When You Don’t Know Your Users

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that my subscribers don’t mind getting messages from me at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, Chicago time.

They also don’t mind longer reads. In fact, they love ‘em, provided they’re specific, intelligent, and of high value.

What they do mind though, are clicks. They rarely click a thing. And they can’t stand marketing shtick. At least not from me.

I have the stats to prove it.

But it’s not like I aced it on the first go. I didn’t conduct mad amounts of research when I started newslettering, way back when. I began with only one assumption: clear guidance in three short paragraphs.

Well, the three paragraphs are no more. And the guidance, along with everything else, has grown and evolved over time. An evolution that owes itself to understanding what makes them tick, having strong hunches for what could work, plus the data to refine and course correct those decisions with each send.

Again, I started my newsletter with only one, and only one, assumption. The rest came to me over time.

Assume now, validate later

Which leads me to the punch line of this read: if you don’t know your users (or do but lack the necessary research), make some assumptions anyway. You can validate and revise those assumptions later.

I know some would totally disagree with me, but yeah, assume away. Doing so provides a sense of direction and focus. Otherwise, you’ll be inclined to do what so-and-so is doing with their UX. And trust me, you never want to do that.

So to clarify:

  1. Identify (or revisit) your ideal user
  2. Make assumptions (based his or her point of view, not yours)
  3. Collect data
  4. Revise your assumptions based on said data
  5. Rinse and repeat

If it helps, I refine my assumptions monthly. I’m always learning about my subscribers, whether they realize it or not.

Relax, I’m not tracking eye movement. Not yet at least 😉

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Until next time,