A sharp edge cuts through the clutter.

That recent comment from Seth Godin is one that I will remember because it cuts to the heart of so many aspects of my work with clients at NuMedia Marketing and in my business for myself.

Too often we get distracted by bells and whistles and the newest, hottest trends, that we lose sight of what really matters. Let me give you a few examples of how I see this play out for small businesses:

Clean, concise, simple and clear

I met with a man who had a service-based business. He also offered some items for sale on his website. He had come to me because he wanted a website that would function as both lead generation and store. We talked and visited his existing site. There was a lot there:

  • 2 different pop-ups offering free reports
  • An opt-in for subscription to a newsletter
  • 3 different videos
  • A top banner slider six different pages
  • 2 scrolling pictures with links to page
  • 8 tabs at the top, 4 of which had dropdown menus with at least 3 more options
  • Social media buttons at the top and bottom of each page
  • And pages that sometimes took 4-5 scrolls to get through
  • There were also lots of images, graphics and flashy “read more” buttons mixed in throughout

It was a lot to look at, let alone digest. My first thought was that it was no wonder he wasn’t getting any traction from his site – his readers were overwhelmed and those that did hang around probably didn’t know what to do.

This was the perfect application for the quote. We took a sharp edge and cut through the clutter.

First, we identified exactly who his target market was, what he wanted to offer them and what he wanted them to do. In other words, we focused his purpose and message. We then designed a website that was simpler, cleaner, much less cluttered and clearly showed the path for his readers and prospects to take to connect with him. He was happy because he began to see results: more traffic, more purchases, and more contacts.

Muddy waters

I belong to a group of business owners who meet regularly. We discuss our businesses – everything from hiring to operations to product development and marketing. One of the members is a brilliant person who has many talents and great ideas. We can always count on her for suggestions and a different perspective when hashing over our own challenges.

She has had a long history of struggling in her business. And one of the reasons is that she can do so many things for her clients. (She has agreed for me to share her story.)

The problem is that because she CAN do so many things, she has a difficult time saying exactly what she does. She always has one more alternative, one more variation, one more suggestion. Her offerings cover such a breadth of possibilities, and her business is so diversified that she reminds me of beachwear – one size is supposed to fit all. In reality, that clothing seldom fits anyone – and she has the same problem in her business.

She really is brilliant at most everything she does, but no one notices, or, I should say, no one pays attention to her because she has the answer for everything. She isn’t known as the specialist in any one area so she doesn’t ever stand out of the crowd. In many respects this is tied to branding your business.

Once we, as a group, were able to get her to recognize this cloud hanging over her, she began to dive deep into what she wanted to provide and be known for. She is still working on it and letting her business evolve. The proof she is on the right track is the increase in her client list and revenues.

Taking a sharp edge to cut through the clutter of her business has put her on a new, more successful path.

The chatterbox

If you look back on your school days, can you remember the person who was always chattering away? The person who never left one moment of silence slip into a conversation? I’m sure you do.

We had a business owner come into the NuMedia offices who had that persona on his social media. He was active on several platforms, but let me just talk about Facebook. When we looked at his business page, we saw posts that included:

  • Employee notes
  • Industry articles
  • Sales and offerings from his business
  • Recipes
  • Quotes
  • Funny animals – dogs, pigs, and goats
  • Cartoons
  • Political statements
  • Event notices
  • Personal stories
  • Pictures from the office
  • Craft projects
  • Holiday greetings
  • National XXXX day notices

That’s not all, but you get the idea. It wasn’t just that there were a lot of different types of posts, but that there 5 to 10 every day. You see why I draw the similarity between his Facebook activity and the school days chatterbox.

He admitted he didn’t have a social media strategy or a marketing plan, he had just heard that these were all good things to share so he worked hard to make that happen.

What happens is, just like my colleague in the last story, his business was getting lost in the noise. There is so much going on online that the digital noise is tremendous. Again, it is better to have a strategic plan that is purposeful and focused as your edge to cut through the clutter.

We helped him develop a social media strategy and plan and now he is seeing engagement, connections, and the benefits of social media for your business.

Are your business tools sharp?

Do you have what you need at hand to be that sharp edge that will cut through the clutter for your business?

I know, as a business owner and a service provider, that we can never have everything we want or need nor can we know everything that we want or need to know.

I also know that small business people are always ready to work with other small business people. If we can help you cut through the clutter to present clean, clear, and concise information for your clients and prospects, all of us here at NuMedia are happy to help. Just contact us through our site, or call on us at 317-563-7235.