So what’s the take-away idea? Look at your website, your social media pages, and all your communication with customers. List 10 ways to simplify the language, the images and the overall message. Implement the best ideas.
The French writer Dominique Loreau wrote a book called ‘L’Art de la Simplicity – How to Live More with Less’ detailing how to simplify all aspects of your life – from home interior design to the daily thoughts you entertain. The book became a global best seller. It appears that people in general are interested and maybe even anxious to simplify their lives and to achieve calm in their environment and in their mindset.
The problem is that people are bombarded – with stimulus, with work, with family commitments, with stuff, with thoughts, with ideas and with online information.
When you look at the plethora of books, articles and businesses engaged in the ‘simplification’ business – you realise that this is a BIG trend. People really do want to reduce the amount of clutter, stimulus and chaos in their lives. This trend extends to all aspects of life and all aspects of life include – business.
Take a half hour out this week to look at how your business communicates to customers. Does it follow the ‘art de la simplicite’ or ‘La complexité’?
Start with your website. Most websites, when first designed, are clean, decluttered, easy to navigate and objective driven. Then over the course of the first year, new products and services are added – in the form of headlines, boxes, microsites, advertisements, and images. By year two, the website is a complex web of competing initiatives and ideas and the simplicite so visible at launch is lost.
Award-winning businesses like ‘The Little Milk Company’ are excellent at presenting a beautiful and simple website. The design of their website was based on a number of key customer insights. The first task was to gain insights from producers, customers and distributors. The second to rank customer priorities, and to lay out the website with first priority at the top, second below and so on. The Little Milk Company knew had to outline their credentials first. The top banner of the website simply describes the company.
Secondly, people only buy cheese online, if they have already sampled them. The second priority was to provide a detailed list of stockists so that people could become familiar with the cheese, before buying.
The company used simple, striking and stunning visual imagery to illustrate their product.
So how do you make a website simple, beautiful and calm?
Prioritise. Set out the priorities for your website and social media pages, led by customer insights. Provide the most important information first, so browsers don’t have to trawl through to find what they want.
Only include relevant important information on your home page.
Keep the messages simple, clear and to the point.
Imagery. Your imagery should support your overall brand and harmonise with the rest of your marketing material and communications. Be careful of stock imagery that makes your website look hackneyed and aim to find images (stock or bespoke) that differentiate your business from others in your field. Aim for beauty, calm, and relevant imagery that conveys a strong statement about your business.
Language. Too much text can make your message difficult to disseminate. Again, use customer insights to identify the priority messages. Convey the most important messages clearly, succinctly and where possible with personality. When writing any marketing material, it is the story that matters most. People get bored with statistics, fed up with offers, deals, and advertisements. But a good story will always garner more attention.
Rich media. Joho.at describes the journey of a coffee bean with fantastic story-telling, video, sound, and imagery. Aim for beauty, calm and simplicity.
It is interesting to note that one of the most popular books for consumers world-wide is how to simplify, declutter and establish an oasis of calm in your life. This extends to how you do business. Customers who feel bombarded by stimulus respond to online marketing that is calm, beautiful and that prioritises their needs.