Differentiation

A few weeks ago, I was hired to improve the layout of a new social network’s homepage.  What I noticed right away was that it was way too similar to the big boys – Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  Nothing really set it apart.

I told my client that they needed something to make it unique.  I suggested giving a dynamic stock value to each member of the site.  Their stock value would be based on how much they use the site, make connections, talk with other members, etc.  And their stock would increase or decrease based on those types of variables.  The two members with the highest stock values each day would be put on display at the home page, driving more traffic to their profile.

“Your idea is a good one, but it’s just too difficult.”  The company didn’t have the developers to execute the stock value system.  “But do you know how we could increase our rate of visitors to members?”

I don’t mind someone turning down my ideas at all – they’re a dime a dozen.  And I can appreciate (but not fully sympathize with) lacking a few of the resources to do something.  I DO, however, have a big problem with not creating value for the end user.

If your service offers nothing new, unique, fun, entertaining, or valuable – why the hell would I ever use it?  I don’t care if it’s a project you’ve worked really hard on – if it sucks, I’ll ignore it.  Your visitors don’t care about what you’ve created; they care about what you’re offering them.

And the way you turn more visitors into members is by offering something worth talking about.  Something different.

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