We’ve certainly seen a rise in popularity over the last few years of using a flash drive (thumb drive, memory stick, or whatever you want to call it) as a delivery device for content. You can get flash drives that can hold massive quantities of content so the perception is that you can lower your delivery costs for your content versus more traditional media such as CDs or DVDs.
Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on how much content you need to put on your flash drive. If you have more than a few GB of data then you can find rather quickly that you may be able to deliver that content via traditional media less expensively.
Just go to one of the major flash drive suppliers such as FlashBay.com and request a quote to see what you are looking at price wise.
That being said, the purpose of this article is to provide you with tips on how to make your content more consumable, so let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that you’ve already made the decision you’re going to use a flash drive for the delivery of your content.
The first major hurdle you’ll need to overcome is the “out of sight, out of mind” factor that comes along with flash drives traditionally. They are so small they are easily misplaced. Someone drops one into their desk drawer and it may never be seen again. Obviously, if they lose your delivery device of your content they are not going to be consuming your content in any way.
That’s why it is imperative that you deliver your flash drive in larger packaging that someone would be inclined to stick on their bookshelf or leave on their desktop.
Custom packaging can give you some of that all-important shelf real estate where your product is more apt to be seen by your customer on a regular basis and therefore, more likely to be consumed.
It also helps with the issue of perceived value. If someone has spent several hundred or several thousand dollars to buy a product from you and you hand them a tiny flash drive in a plastic bag their first reaction is usually something like “I paid $500 for that?”
Not the way you want to get started with a new client. Even though you know and they deep down understand the value is in the content itself and not in the device through which it is delivered you’re still creating an incongruent situation in their mind that you’re better off avoiding.
While custom packaging of your flash drive is recommended to help reduce the chances of “out of sight, out of mind” once they’ve inserted your flash drive into the USB port on their computer they can just as easily get lost in the morass of content contained on your drive.
Some will say the greatest benefit of a flash drive is the massive quantities of data that it can hold. Others would say that the greatest deficiency of a flash drive is the massive quantities of data that it can hold.
Let’s face it—you can pack so much data onto a flash drive that the user can easily become so confused that they don’t know where to start. So they don’t. And with any information product, if you can’t get them to start the consumption process the chances of them coming back to you to purchase additional products or services go way, way down.
You need to make it easy for your customer to know where to begin to consume your content by directing them step-by-step on how to get started. Watch this video file first or read this pdf document or listen to this audio.
Whatever it is, tell them exactly what to do first, second, third, fourth and so on. Give them what amounts to a GPS to lead them every step of the way
through your content.
Can you make this “GPS” a file itself on your flash drive? You could, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Your course guide needs to be part of a cover letter (yes, an actual printed on paper cover letter) that they receive with their flash drive. Or it could be a printed booklet—some type of “Read this First” guide.
They need to understand exactly what it is they are getting on your flash drive and the order in which they should consume it. Don’t assume they’ll figure it out on their own. If they get frustrated at any stage in the process many people will just walk away.
It’s your job to be their guide and to essentially take them by the hand and lead them through.
Break things into bite-sized chunks so people can feel a sense of progress and continue to move forward in a positive manner. Flash drives are here to stay. Just be aware of their pros and cons so you can build the necessary consumption aids around the flash drive itself to improve the consumption of your information product.