Winter 2016 Midnight Musings –
Summary: As marketing in general, and IT specifically, continues to evolve beyond web sites, email, social media and the rest of the marketing mix, could quiet be the new shout?
Relax, I don’t plan on selling LEGO™ art
Scroll back up to the top to my home image. It’s just an example I created using PowerPoint of what could be a CLEAN website. It doesn’t try to explain the history of the Mona Lisa, The Scream, Andy Warhol or LEGOs. But if I had the talent to recreate famous paintings out of colorful plastic blocks for sale, I think it would be a really good start. The word clean has a nice feel about it, doesn’t it ? Better than overused “new”, “improved”, “cool”, or other adjectives marketers use often to raise the value of a product or solution. I started this post with simple in the headline but decided clean is a better expression of my message tonight.
Early last year, I began to notice that more and more websites I visited were minimalistic in their presentation, and clients really liked that clean look and feel. With a little more research, I realized there was a conscious move to emulate www.apple.com.
Think about it. Probably the best known IT company in the world, able to spend a gazillion dollars with clever little pokes to get you to buy a new iPhone or iPad, and they went the other way – clean. Have a look for yourself:
There’s a simple navigation bar, a photo of the types of shows you can watch with the Apple TV appliance pictured, ONE sentence of text, and in very small type “Learn more > Watch the film”. That’s got to be one very clean site for a company that sells MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other products.
Let’s contrast that approach to Oracle.com
Not only is it a LOT busier than apple.com, it has a vertical slider that you see as up and down arrows in the gray box on the right side of the page. In my humble opinion, there’s just way too much to read, not to mention not one but TWO navigation bars.
For the record, I’m not involved or employed or in anyway compensated by either company, other than I have an iPhone I purchased, just so no one thinks I have a horse in this race.
Remember the old slogan – Keep It Simple, Stupid.? I think it’s making a comeback in marketing. Yes, specific marketing material aimed at technical buyers must contain the ad infinitum details about topics such as security protocols used, platforms supported, performance specifications, and the like. But you should not try to tell your entire story on an 8 1/2 X 11, 4 color trifold. Just like when I am ordering a steak at Delmonico’s, I don’t want to know where the cow was raised, just show me how delectable it looks on a plate (with apologies to my vegetarian friends).
I also want you to spend time on more than just my home page. For example, are you running Google AdWords and concerned about your bounce rate – the percentage of clickers to your site who go to page 1 (home or landing page) and leave? Maybe you’re telling them too much and unconsciously giving them no reason to visit your other pages with your testimonials, your offers, your solutions, your blog, etc.
Social Media Cleanliness
Let’s look at the typical social media tools commonly used for marketing:
Twitter forces you to 140 characters, and there are some clever extenders, but if you think 100 characters as your limit, with a clean image attached, you’re likely to attract more attention that using “4” in lieu of “for” or “four”. Anyone using text-like words in Twitter like “C 4 Urslf” should be forced to write it out on the blackboard 100 times (yeah, I went to one of those schools).
Facebook doesn’t force a character limit, but please do yourself a favor. Use Facebook as “bait” to test your message, not try to drive phone calls and orders. It’s likely going to waste a lot of your time responding to folks who felt compelled to respond, but really have no ability or authority to make a purchase.
LinkedIn is great for job seekers, but I can’t find a lot of evidence to carve out a lot of marketing budget for LinkedIn ads. Instead, being a contributor to a forum or two, writing the occasional informational blog, or answering a question, will earn more value points than any paid ad.
Google+, which so many people put in the same dead file as MySpace, has an extra value if you are working to improve your SEO status. I can’t prove it, and I don’t have statistics, BUT it seems like big Google search likes little Google + users who post their content there. (If anyone can confirm, send me a note).
Re: Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, RSS, Tumblr, Vimeo, and the rest of the social media logos…Maybe, Maybe-not which means I haven’t spent a lot of my time or clients’ money investing in those (though RSS is making a comeback).
Be Clean, Be Green
Being clean with marketing is akin to being green – i.e., energy efficient. So here’s my checklist for your consideration:
– Work on less than 100 character messages in social media
– Make emails no longer than a printed page. Drip campaigns even shorter.
– Pictures say a thousand words so you don’t have to type them all out
– Do a little A/B testing to get your Google Ads as tight as possible
– White space on a page is a good thing. The more, the better. Really.
– Give your reader a chance to discover all your content, i.e., save some for later
– Investing time is as important as investing money. Keep your content current.
– Dump content older than 18 months (or at least give it a face-lift)
Got some ideas? Send them over and share…
As always, feedback on my post is welcome, and if you found my musing of any value, please like, share and re-tweet my Twitter link to it.
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Note: Fair Use images above are copyright of Apple and Oracle (and Lego) Warhol and The Scream credited to tripadvisor.