When I set up Branching Out Online, my key objective was to keep it simple. I knew that many small business owners were confused and intimidated by the obscure “techno-talk” and jargon surrounding online marketing. It put them off, it stressed them out, and it held them back.
There’s a real challenge in Albert Einstein’s assertion that “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” It’s not necessarily easy to “keep it simple”, but when it comes to online marketing, it IS necessary! If you want to really connect with your online audience, it’s vital that you boil your message down to its core ideas, and ditch the unnecessary clutter.
Today’s consumers are overwhelmed and bombarded by a crazy amount of information, material and messaging on a daily basis. To cut through this deluge and be seen, YOUR message needs to stand out as clean, simple and punchy. In other words, you need to get to the point!
The online information waters are overcrowded and incredibly muddy; if you add confusing and overly-complex material to this, it’s likely to get lost in the mire. But if your marketing message is easily identifiable and clear, it will draw attention, encourage engagement and enhance understanding. Your aim is to refresh, not depress, already bombarded readers!
I understand the temptation to be “clever” to make your mark, or to showcase your knowledge, expertise or products as fully and in as much detail as you can, but, as regular humans, your online audience is likely to switch off when faced with anything that feels even remotely complicated.
Understanding this fact about human nature is key to giving your customers what they want. They want you to get the point; they want to easily understand what you are telling them, they want to know how it will impact their life for the better. As soon as you get too technical and complex, your audience switches off.
Take the case of Apple as a perfect example of how to simplify a marketing message: instead of focusing on the number of gigabytes their iPod has, they advertise the number of songs the iPod will hold because that is a personal benefit that every customer will understand. Simple, right?
Simplicity is a real advantage in an environment saturated with online noise. So focus your message on how you can benefit your customer while adding as little complexity as possible. Speak to them in real terms, make your content accessible, uncomplicated and relevant….DON’T overburden them with too much “stuff” and expect them to trawl through the clutter to get to the point. Because they won’t.
Before you post any content, ask yourself the following questions…
- Will it make my readers feel comfortable?
- Is it easy to understand?
- Does it get my point across, CLEARLY?
- What can I take out to make it simpler?
Have the guts to edit out anything that isn’t truly important; your readers will thank you for it. Keep it real, keep it focused on your audience and make sure that they can see the wood for the trees!
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