100 Things You Should Know About People: #61 — People Learn Best By Example

Blackboard that says Show MeLet’s say you are a marketing person and you are going to send out an email to your customers about a new product offering. And let’s assume that you use a web application like MailChimp to create and distribute your emails. Here are some directions from the MailChimp web site on how to build an email campaign: (Hint: You don’t have to read it word for word… read a few of the steps and then skim to the end).

1. From the Dashboard or the Campaign Tab click on the big ol’ “Create Campaign” button and select the type of campaign you’d like to create (start with regular ol’ campaign.).

2. On Step 1 of the Campaign Builder, select the list you’d like to send to. Once you’ve selected the list use the “next” option to move forward, or click “send to entire list”.

3. On Step 2 of the Campaign Builder, you will have the options to name your campaign, set up a subject line, from name reply-to email and personalize your “To:” field with *|MERGETAGS|*. You will also find your options for tracking, authentication, analytics tracking and social sharing. (Use the “next” and “back” options to navigate through the steps (not your browser’s back button)).

4. Select a Template for your email by clicking on “pre-designed”, “autoconnect”, “premium”, or “start from scratch”, etc (to get a basic template layout that you can fully customize) under the templates heading. Templates you’ve set up and saved will live under “my templates”. If you’re providing your own code use the “paste/import HTML” or “import from URL” options. If you want to create an editable (or non-editable) Template for your clients, choose “code custom templates”.

5. Once you choose your template you’ll remain on Step 3 of the Campaign Builder. The content editor is where you will edit your styles and content. Click on “show style editor” to bring up the style options.

6. With the Style Editor visible and you’ll have options to edit the styles for each section. Here the “Body” tab is selected and the “title style” subheading has been clicked. This will allow you to set the line height, font size and more for this section.

7. Click anywhere inside the dotted red borders to bring up the content editor box

8. After you click save wait for your content to refresh then click on the “next” option. Our plain text generator will automagically create the plain text version from your HTML version. Just look this version over to make sure it looks the way you like and click “next” to move to the last step of the Campaign Builder.

9. Step 5 of the Campaign Builder is a “pre-delivery checklist”. If we see anything missing on your campaign you’ll be alerted in red on this screen. Click on “edit” to be taken directly back to any area that needs attention.
You can preview the campaign once more by clicking on the “pop up preview” button.
Then we recommend sending tests to several email addresses to see how the campaign looks in your recipient’s inboxes. If everything looks good, you can schedule or send out your campaign.

Luckily that’s not really how MailChimp explains this — The above is long and hard to understand and learn from, right? This is actually NOT how the information is presented at MailChimp. The text is the same, but it is combined with screen shots to show an example of what the text is talking about.

So here is what part of the page really looks like, with text and picture together.

MailChimp Example for Step 1

MailChimp Example for Step 2

The power of the example – People learn and understand best by looking at and following examples.

Video too — Screen shots or pictures are not the only way to provide examples. At the MailChimp site there are also links to videos that walk you through the same steps. Videos are some of the most effective ways to give examples online. Videos combine movement, sound and vision, and don’t require reading. So they are attention-getting and engaging.

What are some of the ways you show people rather than just tell people how to do something?

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4 Replies to “100 Things You Should Know About People: #61 — People Learn Best By Example”

  1. Hi Susan, one of the best examples I came across is what Google did to promote Chrome and browsing the web in general. It was all done using comics, courtesy of Scott McCloud, Christoph Niemann and others. I think it simplified things to a point where people not in the industry could understand (no, visualize) complex topics such as threading, HTTP, cross-site request forgery, sandbox, etc.

    http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/googlechrome#p/c/483EE5FD751A8625/0/5535Ts-iOP0
    http://www.20thingsilearned.com/

  2. What a great article you got there. Most of us really learn best by seeing examples. For instance our parents or our elderly, when they ask on how to operate or use a certain technology/gadget they need to see how by showing them the step-by-step procedure.

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