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"Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream" - Lennon/McCartney
It's part of the human condition to make things more complicated than they really need to be. In the sense of meditation, concentration on a simple mantra produces a beneficial physical state that can actually be measured. By stripping away modern complexity and focusing on ancient simplicity, meditation can actually improve measurable health indicators like blood pressure.
If you think of some of the classics of history, their elegance and simplicity resonates through the ages. Think of a Ferrari Dino (first produced in 1968) or a Porsche 356 (first produced in 1948) - both classic elegant, designs that are every bit as stunning today as they were 50 to 70 years ago.
In a similar way, simplicity is important in your inbound marketing. If you practice simplicity appropriately, you will communicate more clearly and get better results in lead generation and customer acquisition. Here are a few examples of how to use simplicity to focus your inbound marketing for success.
Use simplicity to focus your value messaging
Effective marketing always starts with messaging. What is it about your product or service that would make a buyer choose your solution from all of the other alternatives available? If you can't communicate that quickly and effectively, you face an uphill battle. Let me illustrate that concept by asking you to choose which of these two messages you think is more effective.
- Our athletic shoes use space-age polymers to create a best-in-class experience for today's weekend warrior.
- Just do it.
I'm guessing you chose number 2 - Nike did. These 3 words have come to define Nike's brand. For many people throughout the world, "just do it" are probably the only three English words they know.
You should strive for simplicity in your own messaging. Mercilessly edit your marketing copy. If a word doesn't add value to the message, get rid of it. Don't use overused buzzwords like "best-in-class" or "industry standard". If everyone says they are "best in class", it is just noise that buyers ignore. David Meerman Scott's GobbledyGook Manifesto is an excellent resource to help you strip this noise from your marketing message.
One exercise that every company should do at the beginning of the year is to brainstorm what truly makes them different. Be brutally honest with yourself and check your message with your customers to see what they think.
Use simplicity to make your website more focused
A good website user experience has its foundation in simplicity. Limit the choices users have and you will be rewarded. This psychological concept can be best explained by a marketing experiment conducted by Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper. I can't say it better than the people at Harvard Business Review, so here's a quote from an article entitled, "More Isn't Always Better"
"It all began with jam. In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper published a remarkable study. On one day, shoppers at an upscale food market saw a display table with 24 varieties of gourmet jam. Those who sampled the spreads received a coupon for $1 off any jam. On another day, shoppers saw a similar table, except that only six varieties of the jam were on display. The large display attracted more interest than the small one. But when the time came to purchase, people who saw the large display were one-tenth as likely to buy as people who saw the small display."
Which one of these two choices does your website most closely resemble? If it resembles the large display, simplify! Make it easy for users to find the information they need and limit their choices. On our homepage, we give users two options in addition to accessing simple navigation: request a consultation or download the Ultimate Lead Generation Handbook. We have close to 25 eBooks that users can download, but we focus on these 2 conversion offers to keep it simple.
Use simplicity to focus your target market
Unless you are a large enterprise brand like Google or Apple, you are most likely better off focusing on a tightly, narrowly-defined target market. This could be the differentiator in your messaging.
Rather than be jack of all trades, master of none, think about being the go-to provider in the non-profit accounting firm market. Many SMB business owners have spent their pre-entrepreneurial career in a narrow niche like that. They probably know more about those kind of businesses than most or all of the competition, which gives them differentation that may make the difference in a purchase decision.
Once you have defined a niche, be very disciplined about spending your time outside of that niche. Don't chase prospects that don't meet your ideal customer profile definition unless there's a damn good reason. And if we're being honest, most times there isn't a damn good reason.
So let me finish with another Lennon/McCartney quote, "lay down all thought, surrender to the void." Maybe you don't need to go that far, but the old "keep it simple, stupid" rule will pay dividends in your inbound marketing results. Need some help keeping it simple? Schedule a free consultation.