I was doing some online research earlier this month (for a new camera, as it happens), and I realised that I was in a class of people which websites don’t seem to be very helpful towards. Maybe it’s because I’m just odd, but we might be a growing group who you might want to take into account on your site.
We’re the people who organise our lives around email.
What does that mean? Well, I use email as a to-do list. I use email as a bookmarking service. If I need to remember something, it goes into email. Why? because it’s the one place I know I’ll be looking every day, and which I’ve set up to search easily. My “digital life”, as Apple like to call it, revolves around email.
Right, so what are the implications of this when I’m visiting manufacturers’ or retailers’ sites? Well, when I come across a page I know I’ll want to refer to again later, I hit “Send Link” on my web browser and email myself the page details. You might say: “But can’t you just add it to your favourites or bookmarks?” and of course, that’s what you’re “supposed” to do. But I get the feeling that fewer and fewer people do this, because their lists long ago reached barely-manageable proportions, and are now just restricted to the sites they visit regularly.
When I get to stage two of my research (the one which every supplier would want to be featured in), I browse through my emails and revisit the sites I’ve noted. Well, it works for me …and, I suspect, many other people.
However, sending myself emails is a bit of a chore: I’m switched to the email client, and the link is put into the email for me, but I have to add a subject line, type in my email address, click send and switch back to the browser. So I only make a note of the most important pages of all.
What would happen, however, if there was a small data entry box on a website which said “email yourself a link to this page”? I think I’d be quite inclined to fill it in, especially if when I hit “send”, the box turned into a “Done” label without me leaving the page. Not difficult to do. I wouldn’t have to change application or fill in a subject line. And the best thing of all, from the supplier’s point of view? Instead of me getting a link with no other information, I’d have been sent an email extolling the virtues of the company, including stuff I might have missed.
It’s just an idea. I don’t know how many people there are like me. But they might be an increasing minority, so it wouldn’t hurt to try it out. Let me know if you do, and if it gets used.