My wife has an interesting theory that life would be so much easier if God had created us with those little thought bubbles you see in cartoons.
We were having a discussion the other night in which I really wish I had been able to deploy my bubble.
It all started with a travel show I had heard on the radio. The hosts were talking about a really neat place on the island of St. John called Cinnamon Bay Resort (www.cinnamonbayresort.com ... not a sponsor). This resort is not the typical all-inclusive, bring-me-another-drink-with-an-umbrella kind of place. Instead, guests stay in bunk houses, campsites, or their newest offering: Eco-Tents.
Eco-Tents are the definition of "glamping." These big fabric structures remind me of the patio pavilions for sale at Lowe's or Home Depot (not sponsors). Except these are much nicer. They're on platforms, have walls that roll down for privacy or roll up for views and breezes, and include a king-size bed or a couple of twin beds.
Cinnamon Bay Resort has an area with several of these Eco-Tents arranged next to each other on individual sites. In addition to the usual shower facilities, etc. you'd find at a campground, they have an onsite restaurant serving 3 meals a day and a place to rent all kinds of adventure gear (kayaks, paddle boards, and such). I'm ready to go!
Why I Needed My Bubble
lSide note: my wife and I spent our honeymoon in St. John.
Side side note: despite what appears to be an article encouraging travel to St. John, do NOT go there! We'd rather keep its uncrowded pristine beaches and miles of hiking trails (75% of the island is a National Park) to ourselves. There are some lovely malls nearby on St. Thomas. Go hang out there and get a henna tattoo or something.
Anyway, fast forward several years and two toddler boys later. I hear about the Eco-Tents and say, "Hey, it would be fun to go there with the boys! We could get two Eco-tents next to each other!"
Her response (hands on hips): "Are you serious?! You'd put our boys in a tent. By themselves. Away from us. With people all around. ... You've got to be kidding!"
If I'd had a little bubble over my head she would have seen that our boys were clearly muuuch older than 4 and 2 in my mind. I figure they'll at least need to be teenagers to be able to do all the hiking and water sports that would make the trip truly epic. But because I didn't have a bubble and wasn't very clear, she pictured them alone in a tent surrounded by strangers as little kids barely older than they are now! And her mommy gene nearly blew a gasket when I kept saying "Sure! It'd be fine! They'll be right next to us! What's the big deal? People do it all the time!"
Why This Matters to You
Ok, so you may not care about our travel plans, but the lessons here actually can apply to you and your business.
You don't have a bubble either. So you can't afford to be unclear with your customers.
What you're saying may not be what they're hearing. Your brilliant marketing may be a brilliant (and expensive) flop. Unless your customer is absolutely receiving your message, you are missing out on sales and the opportunity to improve their lives. I guarantee it.
Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, goes a step further. He often says, "to be unclear is to be unkind."
Marketing circles for decades have talked about "the curse of knowledge." You know your company and your product better than anybody. So your knowledge of you is a 10. You naturally "dumb it down" to around a 6 or 7 when you talk about it, and think you're talking to customers on their level. However, their level of understanding about you is probably closer to a 2 or 3!
You are clearly (or should I say "un-clearly") waaay over their heads!
To be unclear is to be unkind. - Dave Ramsey
UnlSo the key is to be ridiculously simple in your marketing and communication. Don't be insulting or condescending, though...people aren't stupid, they just aren't experts on you quite yet. They'll get there once you can grab their attention and they realize you can add value to their lives, but those first impressions need to be so clear that you almost feel stupid saying them.
Questions to ask yourself to check for clarity:
1. Can my customer see my thought bubble?
2. If not, when my customer looks at my material, could they tell who I am and what I do in 3 seconds or less?
On a website, for instance, you have about 5 seconds to grab someone's attention before they move on. The first block of text on the top of your page should be one (maybe 2) lines that pass what Donald Miller at StoryBrand calls "the grunt test." If you showed your website to a caveman, could he tell you what you do?
We kill weeds and make grass green.
We build great websites.
We make furniture that lasts for generations.
We sell Thought Bubbles!
Its the easiest change you can make that will make a big difference! Give it a shot!
And if you'd like someone to work with on it, I'm here for you. Contact me and let's talk about ways I can help.
Unless I'm in my Eco-tent.