No matter what your vocation, from Hollywood actor to marketing executive, you’ve no doubt heard the advice that “less is more.” The phrase, first attributed to poet Robert Browning, has evolved into an almost universally-accepted truth
that audiences appreciate a simple, subtle presentation over a loud, brash one.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in marketing and websites, where we’re constantly being told people don’t want to see a wall of text on a homepage, or wade through tons of content before getting to the information they came for.
Simplify and streamline
Jason DeMers at Forbes sums it up well: “We’re faced with increasing evidence, statistics, and research findings indicating that consumers are tired of being bombarded with extraneous information, which distracts rather than assists them in their buying decisions.”
In his article focusing on the marketing success of Apple, DeMers argues consumers want us to simplify the decision-making process. The best way to do this is by giving them the information they need to know — and leaving out the rest.
He also includes some salient data, like only 16 percent of website visitors read every word on a page, and the average American sees anywhere from 250 to several thousand ads or marketing messages every day!
But is “less is more” really the right approach for EVERY circumstance and outreach platform?
After all, the great movement in marketing these days is “brand journalism,” in which companies bypass traditional media and tell stories directly to the audience. Also called content marketing, the goal here is not to just sell, but to provide useful and/or entertaining information that will lead them back to the company’s products and services.
For instance, one of the things we often do at Coles Marketing is create articles for a client’s website or newsletter, such as gardening tips or planning for the new Medicare investment tax. In this case, a well-researched column of 500-600 words, including attractive photos and useful links, would seem to fall under the definition of “more is more.”
Spare on top, thicker below
And in some audience engagements, people really do want more information than a superficial outline. Medical care and financial investment are two areas that immediately spring to mind.
If you were looking for an OB/GYN or someone to help you plan for retirement, who would you choose: someone with very vague rah-rah type of content on their website and messaging, or a company or organization that demonstrated its deep knowledge base?
Also, Google’s latest algorithms favor lots of subheadings and links, so more content is often better for SEO purposes.
Our take is your initial engagement with an audience should be simple and direct, but give them a pathway to discover more in-depth information about who your company is and what you do. The strategy should be like male-pattern baldness — spare on top, but thicker below.
For example, we recently created an entire new website for a healthcare provider client. Their homepage and navigation are models of elegant simplicity. But you can also go deeper into the subpages and find a wealth of knowledge about various medical conditions.
So in short: give them less, but offer them more. And Coles Marketing can help!