Transform Photos into Art with Deep Learning

Life is like a camera. If things don’t work out, you can take another shot. But if you get that perfect picture, you will want to capture the moment and, perhaps, transform it into a work of art.

Have you ever seen art so beautiful and resonating that you wish you could transform your favorite photos into that style? Or perhaps you are a frontend developer or designer seeking an easier way to turn your images into something that’s more appealing, or fits the theme for a special occasion or unique scenario? Maybe you have been tasked to come up with a fun photo booth for a birthday party that enables attendees to transform their photos into a style of art they like? Check out the before and after of the photos below as an example:

Before (left) and after (right)

Before (left) and after (right)

Existing platforms like Instagram and Prisma enable users to upload images, apply different  filters and effects, then produce an image with a very unique style and artistic look. However, you may want to build a similar application that provides more flexibility for the type of art, as well as the kinds of images users can upload.

With Cloudinary, developing a platform that enables you turn photos into art is a breeze. All you need to do is add the style_transfer effect to any delivered image while specifying the image ID of the source artwork as its overlay and activating the Neural Artworks addon.

Source artwork (left), target photo (center), and style transfer result (right)

A Closer Look at Style Transfer with Cloudinary

Cloudinary is a cloud-based image and video management service that includes server or client-side upload, on-the-fly manipulations, quick content delivery network (CDN) delivery and a variety of asset management options.

The style transfer effect applies a complex deep learning algorithm—based on the VGG 16 neural network—that extracts artistic styles from a source image and applies them to the content of a target photograph.

Cloudinary’s algorithm takes advantage of Xun Huange and Serge Belongie’s enhancement on the Gatys algorithm, which make it possible to use any image for both source and target, and still deliver a good quality style transfer in real time, using a single feed-forward neural network.

Cloudinary’s implementation is much faster than other available services, not limited to pre-learned images, and even supports high-resolution outputs that are out of scope for similar services.

How to Implement Style Transfer

To apply this effect, simply specify the public ID of the source artwork as an image overlay (l_ in URLs) and style_transfer as the overlay effect (e_style_transfer in URLs). The target photograph is the public ID of the image to deliver. For example:

http://res.cloudinary.com/demo/image/upload/w_700,h_700,c_fill/e_style_transfer,l_sailing_angel/golden_gate.jpg
http://res.cloudinary.com/demo/image/upload/e_style_transfer,l_davinci_mona_lisa/golf_sand_st.jpg

Source Artwork (left), target photo (center), and result of the style transfer effect (right)

But wait, there’s more!

You can include the Boolean preserve_color option or adjust the style_strength of the effect like so:

Artwork (left), target photo (center), default style transfer (right)

Preserve Original colors in Style transfer (left), adjust Style Strength to 60 in Style transfer (right)

Give Style Transfer a Try

Back to the task you’ve been assigned—creating a photo booth with effects for a birthday party. Here’s a cool, simple app that demonstrates how style transfer works.

See the Pen Style Transfer Demo by Cloudinary (@Cloudinary) on CodePen.

You can start making yours by signing up for a free Cloudinary account and activating the Neural Artworks add-on. There is comprehensive documentation available to show how you can take advantage of style transfer in your applications.

You no doubt have a lot of ideas about how to turn your photos into art. With Cloudinary, it’s easy to make your vision a reality.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cloudinary –]

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Thrive Themes Review: A Look At The Full Membership

If you’re an affiliate marketer who uses WordPress, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about Thrive Themes. In case you’re not familiar, Thrive Themes’ unique selling proposition is that they make “conversion focused’ WordPress themes and plugins. In my Thrive Themes review, I’ll tell you more about just what that means, as well as everything that you get when you…. Continue Reading

The post Thrive Themes Review: A Look At The Full Membership is written by Colin Newcomer and appeared first on WPKube.

Why CEOs Don’t Care About UX and How to Change Their Minds

“UX design doesn’t work…And it won’t make us money.”

Business executives aren’t all that fond of UX design, or even design in general. It’s an incredibly common problem.

Too many executives see good design as an inconvenient expense. At a certain point, executives see UX design as an unnecessary cross to bear. A burden they’re expected to tolerate. If another department needs more money in their budget, design departments are hit first.

You know the value of good UX design, they don’t and that’s the problem.

This Isn’t a Problem for Design Driven Companies

What do Apple, Coca-Cola, Herman Miller, Disney, and Target all have in common? They’re all design driven companies.

The bad news?

Out of the pool of publicly traded companies evaluated by Motive, only 15 companies met the criteria of a design driven company. Others have found the same. So what does this tell us? Most companies aren’t all that interested in good design. UX design and design in general just isn’t a priority.

But you know good UX matters. You see the difference good design can make. It’s obvious, anyone can see it if they’re paying attention, so why can’t they?

Executives can’t see it because they don’t care. Not even a little bit.

They aren’t interested in design as a whole. In fact, most are looking to spend as little on design as they can. Because in their minds it’s just not worth their time.

But why?

We need to get inside their heads if we want to know the answer.

As Designers, We Speak a Weird Foreign Language

We use words like opacity and kerning and descender as a normal part of our everyday conversations. We argue about design trends, which ones are worth embracing, which ones to avoid. We obsess over tiny, seemingly insignificant details, because we understand the importance small details make.

We’re critical of ourselves and other designers in general because we understand the consequences of poor design on a deep and intimate level.

It’s intense.

And none of that matters. Not a single shred of our world matters to the vast majority of executives. That’s a very big problem.

When it’s time to teach executives about the value of good UX design, we choose the wrong approach. We use the wrong vocabulary. Instead of speaking their language, we speak our language.

Almost immediately, executives glaze over and tune out.

This inevitably leads to:

  • Your ideas being ignored or rejected;
  • A loss of income for you, the company, your customers or all of the above;
  • Dwindling budgets as other departments fight for more money from your department’s budget which means department layoffs;
  • A terrible experience for customers, who spend less money or shop elsewhere, making it harder for your organization to survive.

This wouldn’t be happening if executives understood the value of good design, but most aren’t even willing to hear us out. How on earth are we supposed to change their mind?

Grocery Stores Show us How to Win Hearts and Minds

The competition in your local grocery store is fierce. The shelves are lined with thousands of competing products, all focused on one thing: Getting customers to buy their product instead of a competitor’s.

The grocery stores themselves are competing for your attention and your money. It’s a cutthroat environment that only a few stores and some products can survive in.

Their secret? Design.

Your local grocery store is filled with lots of subtle design elements, these elements are used to get you to buy:

  • Customers bought more bananas if their peels were Pantone color 12-0752 (Buttercup) vs the slightly brighter Pantone color (13-0858 (Vibrant Yellow). Growers altered the color of their bananas to produce the desired color.
  • Store layouts are designed around the user experience. It’s a common strategy for grocery stores to show you the produce section first. The bright colors, fresh produce and pleasant aromas lead you to conclude the store is an inviting and ideal place to buy food.
  • Product designers mark up prices strategically on products with strong brand loyalty. Remember the Pepsi Challenge? Pepsi conducted a blind taste test, asking consumers whether they preferred the taste of Pepsi or Coca-Cola. Pepsi won, but consumers continued to buy Coca-Cola. This happens all the time. It’s why people consistently choose the $90 bottle of wine over a $10 bottle, even if the only difference is price.
  • Grocery stores are designed to be traps. A well known study found that people spent 34 percent more time shopping in stores that played music. These stores hide time cues to keep you inside. No clocks, windows or skylights. The rationale goes like this: The longer you stay the more you’ll buy.
  • Product placement on shelves. This study found kid friendly foods are placed at kids’ eye-level. The characters on cereal boxes make eye contact with kids, a clever way to increase influence and sales. Expensive items are placed higher while inexpensive items are placed near the bottom shelves.

There are thousands of examples like these. The process, environment, imagery, ambiance and displays in grocery stores are all designed.

And here’s the interesting part.

Grocery store executives support these design conventions wholeheartedly. Their executives have fully embraced UX design.

Can you see why?

Designers and executives spoke the same language. Executives don’t care about design for design’s sake. Rather, they view design as a means to an end. A way to attract more customers and sales. A way to grow their business.

But the examples above are manipulative and sleazy!

I completely agree. Does that mean you need to approach things the same way they did? Of course not. It goes without saying, you should be honest and above-board with everything you do. But to change an executive’s mind you’ll need to think and talk like an executive.

What Exactly Are Executives Thinking About?

They’re thinking about results. They have a very specific set of problems they’re required to solve on behalf of the company. An executive’s thought process basically boils down to three basic problems.

  1. Will this save money?
  2. Will this make money?
  3. Will this cut costs?

The vast majority of their desires, goals, fears, frustrations and problems tie back to these three problems in some way. Getting customers, selling more product, making more money, it’s all part of it.

An executive’s language is based almost entirely around one of these three core problems.

What does that mean for you?

A request that’s focused on “What’s best for users” is far less likely to work. A request that’s positioned and presented properly is far more likely to succeed.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • “We’ll be able to blow past Q3 projections if we make these four UX changes.”
  • “We’re losing $467,891 a month. We have some UX problems here, here and here that would stop the financial bleeding.”
  • “We can get a 1/3 increase in revenue overnight with these UX design ideas.”
  • “Right now, we’re losing 8 out of 10 customers on our site. With the right UX design, I can get that down to 4 out of 10.”
  • “We can get 1/4 of our customers to spend $250 more per order, per month if we make these UX changes.”

See what I did there?

I know, I know it’s loathsome. The last thing many of us want to do as designers is talk business, sales or marketing. Anything but that. I get it.

Here’s the thing. When you speak the same language as executives you communicate value in a way they can understand. They aren’t as worried about looking stupid, protecting their egos or acting as if they understand the finer points of your job.

They’re focused squarely on the things that matter to them. Get these details right and they look like the hero.

Do this consistently, and they’ll slowly begin to understand

They’ll begin to see why good UX design matters. Why design, as a concept matters far more than they think. And more importantly, they’ll understand why design can help them hit the goals they’re desperate to achieve.

Pitch your ideas the right way, get inside the mind of your executives and you still may fail. That’s part of the risk. That risk drops dramatically however, if you’re focused on them.

Pursuing things this way sends an important message. It shows executives that you understand them. That you’re willing to take their concerns seriously and you’re willing to invest in them.

This is huge because it shows you have potential, that you’re someone they can count on for the future. All because you decided to speak their language.

Executives Think UX Design Doesn’t Work

They’re wrong, but they don’t know it. Their subconscious impression is, UX design doesn’t work and it won’t make us money.

Business executives aren’t all that fond of UX design, or design in general. It’s viewed as fluff, an unnecessary cross to bear.

It’s up to you.

You know the value of good UX design. You can change their perceptions, but only if you can speak their language. Start small, showing executives you can make a difference. With consistent effort and lots of patience, your company can become a design driven company.

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Stockio Free Assets Site Unveiled

Design assets are the lifeblood of any creative process. Images inspire, typefaces communicate, icons clarify. Whatever the scope of your project, assets are the building blocks of your design.

Any fresh source of stock assets is a boon to the design community, and the latest treasure trove of resources is stockio.com. Stockio is a collection of photos, videos, vectors, icons, and even fonts, designed to inspire and stock the toolboxes of the web design industry.

Free Downloads

Stockio resources are absolutely free to download, and can be used for both personal and commercial projects. Sourced from some of the most popular asset producers, Stockio’s assets have been handpicked to be useful to designers.

Intuitive Search Options

There are a number of fantastic features on the site. For example, when browsing images, similar photos are displayed on the download page; some of the best discoveries come by simply clicking on the next thumbnail and seeing where it takes you.

Another incredibly helpful feature for designers is the color search. Just click through to a download page, and you’ll see a bar of colors, click one and the site will find photos, or vectors, containing the same color; it’s a great option when you’re working with a brand-specific palette and need assets to match.

Tons of Choice

Stockio includes enough assets to pack your toolbox until next year. There are over 4,500 icons and the collection is growing.

When it comes to free fonts, you’re spoiled for choice. There are over 11,000 free fonts on Stockio, more than you can use in a lifetime of design. And they aren’t the usual low quality fonts you often find for free, whether you’re looking for a typeface for a logo, or something readable for body text, there are some real gems here.

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What’s New for Designers, August 2017

Sometimes the summer months can feel like a dead time for new design tools, but not this year. There are plenty of new elements out there to make your life (and projects) that much easier. Plus, almost everything on the list this month is free, except for a couple of tools. They’re sure to be useful to designers and developers, from beginners to experts.

If we’ve missed something that you think should have been on the list, let us know in the comments. And if you know of a new app or resource that should be featured next month, tweet it to @carriecousins to be considered!

Chain

Chain is a Sketch plugin that will help you maintain dynamic color relations. Just select layers to chain, the color referenced, and transformations you want to apply. There are plenty of combinations to choose from and the project is completely open source.

Abstract

Still in beta, Abstract is a platform to help teams collaborate with a secure, version-controlled environment for design files. It builds on and extends the stable technology of Git to host and manage work.

React Simple Chatbot

This simple component for chatbots comes packed with examples to help you envision how your chatbot might work and has a clean, easy to use design.

Musikcube

Muskicube is a fully-functional terminal-based music player, library, and streaming server that runs natively on Windows, MacOS and Linux. There’s also a native Android app version and cross-platform C++ library that drives things.

Beamer

Make sure users know about new features, latest releases and relevant news with this easy changelog tool.

Random Material Palette Generator

This game-style tool automatically generates a palette of three-color Material Design-inspired color schemes with a click. It’s a fun twist on creating color combinations.

Mailit

Mailit is a tiny drop-in microservice for sending emails over a REST API. It just requires a tiny bit of code and you are ready to go.

Chrome Platform Status

What new features are coming in Chrome? When will the release happen? All of the upcoming features and more are listed in this new schedule page with updates on the stable version and next two releases.

SEO Audit

SEO Audit takes some of the manual labor out of conducting a search engine optimization audit for your website. The tool will check the site against an agenda and give a recommendation of what needs to be fixed.

GridBugs

GridBugs is a curated list of Grid interop issues, incomplete implementations and CSS grid layout bugs. The concept is based on the Flexbox Bugs list and you can add your gridbugs as well.

Vue SVG Maker

This tool shows you how to form bindings in Vue and pair them with generative SVG for fun effects that you can download and use in projects.

Build a Tiny Blockchain

Blockchain is a public database where data is stored in a container (block) and additional bits are added (chain). It’s the basis for Bitcoin and creating a stir in technology circles. Here’s how you can create a simple blockchain with less than 50 lines of code in Python 2.

45 Geometric Vector Shapes

Geometric shapes are one of the big design trends of the year and this freebie contains plenty of fun options to work with in vector format. Each of the mandala-inspired shapes can be used in a variety of ways.

Fitty

Fitty scales text up or down so that it perfectly fits its parent container. It is an ideal solution for flexible and responsive websites with no dependencies and an easy setup.

Split iOS UI Kit

This starter user interface elements kit includes elegant details that match the iOS design. Use symbols, layer and text styles and the flexible parts in Sketch to jumpstart design projects.

Rounded Mobile UI Kit

Maybe a more rounded style appeals to you. Then the Rounded Mobile UI Kit might be the preferred option with lots of parts to start a mobile interface, such as screen templates for a menu, chat, a cart, camera and more. All the elements are packed in a Sketch file.

Grabient

Grabient is a fun gradient grabber tool that’s packed with modern color combinations that you can as is or add options, such as additional color or adjust the angle of the fade. Gradient color files are available as a Sketch download.

STYLY

STYLY is a platform that helps you create virtual reality spaces without code. The drag and drop interface also allows you to import assets from other platforms and you can edit and view in a snap. The app, which is still in beta, is available for multiple devices.

StriveSDK

With just one line of code, you can add fun Snapchat-style face filters to your mobile app. This is a paid tool, starting at $5 per month. It is available for iOS with an Android version on the way.

Street Life Social Media Templates

Figuring out the right sizes for social media posts can be a hassle, but this little kit contains 15 flexible templates for Instagram and Facebook to make creating posts easier. The templates are fully customizable as well in Sketch, Illustrator or Photoshop.

Supernova

Supernova turns Sketch designs into native mobile apps in minutes. The tool automates tedious tasks and exports resources, writes navigation, connects components, applies styles and maintains information for you, no hand-coding required. Plus, you can preview it right away in an interactive format.

Coco

Coco is a free experimental display typeface inspired by classic styles.

Vhiena

Vhiena is a layered, vintage-style typeface that is inspired by old serifs. It comes with several layers to create impactful display type options.

Zin Sans

Zin Sans is a contemporary san serif typeface for display use. It has a large x-height and dynamic open forms.

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Popular Design News of the Week: August 7, 2017 – August 13, 2017

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

Best Practices for Using White Space in UI Design

 

SpeedFont: Extremely Simple CSS Font Embedding

 

UI Design: 10 Principles Learned from Painful Mistakes

 

World’s First Design Assistant

 

Lists: Real Content for all your Designs

 

Marketing Yourself as a Designer

 

Publii – Open Source CMS for Static Websites

 

Swarm 5.0: Remember Everywhere

 

Introducing DesignBetter.co

 

Blind: An Anonymous Community for Tech Professionals

 

BBC Starts Rolling Out New Digital-friendly Font

 

FontFace Ninja

 

Olly Moss on the New ‘Frozen’ Musical Poster (and Seven that Didn’t Make the Cut)

 

Apple Finally Joins Instagram

 

The Biggest UX Mistake in E-commerce

 

Gestalt Psychology and UX Design

 

Don’t Mistake Common UI Patterns for Best Practices

 

8 Common Portfolio Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

 

Create VR Without Coding

 

A Complete Guide to Grid

 

Finding Fonts – A Guide

 

Gradients Generated from Photographs of Nature

 

Take Naps at Work; Apologize to no One

 

Designing for Emptiness

 

Pastel: Feedback for Web Designers

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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Comics of the Week #402

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons.

Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below as well as any related stories of your own…

Blame the russians

Designer crash

 

Family favor

Can you relate to these situations? Please share your funny stories and comments below…

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The Micro-Conversion Controversy

The UX design process is, in a word, complex. The discipline itself is a jam-packed intersection of contrasting fields, including art, engineering, experimental research, and interpersonal skills—a blend of technical and creative skillsets. UX designers must test, design, architect, write, and do it all ad nauseum until they’ve crafted a completely usable solution.

There’s a hint of irony to the job—making something simple truly is complicated.

And yet despite the intricacies of UX design, we often use a singular metric to measure its quality: conversion rate. It’s not a particularly robust benchmark; conversion rate is simply the percentage of users that go on to fulfill your platform’s purpose, whether that’s making a purchase, downloading an app, or registering for an event.

Conversion rate is the king of the KPIs. Marketers labor over bumping it up a few points; siteowners pull out their hair trying to optimize every aspect of their platform to increase it. But is it really the key performance indicator we treat it as?

Too often we put conversion rate on a pedestal, succumbing to the tunnel vision of boosting a lionized metric used to analyze the success of a website. We condense a long journey, a process, an entire experience, into a single number (typically around 2%), without ever analyzing or examining the underlying process it took to output that percentage.

Many marketers or designers have instead opted for a deeper analysis of conversion rate, scrutinizing the steps a user takes to achieve conversion. These steps have given rise to a new strategy: optimizing for micro-conversions.

What Are Micro-Conversions?

Imagine you’re constructing a building. The safety, stability, and overall quality of the structure you’re assembling depends on the materials you’re using. You can stack up walls, floors, and ceilings brick-by-brick to erect a building, but if you’ve bought low-quality bricks, that building’s not going to last very long.

This idea summarizes the theory behind optimizing for micro-conversions. Don’t worry about the final metric, the conversion rate, just yet—focus on the tiny, incremental steps in the user flow and ensure those are intuitive, engaging, and subscribe to user-centric design principles.

Generally, micro-conversions can be subcategorized into two groups: process milestones (also known as micro-step conversions), and secondary actions (sometimes referred to as micro-indicator conversions).

Process milestones are the steps that directly lead to the end-goal: macro-conversion. They’re probably best visualized in an ecommerce application. A conversion is defined as a sale, and to make a sale, the customer has to search the catalog, find a product, place it in their cart, and complete the checkout process.

Each of these checkpoints are process milestones. Process milestones can be further deconstructed into extremely granular tasks, each of which can be tailored for optimal UX.

Secondary actions don’t fall under the direct path to conversion—instead they describe actions that typically supplement conversion, or are decent indicators that a potential customer is considering converting. Common secondary actions include signing up for a newsletter, creating an account, or sharing content on social media.

A micro-conversion (specifically a secondary action), could be a social media share. Macro-conversions are the ones that lead to revenue.

Both kinds of micro-conversions can be easily monitored with Google Analytics, and both can provide insight into the quality of your user experience at a scale that standard conversion tracking can’t capture. Designers can delve deep into the architecture and tweak individual design elements to perform at their highest potential.

Optimizing for micro-conversion offers another boon for UX designers: streamlined testing. Instead of having to test an entire experience, designers can quickly validate the design choices they’ve made for the elements the experience has been deconstructed into.

Micro-conversions are a seemingly intuitive answer to the shortcomings of the normal conversion rate metric, but they’re not without their drawbacks. While tracking micro-conversions can’t hurt, optimizing the entire platform for them can seriously backfire.

The Problem With Micro-Conversions

We’ve established that micro conversions can help pinpoint areas where UX adjustments are necessary, and validate if design changes are impacted the user experience positively.

But companies focusing solely on micro-conversions risk tripping into same pitfalls that beset the macro-conversion rate metric. And even though micro-conversions expedite testing, it can sometime lead to misleading, or even false, data.

Take the excellent example posed by marketing expert Chris Goward, where a company decides to conduct A/B testing on its homepage. Looking to optimizing micro-conversions, the company deconstructs the conversion path into process milestones (in this case, just pages).

Most conversion processes won’t be this simple, but for our intents and purposes this pipeline suffices. Let’s say, to expedite testing, the designers optimize for the “download page” micro-conversion. They’re interested in selecting the homepage that best converts visitors to their download page.

Their tests yield these results, and it appears that Variation C of the home page is the most conducive for micro-converting visitors to the download page. But let’s see what happens when we continue to test down the pipeline.

We see that the best variation of the home page changes, depending on which micro-conversion you’re optimizing for (download page or gate with form). But in reality, the highest-performing home page (in terms of a standard conversion rate) is Variation B.

Like its larger, better-known counterpart, micro-conversion optimization often poses the risk of tunnel vision. When zeroing in on a specific aspect—especially one as granular as a micro-conversion—we can miss the larger picture.

Finding A Better Metric

None of this is to say that you shouldn’t be tracking your conversion rate, or even your micro-conversions analytics. But it’s likely obsessing over these metrics isn’t the answer to a high-performing website.

The idea that conversion rate is overrated isn’t a particularly groundbreaking one. Goward believes a financial-based metric is more valuable, and suggests optimizing for sales, average order value, qualified leads generated, or anything that directly produces revenue.

Other UX designers and site owners suggest forgoing simple conversion and instead optimizing for long-term metrics—such as subscribers that last for longer than X weeks.

There’s no right answer, no perfect formula that can tell you what metric to optimize for your website. But it’s likely that conversion, or even micro-conversion, isn’t it.

So while tracking and analyzing this data is highly recommended, remember to look at the bigger picture before making major UX design changes to your website.

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Modula Review: A Stylish, User Friendly Photo Gallery Plugin

When it comes to WordPress photo gallery plugins, you have a ton of different options. Because of that, I’d like to apologize… Why? Because I’m about to introduce another photo gallery player into the mix. Modula is freemium photo gallery plugin from developer Macho Themes. It helps you quickly create stylish grid galleries from your images, as well as offering…. Continue Reading

The post Modula Review: A Stylish, User Friendly Photo Gallery Plugin is written by Colin Newcomer and appeared first on WPKube.

Improve Your UX With a Niche Approach

Mass appeal is a myth. I know that goes against what we’d all like to believe, and your eternal optimist inside probably shouts, “Hey! My product is actually for everyone.” But honestly, it’s true; mass appeal is a myth.

Don’t panic though…

Being niche does not mean fewer paying customers. Focussing in on a niche is a good thing, scratch that, a great thing.

The web today is consumer lead. It’s a buyer’s market. With so many service/product providers, people can afford to be choosey. Ask yourself… why should they choose you? What is it that sets you apart? When a customer is making a buying decision, there’s a tri-factor of boxes to check:

  • Does your offering resonate with them?
  • Does your offering mirror their values?
  • Does your offering meet their needs?

Basically, are you providing them with an outstanding user experience? If there’s a market there and you’re able to tick all those boxes within a niche, you are onto a winner.

More Leads

When you know exactly who your customers are, who actually buys your product and more importantly why, you are on the path towards generating more leads.

That knowledge is gold dust because it allows you to further refine your offering and improve UX to appeal to that target market even more.

Higher Conversion Rates 

The deeper understanding of your customers that you get, when specialising in meeting one particular group of people’s needs really well, gives you the ability to work on improving your user’s experience in a way that you just can’t otherwise.

Better UX means better conversion rates.

More Revenue

More leads and higher rates of conversion translate into more revenue for you—woop woop! The exclusivity that your product or service portrays when it only caters to one particular audience will also improve the number of leads and conversions and therefore revenue too… good stuff!

Better Customer Satisfaction

When you choose to focus your efforts on one particular customer type, you gain clarity. Clarity is invaluable and gives everyone within a business an understanding of who the ideal customer is and how to make them happy. It is infinitely easier to make your customers happy and provide a top notch user experience when you actually know them. I get that sounds obvious, but it’s something that is so often overlooked.

Better Retention

When you understand what makes your target market tick, what your prospective customers like and need, what their problems are how to solve them, not only will your customers be happier, but they’ll stick around and tell their mates.

Stronger Positioning & Messaging

It’ll seem like I’m stating the obvious again, but this needs to be said! When you have a deep knowledge of exactly who your target audience is, you can create super compelling and ultimately more effective messaging. Laser precision messaging strengthens your brand and provides a better user experience. Strong positioning will boost your conversion rates and instill trust.

Waste Less Time

Positioning yourself within a niche means you can stop chasing and trying to convert leads and potential customers that just aren’t right for your business.

Waste Less Money

Marketing and advertising are always pretty large priorities with a pretty hefty price tag for any business. Being a niche provider means you you can create a strategy that revolves solely around getting your offering seen by the right people enabling you to make quality spends, not quantity.

Focus Resources

Knowing your niche and your customers means you can avoid spending time and money creating unnecessary features that your customer base doesn’t want or need. This is such a common pitfall you wouldn’t believe it, but you can avoid it and focus your efforts by being a niche provider.

Reduced Stress

I saved this ‘til last because it is a biggie! You can reap all the rewards listed above, reduce waste all round and save yourself a bunch of stress in the process—surely that’s the holy grail right?!

Work Smart

Age old saying though it is, I cannot stress how important it is online to work smart, not just hard, these days.

Concentrate on meeting the needs of a smaller and specific group of people really well, give them the best experience possible. Stop killing yourself over pleasing everyone all the time.

It’s tough to recalibrate that mindset I know, but you’ve got to stop focussing on all the money that you could make but really (honestly!) won’t by targeting everyone because…

“Everyone” is not a target market

In trying to appeal to everyone you appeal to no one.

Whether you sell a product or a service, being clear about exactly who you are targeting and who your audience is, is essential to providing your customers with a better user experience, to increasing your rates of conversion and to your site performing better.

You can’t possibly know what your customers want, need or what might resonate well with them if you aren’t clear on who your target market actually is. Trying to provide a top notch experience and delight customers by solving their problems just can’t work if you lack the knowledge.

Focusing in on a niche is the only way that you stand a chance of getting a deeper understanding of your customers.

The moment you start to see your customers as individuals who have needs that you can meet, people who problems that you can solve with finesse and make happy, work gets much more fun and rewarding. 🙂

The rewards are magnified when you realise that provision of your product or service makes people happy and meets their needs whilst also facilitating you achieving your business goals at the same time. Focus your efforts on meeting the needs of a niche market that you can really connect with and solve problems for. Stop chasing your tail trying to please all the people all the time. I guarantee your customers will thank you for it.

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