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Encouraging Action: Keep Things Simple


This is not KISS


I know what you are thinking. You have heard over and over, use the KISS (Keep Things Simple Stupid) principle. This is not what this article is about. It’s not about gearing things to the lowest common denominator, or at a second grade level.


However, if you have a form you want a potential client or customer to fill out, as an example, like maybe a sign--up form for your newsletter, research has shown that making it simple to fill out will encourange more people to sign up. This can be as literal as not asking them to fill in too many fields.  


Research has shown that first name, last name, email address, and company are fine. But, if you add street address, city, state, zip, or even only title and phone number, people completing drops by 30%.


This is pretty amazing when you consider that the time it takes to fill in the additional field is probably no more than 15-20 seconds at most. So, obviously the actual time spent is not the issue. So what is it then?

It’s The Perception: Hard Versus Easy


Yes, I know that perception is subjective and what is easy for you is hard for me. But, in general, research shows that keeping things simple will roll over into the perception of whether your products and services are simple to use or complex, as well.  


Let’s take an example from a research project conducted by Hyunjin Song and Nelson Schwarz in 2008. In one of the test studies, the test objective was trying to get people to commit to an exercise program. The expectation was based upon the assumption that people would sign up (or not) based upon 2 things: how long they thought the exercise program would take them to perform, and how difficult it would be to perform. A longer estimated time to perform the exercise program would indicate in the mind of the subjects a bigger commitment, and therefore people would be less likely to sign up.


It Was The Font!


In order to keep things interesting, and remove biases, Song and Schwarz decided to test the offer to the groups of subjects in two different fonts: One was a simple straight-forward font (Arial) and then they tested the same offer, with the same wording in a harder-to-read font (Brush).  


The results were absolutely beyond anyone expectations, truly astounding. The subject who read the same instructions in the harder-to-read font estimated that the exercise program would take them nearly twice as long to complete! and of course, it’s no surprise that those that thought the exercise program would take them half the time to complete were significantly more likely to sign up and commit. Just because of the font!


And not content with these results, Song and schwarz conducted the same type of test multiple times, using different initial offers: a sushi recipe, etc. and the results were always the same.

Takeaway: Yes - KISS is valid - and Simple Fonts Spur Action


So, what is the marketing tip we can learn from this? Keep things simple. If 


the description of your product or service is difficult to get through and understand, people will carry this impression over to their thoughts about your product or service.  


If you are trying to convince a potential client, a customer, or a donor to take action or perform some sort of task, you should describe the task, or the process, create the fill-out form, in easy to read font. The type size should be big, use simple words, and simple sentence structure. This will minimize the perceived difficulty and effort and increase success rate.


This goes for almost all of your marketing, including website content, blog article writing etc. 


For more marketing tips, stay tuned.


Tags: social media, blog

Filed Under: Marketing Tips

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