Discovering What Works in Internet Marketing
"The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed - it is a process of elimination." - Elbert Hubbard
Marketers have been trained to make a splash, and suck all the attention oxygen out of the room. Back in the hey days of print and television, being colorful, confusing, and even deceptive worked, because people were craving distraction, entertainment and color to offset their hum drum slower paced lives.
Nowadays it is very difficult to live a hum drum life. Even Barney Fife in Mayberry would have a hard time escaping all the distraction of a 24/7 news cycle, and advertisements on everything from movies to cigarettes.
So how does a marketer reach today’s consumer? We’ll were finding that buyers don’t buy as much when they have to decipher the message, wade through the distraction, and process lots of buying points.
According to research done by CEB, the best way to persuade consumers is to not persuade them at all. The best way isn’t to present elaborate, frilly, hook laden entertainment.
The best way is to SIMPLIFY the process of making decision. Consumers today will almost automatically be presented with the product type they need as soon as they need it. The trick for today’s marketer is to be the business presenting the RIGHT message at the right time. And the RIGHT message is the one that ANSWERS the biggest problem the consumer is having RIGHT NOW.
That’s where all the numbers crunching comes in, data analysis, consumer persona’s and profiles, and buying behavior. The process should be:
- Feed the data into the top of the funnel.
- Create a SIMPLE message for each of the most critical problems the customer can solve with your product.
- Present the SIMPLE message to the consumer in a plain language, unambiguous message that is easily digested.
What NOT to do:
- Don’t say something in 250 words, when 10 will do! Boil down your message to the critical components and then boil it down again. Remember the sculptor is freeing the art from the stone.
- Don’t spend millions of dollars on entertainment just for the sake of entertainment. If your ad illustrates some wonderful benefit of your product in a profound way, go for it. If it doesn’t, then don’t.
- Don’t cram all the features and benefits into the space you have allotted. Don’t create clutter. If you are required to disclose something, make it an optional read.
Who are the masters of simplicity marketing? Well Apple is well known for this. In fact their products themselves exemplify this simplicity. They pride themselves in producing products that don’t make their customers think. Their advertisements focus on ONE message.
Take a look at this billboard:
Apple’s billboard ads are similar, and about as simple as it gets:
So how do you do this without all the data in the world. Not all of us can produce the cohort data that GE can, or read the minds of consumers by buying Nielsen data. Well there are few different ways.
- Create different channels that appeal to different needs, then advertise
- Use the free tools at hand, like Google Analytics Cohorts and Facebook Demographics (which are very detailed).
- Segment your past customers. Invest in finding out what makes your current customers tick, then market the specific messages to them and people like them.
No marketing message, no features, no benefits.
How does this apply to Internet Marketing and SEO?
Well you may have experienced the low attention span of your web browsers. That’s because research shows that 79% of web browsers only scan your content. They don’t spend the time to digest your content, they are only interested in impressions. So our task as marketers is to make the important points stand out.
Make your web content easily scanned by making the important points stand out as Headings, Bullet Points, and even Graphics that illustrate the point perfectly. When it comes to your advertising think about simplifying your copy. Give your consumers what the need right now and dispense with the rest.
Some questions to help you:
- Who are the people who buy your products?
- How can they be broken up into different “types”?
- Which major problem does your product solve for them?
- What is our most compelling value proposition?
- What are the most significant benefits of our product to consumers?
- What is the minimum amount of information we can provide to our website visitors to help them make a decision?
- How can we present this information in a simple, uncluttered way?