Don’t make your audience think

When I say don’t make your audience think, I’m not saying you shouldn’t challenge them. They’re very likely a smart and savvy audience. What I’m saying is you should make their experience as simple, seamless and user friendly as possible.

You don’t want your message to get lost amongst other clutter or have missing pieces to the puzzle. There should be a clear path to navigate through any marketing piece, document, or web app that answers all the basic questions someone needs to be able to take the next step.


If the goal of your flyer is to drive foot traffic to your store and you don’t include an address for your business (or you might but it doesn’t stand out), you’re asking your audience to figure something out for themselves. You might have not included a shot of your storefront, or not made it clear what the value to visiting your store was. Also, what happens when they Google your location and your competition bought the top ad spot in Google to promote their sale? These are examples of roadblocks that you’re challenging your audience to overcome before they are able to do business with you.


There are two main reasons this happens. Either you don’t have enough information for someone to be able to easily take the next step, or you have too much information and it’s being lost amongst the clutter.


You can avoid this by planning your piece and testing your piece. What do customers need to know to achieve the goal of the project? Is there information that isn’t related to the goal that will impede someone from recalling or noticing vital information? A simple test is to hand your marketing piece to someone who isn’t intimately familiar with your business and ask for feedback. Is it clear that your sale is on Sunday, or that your special event is in the town square? You need to make sure that critical information isn’t missed or lost.


The primary message should never be hard to recall, and your piece should easily answer all the major questions: the who, what, where, when and why’s. Your piece should have a flow, and there should be a hierarchical structure to the information based on importance. They should never have to search for the next step or be left wondering what this is. This pulls your customer out of the experience, and you’re no longer using the funnel you’ve designed to boost sales or drive traffic. They’ve left your marketing piece to look for more information, or they’ve given up out of confusion.


I apply this principle to design and layout, but it really applies to all aspects of your business. User experience is paramount to customer satisfaction and retention. Everything needs to be easily utilized and clearly understood by your customers.  If you’re making it challenging for people to conduct business with you by adding extra steps, you’re creating roadblocks to increasing your revenue.