Before Being Clever, Be Clear

Small business owners think they need to get really clever with their marketing to be successful at bringing in new customers. They believe that some witty double entendre or fancy advertising will do the trick. The opposite is true for marketing—the simpler your message and the more direct your approach, the better your effectiveness will be. Be clear before you try being clever.

Keep It Simple Stupid

Research shows that concepts that are easier for our brain’s to process feel more true, whether they are or not. The harder you have to work at figuring something out, the less likely you will find it true. We are drawn to the familiar and accept simple explanations. This is not surprising. If we had to analyze every time we encountered something, we would not get very far. Keep your message simple if you want to make sure your audience will be receptive to it.

Use Small Words

Trying to sound smart by using big words actually makes you sound stupid. If someone has to reach for a dictionary to understand your message… well, they won’t. They will simply ignore it. Even worse is that your message comes across wrong. Many people think they know what some words mean, but they really do not. The last thing you want is a misunderstanding. You want your message to be clear.

Short Sentences Are Best

Be concise. Not only are small words best, small sentences are too. The shorter the sentence the easier it is for your audience to digest and understand, ensuring that you get your message across. Simple slogans and taglines are a great way to convey your message in an easily digestible way. People are not interested in figuring out what you mean or even thinking about your marketing message at all. The easier it is for them to “get it” the more likely it is that they will.

Consistency Matters

You have often heard about politician’s “staying on message.” Your marketing should do the same. There may be more than one way to present a concept, and it is very tempting to try multiple versions to try to reach everyone, but the end result of changing your message will be confusion. You will likely lose more of your audience than your gain. It takes time to recognize and recall a particular message. If you keep changing it, people will never develop familiarity with it. Many of the largest brands have messaging that goes back 50 years or more. Stay on message.

Speak to Your Audience

Always keep your audience in mind. You want to speak to your audience directly, so use concepts and language that they will understand. This could apply to regional speaking patterns, word choices and a variety of other factors. Imagery is a great shorthand for communicating your message, but if that imagery does not make sense to your audience they will be confused and ignore your message.

Ultimately, it is important that you think beyond what you want to say and consider how your audience will respond emotionally to your message. Simple concepts make your message easy to understand. Small words and short sentences make your message easily digestible. Consistency ensures your message will be reinforced with your audience. Using imagery and language your audience is familiar with keeps your message from being ignored. When your message is easy to understand, it will resonate with your audience.