Simplicity is key to a message that gets through to your prospects. Have you ever heard of the KISS principle? It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. While the acronym is a bit tongue in cheek, the idea or simplicity can be applied across all of your marketing messages. When I say simple, I don’t necessarily mean basic. The goal should be to break down your message into it’s essential components and eliminate anything superfluous.
Let Me Tell You A Story
I was speaking recently with a client who is implementing a new CRM to manage his sales. He was going through all of the features and there must have been over 20 menu options all with subcategories on the CRM company’s website. It was all a little overwhelming. On top of that, he joked that they would have to get used to using terms like opportunities, something they don’t really talk about in the office. The CRM website has so much information that the core of the product gets completely lost.
Contrast that with the simplicity of a solution like Highrise from 37 Signals. If you are unfamiliar with Highrise, it is a simple CRM solution that has very few options, but all of them are core components of what you would expect a well functioning CRM to do. You can import your contacts, notes, follow ups, assign tasks and stay on top of deals. Everything is in plain English, intuitive and the pricing is very simple. It just works. Their website doesn’t try to overwhelm you with all of the various options. They have only a few pages that answers all of the questions you may have about the product. Then you make your decision.
Now based on my description above, which would you rather use? Now maybe you need every single feature that the first one has built in. Maybe you are willing to spend a couple of hours going through their whole website and understanding all of the options. If you are like the majority of small businesses, you are just looking for something simple to keep track of your relationships. The core identity of the product gets lost in the first one.
Overcoming Too Much Information
If you are thinking about your own business, you want your marketing messages to be simple enough to understand and compelling enough to act upon. This is obviously easier said than done. You don’t necessarily need pages and pages of product information. Sometimes a well executed FAQ section is enough.
The next time you are going to put together a blog post, or a piece of content for your website, ask yourself: what is the core message I am trying to get across? If I wasn’t an expert in the subject would I be able to understand what is being said? Am I using confusing jargon? Is my message getting lost in the shuffle?
It can be difficult to step back from a subject that you are intimately familiar with. In the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath they talk about the Curse of Knowledge. If you haven’t read it before it’s a great book. Basically the idea of the Curse of Knowledge states that if you are an expert in a particular topic it can be incredibly difficult to think from the perspective of those less informed. You might speak on a particular topic with the assumption that the other person has the same level of understanding that you do. This can make your message really confusing to someone who is unfamiliar with the subject. It can also give you the feeling that you need way more information than you actually do.
When you are writing your content, try to overcome the curse of knowledge and break down your message into the core components. By simplifying your message, you are much more likely to have it resonate with your audience.