Recently I watched Minimalism on Netflix — two guys known as ‘The Minimalists’ on a mission to help others discard all but the essential in their lives. Achieve this, they propose, and life will be simpler and more fulfilling.
I gave it a try. It took me a good hour bartering with myself to clear out one drawer in the garage. This stuff is hard.
Many years back a grey-haired advertising guru shared with me his thoughts on strategy. In his eyes it was simple. Pick what you will not do — ruthlessly discard this — and then enjoy the ride as you focus as hard as you can on what’s left. I think of it as minimalism meets commerce. Online marketing is no different when it comes to the benefits minimalism can provide. There are lots of “shiny balls” to absorb our interest, distracting us from the parts that are really the most important. Here are just three areas of this space where the act of discarding can help.
I’ll start with the most obvious — measurement. Google Analytics is stuffed with data. The untrained look at this application, shake their heads, and glance away. It’s just way too much to take in without some level of instruction. However, once an hour or two is invested to clear the haze of confusion — add in some expert advice (and often there are just a few metrics that require attention) — and leave the rest to be avoided. For some it’s driving their Bounce Rate down. For others it could be enticing more visitors to return for a second and third look. Rarely is it about looking at a dozen points and trying to drive improvement across them all at once.
Next up, let’s chat about Google Search Advertising — a place where practising minimalism makes money. Understanding that you don’t pay to show your ads, but are only charged when someone clicks, can drive the desire to show for every single possible term. So instead of a dozen terms of focus, we see an account with hundreds of keywords, all receiving a small smidgen of attention each month. And usually that smidgen is not enough to capture all the traffic each keyword can deliver. Within the mass there will be a few stars. Practising the minimalism of measurement should show you which those are. And that leaves you with the happy task of discarding the average, to focus your limited advertising on the good that remain.
Finally, let’s mention nudging your search rankings higher within the complex area of Google’s natural rankings. In most instances the greatest movements are driven by the addition or alteration of your website’s content. And usually a page of content can be optimised to suit a small list of search terms — think under five, not 50. So if you want to naturally rank for more than 100 search terms you could be looking at creating a website with 50 or so well written pages.
For some, this puts them into mild heart palpitations, as they have just taken six months to launch a 10 page website. Thankfully, this is where the minimalism comes in. Not in the content, mind you — that needs to be extensive and beautiful. Nope, it’s in the focus on the actual search terms you want to kick upwards. Here you can link in your minimalism experience within your paid advertising efforts to locate the search terms that give the most love and affection to your website — start with moving these rankings upwards.
Why not give this minimalism thing a go this month with your online marketing. Work through the three areas I talk about: Measurement, Advertising, and SEO. Locate the important, and leave the interesting for others.
Let me know how you get on.