News

Steptap Honored As One Of Utah’s Ones To Watch

steptap-one-to-watchThe Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum recognized Steptap as “One to Watch” at their annual UVEF Top 25 Under 5 Awards ceremony today in Provo, Utah.

Steptap was listed among 10 other pre-revenue startup companies in today’s ceremony that featured an additional 25 companies under 5 years old, each outstanding in their field.

The UVEF Top 25 Under 5 event is in it’s 25th year and recognizes the top 25 Utah companies that are less than five years old. Companies are selected for a combination of revenue, employee base, and scalability.

This year, UVEF added a new category to recognize outstanding pre-revenue startups with good ideas, scalable business models, and a jump start in the entrepreneurial community.

Steptap was presented with the One to Watch award this year as a pre-revenue company (no revenue prior to 2014.)

Steptap is an SEO marketing platform that specializes in helping businesses create and share engaging how-to marketing content that shows prospects how to use their product for a solution they need when they are searching for it.

See this news on the UVEF site at: http://uvef.net/2014/uvef-top-25-under-5-2014/

The Steptap Guide To Product How-Tos That Rock

People Really Do Read Product Instructions

Steptap isntructionsHave you ever bought an item that required assembly and found the product instructions woefully inadequate? Perhaps they consisted of a small paper sheet folded eighteen times and hidden in the packaging only to be discovered when you started looking for help after the project went wrong.

Maybe the how-tos contained indecipherable drawings or diagrams that appeared to have been created by someone who had never actually seen the product. Poor translations are notorious for complicating matters. (Though they can provide comic relief in the heat of a difficult project when emotions are running high.)

Does Your Company Overlook How-Tos?

How-tos for assembly, installation, operation, upgrades, compatibility issues, rebates, trade-in promotions, and return procedures often seem to be an afterthought. In some cases, they are absent altogether or buried five links deep in a website. Many large companies spend millions on impressive cross-channel marketing but don’t provide useful product how-tos. Why the disconnect? The attitude, “Nobody reads the instructions, anyway,” is simply not true.

This post contains online comments made by customers who were not happy with furniture assembly product how-tos. Poor instructions, however, are not limited to the ready-to-assemble furniture category. They can be found in all types of markets and industries.

It is not my intention to disparage any product or company, so I have changed or removed the names. These comments were found at apartmenttherapy.com

Instructions Are Part of the Product

Here is a comment from a frustrated customer that clearly defines the primary issue with bad instructions; the instructions are expected as part of the product, and are an essential element of the customer experience:

“Part of a product is its instructions. The fancy packaging clearly denotes this as a DIY-oriented product. Therefore, the instructions should be appropriate for DIY types like me who have never done this before.”

Poor How-Tos Are No Better Than None At All

“My first impression was that the desk’s directions were seemingly missing steps, and were written in some ancient alchemical code.”

“Thanks to instruction defects on (Company Name)’s 6′ Dishwasher Connector, the installation was significantly lengthened.”

Consumers tie their product and company experience to the assembly and set-up of your products. Many times we focus on the usage of the product after it is assembled. Poor instructions can color a customer’s experience right from the start, thwarting any positive momentum you might have achieved.

Bad Instructions Create Bad Customer Experiences

steptap-assembly-instructions2“I think the most difficult time I’ve had with something was a barbeque. It took over 6 hours! That one was the instructions’ fault.”

“I also spent about TWO! WEEKS! struggling to figure out how to put together a metal vanity rack that goes around your toilet. The instructions reversed where the long and short screws were to go, AND it was impossible to put together even with revised instructions.”

“Recently my front door knob just came loose and the whole thing fell apart. The instructions were useless! …basically just pictures of putting the knob on the door. It didn’t say what to do with all the little springs and all the other little pieces that went on the handle. I spent hours working on it and went to bed without it.”

What is the chance that these customers will return? Not likely. Worse, however, is that these negative experiences have become part of the discussion on the web regarding these products. Customers are 3 times more likely to share a negative customer experience, emphasizing the importance of good instructions.

Liability: Actual Injuries Associated With Poor How-To Documentation

While gathering examples for this article, I discovered that poor product instructions can cause more harm than customer frustration. Hopefully, these instances are extremely rare, nevertheless, they should serve as a warning. Legal departments take note: here are descriptions of injuries linked to product assembly nightmares:

“I am trying to type this with one hand and a broken hand as a result of my most frustrated recent effort at assembling a piece of furniture.”

“I ended up crushing my foot and having to go to the emergency room. The nurse laughed when I told her it was an (Company Name) injury. She said she’d seen quite a few of those in her time!”

Product How-Tos and Overall Content Strategy

Companies who fail to deliver adequate product how-tos are missing a key marketing opportunity. Well thought-out product instructions help achieve many important marketing objectives:

Create positive customer experiences
Encourage repeat sales
Conserve customer service resources
Reinforce brand identity
Strengthen customer loyalty

How-Tos Used Before The Sale

Thus far, this post has discussed the role of product how-tos after the sale – but why limit their application? Savvy marketers use product how-tos before the sale, as well. Steptap allows companies to capture “How to…” and “How do I…” searches performed by prospects who have not yet purchased the product but are looking for the solution it provides.

The self-serve generation seeks product and company information on their own terms. Product how-tos are a simple, yet powerful tool to secure and convert prospects at the critical time when they are ready to engage.

The Soft Sell and the Upsell

steptap-assembly-instructions3Well-crafted product how-tos highlight and explain product features naturally, without the hard sell that turns off many prospects. What about upselling? When a buyer is reading your product how-tos, they are golden – a captive audience giving your product their full attention. By featuring compatible or related items from your product line, product how-tos drive upsells. There is never a better time to introduce them to all the other cool stuff you carry.

Create Exceptional Product How-Tos With Steptap

Steptap is a platform for creating product how-tos that transcend the historically humble content niche. Steptap product how-tos meet the key criteria:

  1. Easy to find
  2. Accurate
  3. Break long processes into manageable steps
  4. Written at a level that can be easily understood by all of your customers. (If you sell to a highly-educated customer, you should still err on the side of simplification)
  5. Can be downloaded, printed or accessed electronically
  6. Available in multiple places: your online store, resellers’ websites, packaging, social media sites, brick-and-mortar store shelves
  7. Are updated to reflect product changes
  8. Can be saved and quickly re-accessed
  9. Are translated accurately
  10. Can be easily shared or re-posted by the customer
  11. Can be viewed on a mobile device
  12. If necessary, can be used hands-free

Extend the Reach of Your Existing Documentation

Your company probably has a body of product documentation. PDFs, user manuals, customer updates, white papers, live chat transcripts, FAQs, and employee training docs are a rich source of content that can be used to create product how-tos thereby extending the ROI and reach.

See How Product How-Tos Have Evolved at Steptap

To learn how to create product instructions that rock, visit steptap.com. Set up a free account with just a couple clicks and create your first product how-to in minutes. Add images and video for how-tos that create a hassle-free experience for your customers.

Steptap how-tos, (called steplists) can be posted to your online store, embedded in your blog, featured on your company Facebook page, shared on Pinterest, added to your YouTube channel, or downloaded from a self-generated QR code.

Each steplist is a Google-indexed searchable page that links directly to your website (or anywhere you want). If you use the nifty timing feature, customers can play the steplist on their smart phone or iPad and set up your product hands-free. The steps, complete with pictures, diagrams or video, will advance automatically as your customer completes each step in the process.

Instructions Worthy of Your Product

At steptap.com, you can build your own instructions or hire our team of how-to experts to create compelling step-based directions that complement and blend seamlessly with your existing marketing content.

Check out this Steptap how-to for changing your oil How To Change Your Oil. Hover over the product name under the Required Items section at the beginning of the how-to to see how a prospect can  purchase the product or receive more information. Press Begin under the steplist to see how it advances through the steps.

You can manage your library of product instructions on our site and update each as needed due to changes in product specs, promotions, return procedures, or regulations.

Where Is Your Next Customer?

Human Resources And CrmYour next customer is looking for a solution to a problem right now. Steptap is the way you can show that customer how to solve their problem, with your product.

Your Customers are Searching Right Now

In the vast reaches of cyber world, there is a significant number of people who need your product or service this very second. (Unless, of course, you are Chevron or Starbucks in which case there are probably millions.)

How can you capture this golden slice of the pie? Let’s start with their search bar query. It probably contains the phrases “how do I,” or “how to.”

If you sell digital scrapbooking software, your next customer is probably typing something like: “how do I turn my pictures into a photo book,” or “how to make a digital scrapbook.” These are folks that have never heard of you. They are not yet loyal to a digital scrapbooking provider or scrapbooking product.

If you are an estate planning attorney, your next client may be typing: “how do I write a living will” or “how do I get a healthcare power of attorney.” They aren’t looking for you, necessarily – they just want to solve a problem or fill a need.

You Can Be the Solution

At this moment, the solution is their number one priority. If not, they would be doing something else. The only way a searcher can become your next customer is if you solve their problem. This is most easily done with Steptap.

Steptap creates concise, search engined optimized step-based instructions that can be published everywhere with just a couple clicks. Steptap is a social content marketing platform that helps you present your products as the solution that people are looking for, even when they don’t know who you are.

Here is an example of a steplist that shows how to create an entire nail makeover from a single sample from a Jamberry party – very handy for DIY nail artists:

This is the type of how-to any Pinterest user would be proud to pin and post to all their key sites. We have seen remarkable interest from Pinterest users wanting to add how-to content to their pins so that customers have a better way to create wonderful projects from the images they see on Pinterest.

Steptap helps you create and embed engaging how-to content that shows your prospects how to use your products for a solution they need right now.
Visit http://steptap.com right now to create your own free account.

How To Embed Marketing Content With Steptap

One of the key advantages of using the Steptap platform to market your business with engaging how-to content is the embed tool.

steptap-embed-codeEach steplist includes a customized share page that provides a unique share image, links to the big five social media sites, custom URLs, a QR code, and an embed code.

The embed code for each steplist can be used to incorporate a branded steplist in a company blog, on-site page or even on a community blog that aims to share your how-to with a related community.

Using the embed code is easy, simply follow these steps:

  1. Create a steplist at Steptap.com
  2. Visit the steplist page by clicking on the title of the steplist in your MySteplists page of your free account.
  3. Click the Share tool at the top of the page, on the right.
  4. Copy the unique embed code from the embed code field.
  5. Paste the embed code into your blog. Be sure to use the HTML insert window when you do this; the code is formatted for HTML.
  6. Adjust for width and height by changing the width and height numbers in the embed code to format for the size of your page.
  7. Done!

At the end of this process, you will have an embeded steplist on your page that looks a lot like the example below.

The advantages to using Steptap to create and embed your how-to include the ability to manage your content from a single location. No matter how many places you share your how-to, embed, or link, you will always have centralized control over the content so updates and additions are always easy to deal with.

Here is our embed example:

You can see this steplist live in the Steptap site here: How to unpack and inspect a new NOMAD handheld x-ray.

Steptap helps you create and embed engaging how-to content that shows your prospects how to use your products for a solution they want to solve right now.
Visit http://steptap.com to create your own free account right now.

How Can How-Tos Benefit Your Business?

“Self Serve” Content Puts the Customer in Charge

Steptap self serve content marketing.Marketers are depending less and less on traditional marketing because of shifting trends in consumer behavior.  Customers are turning to online sources to learn about companies and products. These channels include company websites, YouTube videos, white papers, business Facebook pages, group-buying sites, and online review sites.

Publish Helpful Content That Fills a Need

Steptap creates and manages step-based instructions that educate your customers on how to use or enjoy your products.

For example,  a company that provides technical support to basic computer users could create a steplist that shows clients how to back up their computer’s contents to an external hard drive. This information is useful to non-technical customers and helps establish the company as an expert in the field.

A potential customer who downloads and uses the instructions would be more likely to hire the company for more complex services.

How-Tos Drive Customers to Your Online Store

Each steplist is a self-contained unit that can be saved, posted, reposted and updated at Steptap.com. As a searchable page, each steplist is an effective SEO tool. Steplists can be easily posted to a business Facebook page, online store, blog, YouTube channel, Twitter feed, or Pinterest board.

Business owners can create their own steplists at steptap.com or let the Steptap content marketing experts create professional steplists for your business. To learn more about how how-tos benefit your business, visit steptap.com.

Why CMOs Trust Content Marketing

Steptap Engaging Content MarketingIt is no secret that content marketing is increasing in importance to CMOs.

Here are some recent numbers from Demand Metric’s Content Marketing Infographic:1

  • 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
  • 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing.

Why do CMOs trust content marketing? In short, it works.

TV watchers skip ads, online customers unsubscribe from company emails, and glossy direct mail pieces end up in recycle bins without even a glance. When was the last time you bought something because you received a brochure in the mail?

80% of people appreciate learning about a company through content that is relevant, valuable, and personalized.1

Today’s consumer is proactive in researching companies and products online. They respond to quality, custom content that teaches them how to use or enjoy a company’s products or services.

Steptap makes it easy for marketers to create custom step-based how-to instructions as part of their inbound marketing techniques. CMOs prefer content marketing because quality content builds trust among customers (B2B and B2C) and increases conversion rates.

Ready to start your engaging content marketing?

1“Content Marketing Infographic,” Demand Metric, accessed March 31, 2014

Why Steptap Should Be Part Of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Quality Content Brings Customers to Your Business

Fact: The overwhelming majority of customers consult online sites before making purchasing decisions – between 87 and 95 percent depending on the study.

“Today, the collective voice of the internet is eclipsing the persuasive power of family, friends or colleagues when it comes to influencing purchase decisions,” Dave Senay, CEO of the research firm Fleishman-Hillard.

Fact: Consumers use, on average, 8 different online media sources to find product information.

Fact: Because of this fragmentation (which has increased sharply in the past five years and continues its upward trend), it is critical for business owners to market on multiple platforms including online stores, product review sites, social media, blogs and hard media. The gateway to all of these channels is the search engine. SEO is king.

According to Brafton:

“Consumers are more likely to buy from companies that offer custom content. Creating original content aimed at informing consumers or B2B buyers without aggressive selling language will help businesses appeal to new prospects.” 1

Your Customers Want Useful Information

Fact: The most valuable content teaches the customer how to do something useful. Clear, concise and helpful content is preferred by today’s short-attention users including millennials.

“Marketers need to maximize their online channels to make it easy for consumers to interact with and access information about their brands.” 2

Steptap Creates Engaging, Searchable Content for Your Company

Visit steptap.com to learn more about why you need custom Steptap content as part of your content marketing strategy.

1  “Content Marketing,” Brafton, accessed on March 25, 2014

2 “2012 Digital Influence Index Shows Internet as Leading Influence in Consumer Purchasing Choices,” Fleishman-Hillard, January 31, 2012, fleishmanhillard.com, accessed on March 25, 2014

Accessible Instructions At Your Fingertips

Cropped image of man's hand scanning product through mobile phoneIn this digital age, we truly are swimming in information soup. From our desktop computers to our laptops to our tablets and to our phones, we are connected to an infinite sea of knowledge.

Concise How-Tos Can Be Hard to Find

At times, this makes our lives easier. However, it seems like straightforward, “how-to” instructions can be hard to find. Instructions for fixing things, building things, using things, and simply doing things.

Steptap Provides a Better Way to Share How-To Knowledge

Steptap.com wants to change that. Steptap is revolutionizing the way we produce and share our how-to knowledge. At Steptap you can create and share step-based instructions for anything.

These instructions, called steplists, can be searched, downloaded, posted on a blog, shared on Facebook, pinned to a Pinterest board, or embedded in a business website.

How-Tos for Everything

Are you a small business owner who needs an easy way to give your customers instructions regarding your products? Make a steplist. Are you a craft guru with a sizable Pinterest following? Give your followers easy-to-follow instructions with Steptap! Are you an e-tailer? Embed your webpage with steplists so your customers know how to use your products and return to your site frequently. (Did we mention that steplists can also improve your website search rankings?)

Visit steptap.com to start creating how-to lists and learn more about how Steptap can make how-to information better organized, more accessible, and more valuable. The basic account is free. Upgrade for better SEO.

Featured Steplist: How To Fix The Sound On Your iPad

how-to-fix-the-sound-on-your-ipadListPipe recently received a call from a customer who was having trouble getting their app to play sound. This is a problem a few customers have had in the past and the solution had to do with adjusting the Slide Switch settings on the device.

http://steptap.com/How-To-Fix-The-Sound-On-Your-IPad

ListPipe decided it would be a good idea to create a new steplist to share the steps required to solve the problem.

“It only took a few minutes, and we now have a branded, sharable list of steps that future customers can use to quickly solve the problem.” -Allanna, ListPipe Customer Support.

If you are having trouble with sound on your iPad, try How To Fix The Sound On Your iPad.

1-2-3 Easy How-To Writing

Hello! Thanks for visiting our Steptap blog. We are excited to announce that our website is up and ready for you: steptap.com

First visit? Let me tell you why we are so excited. Steptap makes how-to writing easy. We have created a hassle-free way to create and share step-based how-to instructions. These how-tos are called steplists. We think they are aptly named because each is comprised of a list of steps showing how to do something.

Go ahead, visit our site right now for easy how-to writing. You can make your first steplist in minutes. Visit steptap.com and open a free account. Click Create in the upper right hand corner and follow the prompts. First you enter the items you will need. Then type in each step in order. Add photos or video (or even just a segment of a video). Done!

Why is Steptap the best way to create instructions?

  • Steplists make how-to writing easy
  • Each steplist is a shareable page indexed by search engines
  • Steplists can be embedded in your blog
  • Steplists are automatically saved in your Steptap account for storage and easy access
  • Steplists are mobile
  • Steplists can be instantly shared to your social networks
  • Steplists are easy for users to follow – they can start, stop, and move around easily
  • Steplists are to-the-point – they don’t contain irrelevant information
  • Steplists require no printing
  • Steplists can be easily updated
  • Steplists can be integrated with Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or your company website
  • Each steplist generates a corresponding QR code (that square, blotchy, black and white image that you scan with your smartphone) that can be printed on packaging, labels, or marketing materials

Check back soon for the latest Steptap news.