All of our clients will have heard us say that “You must be clear in your communication.” And there’s very good reason for this as I’ll explain:
One of the things that really frustrates us when we look at websites, and the wide variety of other marketing that comes our way, is those who try to be clever rather than trying to properly and clearly communicate.
So, right here in this article, I want to put this to bed.
Let’s start by saying this: If you’re trying to be clever, I promise you that you will be reducing your ability to clearly communicate.
Now, let me try and expand on what I mean.
How many times have you seen an ad where you’ve struggled to work out what it is they’re trying to get across?
For example, a lot of perfume ads have gorgeous people in them, but it takes you a little while to work out that it is just an ad for some smelly stuff (that’s often overpriced anyway). Yes, that will appeal to a certain genre of people, but you’re not in the business of trying to be clever or obscure.
When you’re writing a marketing piece, when you’re designing a website, or when you’re writing content for your website, the idea is to try and provoke some kind of reaction or response. You want people to pick up the phone. You want people to fill in a form. You want people to give you a call or send you an email.
But, if you’re trying to be clever, I promise you that you will be missing some or all of these things because, when you’re marketing and promoting any kind of service, product, or business, you only have a limited amount of space and time to grab the attention of your reader or viewer.
And, then, you’ve got just a little bit more time, if you keep them for that bit longer, for them to come to a conclusion that this is something they want to find out more about.
According to recent research, the attention span of the average individual now is somewhere between seven and ten seconds. But people have made judgements on what they’re looking at long before that, it’s really 2 or 3 seconds.
So, you’ve got three seconds in a marketing piece to get their attention. Whether that’s through a headline or through something you’ve just said something to them in their situation It needs to get into their head very quickly. You’ve got seconds to keep them, and then you’ve got to develop that by following on with good copy, or a good video, or a good piece, good writing that keeps them engaged, keeps them reading, keeps them watching, keeps them looking.
Now, the problem with being clever is that large numbers of people just won’t get it straightaway. And it’s highly likely that (even if they might have been interested), because they didn’t get it, they’ll just switch off and think “Next.”
If they come to your website, for example, and they can’t see clearly who you are, what you do, and what’s in it for them you’ve lost. They’ll hit the back button and it will be just another statistic in your bounce rate.
If you put an ad out there or send out an email and people cannot quickly identify with what you’re trying to say, you’ll lose their attention in seconds.
The point of going over this is because we see hundreds of messages every single day. Loads and loads of marketing messages, loads and loads of brand pitches, and a lot of them just wash completely over our heads. And, if you want your message to stand out, you’ve got to be a little bit smarter than just trying to be clever.
Clever is often confusing and, if you want to put out clever and confusing marketing messages, feel free. But, I promise you, you’ll be wasting large amounts of money, time, and effort.
So, the point I’m trying to make here is that you should work hard to be clear in your communication. You’ve got seconds to get their attention, keep them reading, keep them engaged, and hopefully get to the point where you’re telling them what kind of response you want and they will click that email button. They will pick up the phone. They will send you a message.
But, remember, if you’re not clear, then the response will be much lower than it could and probably should be.
So, go for clear communication rather than trying to be clever, and that applies to your design as well.
We build websites. But, what we try and get across to our clients is that a lot of the time the communication on your website is far more important than the design, simply because people don’t buy into a product or a service because of design. They buy it because they have seen something very quickly that’s in it for them. They can see a benefit and that benefit will have been clearly communicated.
So, my question, my request, my action step for you is go over what messages you put out. Think about whether you are clearly communicating. Think about whether you are grabbing their attention in those first few seconds sufficient to keep them reading, or keep them watching, or keep them looking. If you aren’t, and you may need to ask other people to help you with this, then you are literally, in marketing terms, throwing money down the toilet.
So, go away and have a think about it. Have a look at what you’re doing. If you need help, come back to us. But, good luck and let us know how you get on.