David Gammel's Web Strategy Report, Volume 1, Issue 8

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Thoughts On Strategy: Shopping vs. Buying

I just finished reading Clotaire Rapaille’s The Culture Code, in which he marks a key distinction about how Americans perceive shopping compared to buying. His book is about identifying and employing specific codes that represent commonly shared perceptions within a culture.

Rapaille says that in the United States the code for shopping is ‘reconnecting’ while buying is about completing a task. The distinction is that shopping is all about the experience while buying is focused on completing a given task efficiently. Consider how you think about going holiday shopping vs. going to buy a gallon of milk.

Bringing this idea to the Web, is your web site designed to heighten the experience for shoppers while maximizing efficiency for those ready to buy? Should your site be targeted at those out to buy while your in-person opportunities are about the experience? I think either or both could be pursued online. The key question is: What path is more closely aligned with your overall goals and strategy as an organization?

I’ll touch on this theme below in the case about Heifer International’s web site.

Case Study: Heifer International

A special treat for you this month: a screencast case study! Follow this link to YouTube to listen to my review of giving money to Heifer International online.

A few questions to consider, once you have watched the screencast:

  • How can you mix both logical and emotional appeals in your fundraising? (logic gets people to think, emotion gets them to act)
  • What media do you already have that tends to have an emotional impact on your givers?
  • Can that media be merged into your appeals for funds and other donations?
  • What new media can you capture that will have even more impact?

High Geekery: Anatomy of a Screencast

A screencast is typically a video recording of a computer screen showing an interaction with an application or web site on a computer with an audio voice over. It has become very easy to create these over the last few years as tools for making them have evolved and platforms for sharing (most notably YouTube) have become widely available.

How to make one like I did for this month’s newsletter? Read on…

First, how I did this screencast on a Mac. I will then follow-up with what I recommend on Windows.

The first thing I do for a screencast is to make some notes on what I want to discuss and key points to make. I don’t script it closely but I do run through the application or site a couple times before I start the recording.

When I’m ready to record, I use a program called SnapZ Pro X to record the video and audio on my Mac. SnapZ allows me to position a frame on the screen and it then captures anything that happens in that frame while recording. It also captures audio for the voice over via a Snowball mic I have attached to my laptop.

Once done with the recording, SnapZ saves it as a .mov file. I review the recording in QuickTime and do another take if I’m not happy with the results. I usually do at least 2 versions before I’m happy with it.

I then import the file of the final take into iMovie, an Apple application for editing videos, and cut off dead space and add intro and outro titles. iMovie then exports the finished product directly to my YouTube account. I upload it as a private video to give me a chance to preview it and tweak the description and title before it goes live for the public.

On Windows, there is a superior product, called Camtasia, that can do that entire process in one application. Frustratingly, I’m not aware of a similar class of product on the Mac for creating screencasts.

And that is how I create screencasts! They are an underused tool by many organizations for things such as training on internal applications, introductions to new interfaces on your web site, demos for key stakeholders, you name it.

Here are links to the software, tools and sites mentioned above:

SnapZ Pro X
Snowball Mic

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