I went to Delta’s website the other day to check on a flight status.  I don’t normally fly Delta, so it’s not a site I frequent.  But I found what I needed within about 2 seconds of loading the homepage and within about 10 seconds I had the answer I was looking for.  Delta knows that there are a few major functions that anyone visiting their site wants to do: book a new flight, login to see/change existing flights, check-in, or check flight status.  They put these options in big buttons right in the middle of the homepage and when you click on one, they ask only for the most relevant information that you would have to get to the next step.

When it comes to getting someone’s attention using marketing or getting them to use something like your website, simpler is always better.  No one is going to spend more than 15 seconds trying to figure out how to navigate your website to get what they need or reading your email to figure out what you want them to do.  Stop right now and count off 15 seconds.  Now imagine that it takes you this long to figure out an email or website – what would you do?

How do you simplify your marketing?  First and foremost, figure out what you want people to do and make everything on your webpage, email, direct mail, etc. point to that action.  Make sure you only put one action in a marketing message.  Simplify text as much as possible – anything over 2 paragraphs in an email or webpage (or direct mail, ad or any other marketing tactic outside of content assets, for that matter) is just driving people away.  If you want them to download a whitepaper, make a big button in the middle of the screen that says “Download the Whitepaper.”  Never ask for information on a form that you already know or can figure out otherwise – 3 field or less forms actually perform best.

And finally, test test test.  Once you simplify your marketing tactic as much as you possibly can, find someone that knows nothing about what you are trying to do with this tactic and have them test it out.  If they can’t figure out what to do in a few seconds, go back to the drawing board.