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Newsletter #793: The “Make It Simple” Issue

Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

None of your customers wake up saying, “Man, I wish things were more complicated.” Great marketers remember this before adding new features, rules, and complications. A few examples here:

1> Your product line
2> Your shopping cart
3> Your membership program
4> Check it out: I Write Like…

1> Your product line

Selling a million different versions of the same product will confuse and frustrate your customers. Think ink cartridges — every printer ever made comes with its own specific cartridge, identified only by some cryptic code of letters and numbers you can never remember when you’re in the store. But Kodak on the other hand sells just three ink cartridges, and they each work in any Kodak printer. Their focus on simplicity is really setting them apart, especially against competitors with 40 to 50 different cartridges in their product line.

The lesson: What can you trim, cut, and remove that can make life simpler for your customers?

Learn more: Rohit Bhargava

2> Your shopping cart

Never make it hard for a customer to give you money. Simple purchase processes will always beat complicated ones. For example, in an A/B test of the Official Vancouver 2010 Olympics Store, a simple single-page shopping cart increased overall conversion rates 250% over a two-page shopping cart. Look at your check-out lines, your invoices, and your online order forms for opportunities to make them more frustration-free.

The lesson: Even the tiniest of simplifications to your purchase process can lead to dramatic increases in conversion rates.

Learn more: GetElastic

3> Your membership program

If the rewards of your membership or loyalty program are difficult to redeem, why would anyone sign up? InterContinental Hotels Group lets you use your points anywhere — even competitors’ hotels. By removing all the layers of rules, regulations, and fine print in their rewards program, they’ve made it much easier for travelers (and a whole lot more desirable to sign up).

The lesson: Nobody wants to sign up for more hassles.

Learn more: InterContinental Hotels Group

4> Check it out: I Write Like…

Using their “statistical analysis tool,” I Write Like will analyze your latest blog post, journal entry, or book chapter and tell you which famous writer your style is most like. This newsletter issue, for example, has a very Cory Doctorow feel to it according to I Write Like.

Check it out: I Write Like

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  1. David the Business:Impossible guy July 24, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    very thought-provoking article. I’m working with a guy who’s got a bazillion products with a dozen variations and options for many of them. Some options are like additional text at 30 cents a letter. I’m thinking, “Uh, can’t we just have a fixed-price for each item and say they’ll get up to 50 characters with their choice of colored backgrounds and up to a 10×10 image?” The difference is … they can purchase it online and specify their options in the order, vs. having to call someone and spend 30 minutes going thru a laundry list of options.


    BTW, the I Write Like site says I also write like that Cory dude. What’s up with that? Anybody get any other results?

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