The KISS Principle

One of the most important principles in marketing is the KISS principle. This stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. In essence, what this means is that any kind of marketing material you create should not overcomplicate things. Don’t make me crazy with lots of feature information that I don’t want to see – at least not a first. Just make it simple and easy for me to read. Here’s what you need to know:

The Tendency to Be Overly Complex

Whatever it is that you sell for a living, you are likely heavily invested in it and think it’s the coolest thing around since sliced bread. Even if all you sell are plastic hangers, you can probably tell me all about the materials that went into making them, how they are molded, what their expected weight tolerance is and how far I can bend them before they’ll crack. There is just one problem – I couldn’t care less about all that. If I’m buying plastic hangers, what I want to know is fairly simple:

• I want to know what they cost – Sorry, but plastic hangers are a commodity and I can buy a five pack at the dollar store so if your hangers are really pricey, I’m unlikely to buy unless there is a good reason to do so.

• I want to know if they can hold my suit—Don’t tell me that they have a weight tolerance of 5 pounds under normal stress. I couldn’t care less. Tell me that they can hold a business suit in my closet and that it will help to keep my jacket and slacks from wrinkling. In other words, KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Putting This into Action

The best way to apply the KISS Principle is to imagine that you know nothing about why your specific product is so great. Instead, what you want to know is – why should I buy this product over a competing product which is similar. In other words, put yourself into your customer’s shoes.

When you do this, you immediately can see that your customer isn’t interested in handing over their e-mail address before they ever get to see what you have to say on your site. They also aren’t interested in every single detail of your product being listed right out front. Look for something simple to offer them where they can get the idea of what you are all about.

The Site Shouldn’t Be Cluttered Either

Another thing to remember about the KISS principle is that you don’t want a website which looks cluttered. If there are many things going on when people visit your site, they don’t know where to look first and are likely to simply shrug their shoulders and move on. Remember – you are likely not running the New York Times or Amazon.com (and if you are, we’re flattered that you dropped by to read our blog). Instead, think like a small business person who needs to appeal to customers with around 5 seconds before they disappear elsewhere and keep it simple, stupid.

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