Empathy Maps: A Complete Guide to Crawling Inside Your Customer’s Head

two men sitting on a bench outside a diner, a woman leans against a wall next to them

Jack Ungulate is a strange bird.

When he drinks beer, he licks his index and middle finger, swipes the bottle opening, and then pauses, with the bottle raised to his mouth, before turning it upside down.

Each time, every time.

He also has a routine with his steel-toe boots. The left one must go on first, then the right. But he takes them off in reverse.

And then there’s his ritual when buying large ticket items like a car: he sends his wife to the lot while he sits in the garage, waiting for her to call.

When people talk to him about saving for his children’s college fund, he quickly cuts them off to inform them there is no fund because he’d prefer to cultivate a sense of ownership by encouraging them to pay their own way through school.

He enjoys the scowls that appear on their faces.

As he methodically replaces a defective steam gauge on a heating system, he thinks about his father and why they never talk. Then he contemplates how he’s going to break it to his own son that he won’t be able to make it to his kayak competition that evening because he has to cover a co-worker’s night shift.

The overtime, however, will go towards their trip to Cancun in April. That should ease the sting.

Clearly, Jack is not so much strange as he is just complex. Like most humans. And all of your customers.

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Entrepreneurs: This 8-Letter Word Will Revolutionize Your Productivity

in a laundromat, a man has his upper-body stuck in a dryer, his legs are flailing outside the machine

If you’re an entrepreneur, does any of this sound familiar to you?

  • You’re trapped in Outlook for up to seven hours each day.
  • You want to launch a podcast, but you have no clue when you’ll be able to edit it.
  • You only have time for a fraction of the marketing you need to do to promote your new blog posts.
  • You are afraid to customize your website design since there is a chance you’ll mess something up with the code (and spend the weekend fixing it).
  • Conversions on your product landing page are dropping — and you desperately need to optimize it.
  • You can’t remember the last time you didn’t work on Sunday.

Fewer than three years ago, this reality was all too real for blogger, podcaster, and business owner Chris Ducker.

He worked 14-hour days chasing his tail around to make a living while becoming a complete stranger to his family — until he found a smarter way to run his business.

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Beyond Niches: Tap Into This Psychological Driver to Create the Ultimate Message

close-up portrait of a smiling woman, her clenched hand covers half of her mouth

The number of blog posts published every day is absurd.

Let’s just say it exceeds the population of the four largest countries in the world and be done with it.

Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t. The point is — and we all know it — the volume of written content online is overwhelming.

And let’s not forget about other media: videos, podcasts, Google+ Hangouts, photographs, et cetera.

Shock is one way to describe our reaction to the tonnage dumped each day.

Despair is another — especially for content producers who want to find an audience.

The conventional advice is to find a viable niche, the territory competitors have overlooked. Once you occupy that ground, you will stand out — you will rise above the noise.

That plan leaves us jockeying for the content gap, looking for a way in. Miss your opportunity, however, and you are just another contributor to the landfill that is the World Wide Web.

But you can do better than that.

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Master This Storytelling Technique to Create an Irresistible Content Series

man telling a story at a cafe

In this cold, hard, commercial world, everyone is looking for answers online.

We are all “searchers” looking for the best way to solve a problem or satisfy a desire.

And we are ruthless …

We make split-second decisions about clicking a headline.

How does your website look at a glance?

If you try to consummate the fragile exchange of attention and education too quickly with a “buy this” button, you’ll likely lose long-term prospects and lifetime sales.

The reality is — whether you sell garden hoses or reputation management services — you have to master the know-like-trust factor first.

How do you accomplish this vital component of content marketing?

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13 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Are a Freelancer

American flag

There is a good chance that by 2020 you will be self-employed.

An old Intuit report estimated that by that time nearly 40 percent of Americans will make their living as temporary workers — that is, as freelancers, business owners, or independent workers.

This could be good news.

Those who are not freelancers often look at those who are with a trace of envy. From the cubicle, the grass certainly looks greener. It is the life that you could have. And should have.

If only.

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Google Glass Offers a First-Mover Advantage You Shouldn’t Overlook

close-up of an eye wearing Google Glass

Have you ever wondered what the subreddit “ShittyBattleStations,” hammerhead sharks, and the Internet have in common?

Yeah, me neither.

But I recently discovered that the three seemingly unconnected entities all stretch my sense of nostalgia.

ShittyBattleStations is a subreddit where people share photographs of their gaming environments. Imagine bad camera angles of a bean bag chair, milk crate, high-powered computer, and a gallon of water.

It’s a place for snapshots of a subculture interested in avoiding the complex world — a subculture that reminds me of my own sad attempts as an adolescent to master Donkey Kong, since people scared the daylights out of me.

And I’ve been a fan of hammerhead sharks ever since Momaw Nadon’s cameo in the original Star Wars.

The Internet? Well, in the beginning, only a select few were entertained by slow-loading, grainy information and pixelated images. I stood aloof, fearful.

“You mean, like, I could talk to a stranger in Singapore?”

“Yes.”

“I do believe that is terrible.”

It’s safe to say I’ve gotten over that anxiety, but a recent development has caused some of it to reemerge …

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