Tips and advice, Writing for Business

Feeding a thirst for information

I recently spent five days in Disneyland Paris and whilst it was brilliant in many, many ways, there was one element that resonated with me – visitors’ thirst for content.

Specifically, they wanted information…far more information than was available. And not only more information but the same information repeated. They wanted clear guidance. And even more interestingly, they wanted it in more than one format.

Let me explain why I noticed this. At Disneyland Paris, there is something that is called a ‘Fastpass’. You can use your standard entry ticket to get a pass to certain rides that lets you jump the queue – giving you a specified time frame to return. Before arriving, we had heard of the Fastpass and expected to have it all explained when we arrived at our Disney hotel. But no, we were told we could access the system in the parks, but apart from a mention of it in the map and the indication of what rides had Fastpass on the app – there are no clear instructions on how it works. Therefore, you have to enter the park, with thousands of other people, figure out which rides (because it is not all…which you can be forgiven for not realising!) and then hope for the best as you scan your ‘Magic Pass’. Interestingly, you then get a ticket which actually has a lot more information on it, explaining about how you can only have one at a time (in a two hour period). Furthermore, if you already have one, if you try to get another, a ticket is printed which explains this to you again. So it is very much a ‘trial and error’ process. I noticed the number of people stood around the Fastpass area looking perplexed! It wasn’t just me … we heard others complain of the same. Those in the know seemed like they were part of a secret club!

To complicate things further, there are Ultimate Fastpasses and (still completely inexplicably) some people seem to be able to jump queues for meeting characters (even though they’d don’t have Fastpass machines or anything. We asked a couple of staff members if we could book a time, but we always got a ‘no’ and I still can not fathom how people were let in during particular slots written down on the evident clipboard. I’ve even Googled it extensively as I was utterly baffled. I am assuming they have some truly magical ticket only the rich and famous know about perhaps?!?!

I won’t go in to great detail but we had the same with the photo pass option – to get photos taken on rides or by professional photographers with Disney characters, which you can then download from an app. The pass itself came in a small box with literally three lines of instructions!

Finally, let me say this is not a language barrier issues – most cast members’ (the Disney word for employee!) English was brilliant and there were many native English speakers working there too. My French isn’t too bad either…so it wasn’t that.

So, what am I getting at?

It is all about the way the content was presented and how often. Add in a pressured situation with lots of people; long queues and kids asking a million question…you just want life to be as easy as possible! Trust me!

Feeling alienated by the need for insider knowledge – scaring clients away

Now I have been there and used the Fastpass and safely downloaded my photos (with the help of my husband), I get how the systems work and feel really comfortable with them. However, I hated the feeling of being lost and confused at the start of the holiday. I hated the feeling that you needed ‘insider knowledge’. With Disneyland, I wasn’t going to walk away because of this, especially as there is so much more to it than these passes…but think about it from the perspective of your small business. If you make information about how your products work or the services offered difficult to understand or find, then potential clients will feel alienated. They won’t work as hard as i did at Disney to figure it out, they will simply move on to your competitor.

Say it; say it and say it again

It is vitally important that you share information about your business again and again. I can assure you that if we:

a) had a step-by-step guide to using a Fastpass in our booking information;
b) had it explained to us by the hotel receptionist when checking-in and
c) been asked by a cast member if we wanted it to be explained on arrival at our first Fastpass ride…

I would not have complained! People want to be ‘in the know’!

Don’t be afraid to say and share information about your business over and over again – write it, say it, illustrate it…whatever it is! Opening times are a good example – put them on your website (ideally appearing on every page, i.e. the footer). Make sure they are on your social media pages – you can easily add them to Facebook, for example. You can also publish them in a post…and especially if you have any changes to them. Put them in your email communications too. Honestly, there is nothing more frustrating than deciding to go to a restaurant or shop that you have seen lots about or deciding to call a company, because of the great marketing and content you have seen, only to turn up to find it is closed when you have made a special effort.

People have a thirst for the most basic information – opening times, contact information, descriptions of what you do and what you offer…and don’t worry about repeating yourself.

You have probably read the statistics or seen Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience which suggests people only remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see. Now, think about that in terms of the number of individual posts people scroll through on social media. It was suggested in 2018 that people scroll through around 300 ft of content!! ….300ft! So 10-30% is such a small amount. Therefore, even though you might feel repetitive, offering clear information in different formats is vitally important. It will help people to interact and engage with you.

Feeding the thirst for information

So, how can you make sure you have told people about your business clearly and in a way your target audience will find useful?

  • Use different formats – written, photos, video, infographics, etc.
  • Make finding information easy – think about your customer’s journey. How would potential clients find you. What will they want to know and in what order. Think about the user experience on your website, your profile pages and in emails you send out.
  • Ensure information is accurate – keep all information up-to-date.
  • Be easily contactable – if a client can’t find something they are looking for then the next step is wanting to ask for it, so make that easy – one click! Hyperlink email addresses, add messenger buttons to Facebook posts, respond to comments and reply to emails.
  • Say it more than once – whatever it is, if it is vital for your business and people want or need to know it, say it over and over again – in different and engaging ways, sure, but plan and share as often as necessary. There is nothing worse than having enquiries for things you don’t offer, for example!

I hope this is helpful…I am now off to gaze at the photos on my photopass and remember all the rides we managed to skip the long queues on with the Fastpass…and contemplate exactly how all of the information to do these things could have been presented so much better!

Perhaps, I’ll put in a call to Disney’s communication department 😉

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