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Small business marketing: Keeping it simple

Keep your small business marketing simple.
Keep your small business marketing simple.
Graphics courtesy of Jen Wolfe Creative

According to a story released by CBS News, in 2014 each of us may be exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements per day. As a matter of pure survival, we tend to screen out all that clutter. We literally become numb to the ads and no longer even see them. Until something comes along that catches our attention.

As a small business owner, that means you have to find something to break through all the visual and audible noise and keeping it simple is always better. A striking image and a single sentence or two is more likely to catch attention than a page or video cluttered with too many images or words.

For example, Steel Doors Direct is a small business here in Phoenix. The company’s most recent advertising piece (a flyer) shows a black and white photo of a mother hugging her two small children. The headline reads, “What would you do to ensure the health, safety and security of your family? Steel Doors Direct creates custom steel screen doors that can be left open 24/7 and let in plenty of healthy fresh air, while still keeping your family safe and secure.” The touching image and simple wording reaches out to a basic instinct in all of us to protect our loved ones.

Then the question becomes, can your marketing materials be too simple. The answer is yes. Another local Phoenix Business, Kelsey Thomas LLC, has a website that is attractive but has very little information on it. This business has gone too far in the other direction and isn’t providing enough information. Your website should be your main marketing tool and it is one of the places where you want to provide additional information for those folks who like to do their homework.

Here’s another example of marketing that is too simple and it also happens to be a major pet peeve of mine. I do a lot of networking and I hate business cards that don’t tell you what the company or person does. For example, a business card reads Jay Lincoln LLC, then it only lists contact information just doesn’t have enough information. Because I’ve probably met several dozen people that day while networking, when I get that card home I can’t remember what that person told me about their business. I want the card to remind me (i.e. knock me over the head) with what the business sells or the services it offers. That way, if I run into someone looking for their products or services several months from now, I don’t have to try to remember what that business was. I can just thumb through the cards and find it again.