Making it KISSable

When it comes to digital marketing, keep it simple


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The acronym for “Keep it simple, Sherlock!” – KISS – has been around a long time, and its wisdom holds fast today.

The KISS rule reminds us that being oversophisticated can overcomplicate matters, creating both confusion and unintended consequences. The more people and variables you throw into any situation, the more complex you will make it and the harder it will be to manage.

Naturally, we all want to work smarter and develop the optimum efficiencies for operating our businesses. Often that requires building out a process with multiple variables working together which can be a sophisticated and complex undertaking. However, once the system is in place and working, the rest of managing the business can be quite simple.

Note I didn’t say easy! In fact, one of the simplest ways to guarantee success in any endeavor is to work very hard at it every day. Nothing easy about that.

There are mind-numbing complexities in the digital marketing industry that have a lot of executives thinking that they are behind the technology and missing opportunities. I’ve spoken with a few who’ve been quite anxious about where their business is today in relation to digital marketing best practices. To them, I say relax! The principles of sales and marketing haven’t changed. In fact, by definition, principles do not change. Only the technologies and communication methods change with time and progress.

The changes are actually being adopted slower than many people perceive. And, yes, even Millennials respond to communication principles, just as their grandparents do. They have the exact same set of emotions and physical needs. Do you have to be on Snapchat or Instagram to reach them? No, but you do need to have the right sales culture and a strong Internet presence that includes social channels.

Rather than worrying about whether you’re utilizing the right kind of analytics and marketing automation tools, take a look at what you already have available.

Google Analytics is free, very robust and can be embedded into just about any website. Marketing automation companies like HubSpot and Salesforce/Pardot have their own proprietary analytics platforms that also provide comprehensive traffic, engagement and response data.

My suggestion is to determine the top two or three key performance indicators that best measure growth and profitability for your unique business. The point is to avoid analyzing too much before acting. Analysis paralysis is a very real phenomenon, and it can choke growth-oriented activities like making targeted sales calls or blasting out valuable audience content in a general interest newsletter.

For example, a salesperson might hesitate to call a prospect not currently being tracked in the database. Or the marketing manager might think she needs to segment her email list and A/B test responses with different sets of content when, in reality, the general newsletter article to the entire list would be even more effective and get published without delay.

Figure out your fundamental sales & marketing metrics. Things like:

 • Average number of sales calls per appointment

 • Prospect meetings per closed sale

 • Website visits per download conversion

 • Downloads per sales inquiry – leads

 • Lead closing ratios

 • Email marketing response rates

 • Use Google’s or other analytics tools embedded on your website to monitor what kinds of content attract the most searches and visits and deliver the most conversions. Plus, utilize your email marketing service’s reporting of contacts’ engagements with your emails. MailChimp, in particular, has some amazing email tracking and reporting tools if you want to get fancy with it.

Keep your focus on implementation, executing the sales and digital marketing activities at the quality level and frequencies needed to grow your business.

Always work on the quality of your communications to keep improving your content from the target market’s perspective. Deliver the content across all channels and keep your messaging themes consistent.

This is really a pretty simple marketing formula that has been proven to work for small and medium-sized businesses in several diverse industries. Today’s marketing tools and systems may appear very complex, but in reality they apply the same simple marketing and selling principles that have been around since the dawn of commerce.

To quote my former colleague Gary O’Neil, “If you want to move people, you have to touch them.” Simple concept, but hard to do. Let’s get to work! 

Chuck Sink, a Contoocook-based marketing consultant specializing in brand development and web content strategies, can be reached at chuck@chucksink.com. 

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