about the game: we love it. We love that scoring is so darn hard, that, most of the time, many interlocking pieces of game action have to fall into place just so in order for the ball to make its way into the back of the net. We want it that way.

This is a good lesson when your PickFu poll ends in a tie. It’s difficult to score big with an audience. You probably know (or are) someone who will only drink Coke or only drink Pepsi. These are passionate, insistent customers. But you also probably know someone who doesn’t have a cola preference, or even can’t tell the difference. (These people are crazy, by the way, because obviously Coke is superior). … Continue reading

From Working Title to Title that Works

Pamela Wilson and Jeff Goins host the Zero to Book podcast where Jeff, an established author, walks Pamela, a newer author, through the process of launching a book.

In this episode, the hosts discuss the importance of a book’s title. Jeff calls it a book’s most important marketing asset – more important than the content itself, at least in terms of marketing. A book’s title, after all, is the most succinct way to communicate what it’s about.

The title should be judged on its appeal to new readers. Your existing fan base might already be inclined to purchase your book, no matter what it’s called. But the title is the thing that could potentially entice or dissuade new customers to join the fold. … Continue reading

10 Tips for Naming a Mobile App

Naming your app is like naming your baby and can be equally gut-wrenching. You want your name to be unique, but not so unique that no one can pronounce it or spell it. Your name ideally says something about your product’s personality, but also conveys its usefulness. Some apps that balance the two goals well are TravelZoo, BookBub, and Parking Panda; the names allude to the app’s main function, but are memorable and “brand”-able.

If only it were as easy as combining your app’s category with a fun-sounding noun, though. There’s much more to it than that. Here’s a quick rundown of 10 tips to consider when naming your mobile app: … Continue reading

PickFu: A key tool in helping you “Launch Tomorrow”

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.” … Continue reading

How One Entrepreneur Doubled His Sales

Steve Chou runs an online store called Bumblebee Linens. As an e-commerce site owner, he knows that an appealing photo can make the difference between losing a customer and making a sale. In fact, a simple photo swap helped Steve improve sales on a listing by 209%.

In order to test photos, Steve ran split tests on his website, whereby he published a listing, waited several days, swapped out the images for new ones, waited again, and then compared the results. The problem with split testing, however, “is that it takes forever. Every test that I run usually takes at least 3 weeks or more,” he wrote in a blog post. “And I’d say that 9 times out of 10, my tests are inconclusive.”

Besides the time required, a conversion pixel or some kind of tracking mechanism was needed, adding complexity and hassle to the tests, especially when selling on sites like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. “Not only is this a major pain in the butt if you have multiple listings,” he said, “but if you’re lazy like me, you’re never going to do it.”

So when Steve heard about PickFu, “I thought I’d give it a try just for fun.” He took a listing from his store and tested his current featured photo against a new photo. … Continue reading

How PickFu Helped Create the Awesome Universe of Super 80s World

Michael Cowden faced a dilemma. He and his team had been working for months on a mobile game called Outrun the 80s. Then a friend in marketing suggested a different name — Super 80s World.

Not bad, Mike thought. But is it better than Outrun the 80s?

He asked his friends. He asked his family. But, as he later told us, “the problem with this method is that they aren’t necessarily the target audience or the most likely to be honest with you.” … Continue reading