Simple gets results: how to simplify your marketing strategy

In the 1950s, Charles Mingus was one of the most progressive jazz musicians around. On the heels of the bebop era that crested in the late 1940s, Mingus became a leading figure in avant-garde jazz. He blazed a unique path: to this day, Mingus is one of the only well-known jazz bassists to lead a band.

You might think that someone who was so creative and did things so differently was focused on the abstract complexities of jazz that few people could understand.

But in reality, Mingus’ approach was totally different. Shortly before his death in 1979, he told a reporter:

“Go where you can go, but start from someplace recognizable. Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”

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Mingus might as well have been talking about online marketing. Today’s world of marketing has become more robust and detailed than ever before: there are exponentially more channels to collect data on and tools to collect them with, which has led to an influx of data like we have never seen.

In fact, it’s not even close: according to IBM, 90% of the data in the world was created in the last two years. This is a big reason why marketers often suffer from “information overload.” They have a tendency to get in their own way and make it too difficult for their prospects and customers to get what they need. The marketers who are truly creative and successful, like Charles Mingus, are the ones who simplify things.

Here are some tips on how you can simplify your marketing strategy to do a better job of building trust and gaining customers and conversions.

Adopt a “One-Click” Mentality

One consequence of the surplus of information that is available about web visitors today is that marketers are trying to be overly fancy. A link to an offer leads to a blog post about that same offer, which is actually embedded into a podcast episode…you get the idea.

This is the wrong approach. Your job as a marketer is twofold: find out what people want, and give it to them as easily as possible. Don’t let a shiny new graphic or report on the value of different types of landing pages or communication channels distract you from those two duties.

With E-mail, Quality Beats Quantity

Another consequence of the information overload of today is that marketers tend to get caught up in focusing on the number of touches. One conversion touch, one autoresponder touch, then two days later another content offer, etc. Scale that formula up and apply it to the 1,000 addresses you have collected for your mailing list and the business should start rolling in, right?

Not exactly. Today’s marketers need to put more effort into researching and segmenting their target audience. Instead of bombarding people with tons of email offers, go the opposite route: reduce the amount of content that you send them, but when you do send them content, spend some time thinking about ways that you can make it really special for them.

Also, try to focus on one specific offer or area where you want to improve traffic. If you want to really improve conversions in one particular area, center your email on that specific offer. This type of simplification means your audience has a better understanding of what they are expected to do.

Simplify Your Marketing Designs

A design used in marketing could be anything, from a landing page to an online store to a marketing email. Whatever it is, it has to be simple to ensure that people understand its significance. One of the best concepts to keep in mind when it comes to simplifying your designs is the idea of minimizing choice.

In his book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz makes the case that even though having more choices might seem like a good thing, in reality having more choices can lead to stress, frustration and fatigue. This is why you see many top business executives and world leaders wear the same clothes so frequently: they are tasked with so many other important decisions every day that they cannot afford to waste their energy deciding what color shirt to wear or whether or not their shoes match their belt.

Treat visitors to your website and recipients of your email marketing the same way: use design to put as few decisions as possible between someone visiting the page for the first time and becoming a customer. Eliminate visual clutter and place your buttons and other CTA forms in places where your page visitors would expect to see them.

Those marketers who want to cut through the noise and huge volume of information out there today must focus on distilling their marketing efforts down as much as possible. Simplicity isn’t always easy, but in marketing, it will get results.