1. Communicate fewer ideas.

Google’s initial success was due to the fact that they eliminated nearly everything from the search page. Remember what search engines looked like before Google? So often, less is more. Two ideas are better than three. But one idea is best.

2. Don’t use big words when small words will do.

Read On Writing Well, twice, and avoid buzzwords like the plague.

3. Don’t be afraid to say less.

Consider Advertising Age’s Ad of the Century, Volkswagen’s “Think Small” from 1959:

Think Small Volkswagen ad
+Click to enlarge

4. Reduce word count on the web. . . in print . . . everywhere.

“On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.”

Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, May 6, 2008

5. Sound bites aren’t just for politicians.

Some claim this sound bite was the single most important quote by either candidate during the 1984 Presidential election. It completely neutralized all concerns regarding Ronald Reagan’s age and quashed all hopes that Walter Mondale might beat the incumbent.

What are your key messages? Can you state them clearly and convincingly?

6. Replace the “elevator pitch” with the “pass in the hall” test.

Read Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz to learn more.

7. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Increase your photography budget, use stock photography that doesn’t look like stock photography, and don’t be afraid to hire a professional photographer.

Great photos are a marketing asset worth having.

8. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth?

Video is more affordable than ever. Having a customer say how wonderful you are is worth 100 times what it’s worth when you say it.

9. Simple beats slick every time.

Distill your ideas down to their core to get started, then check out Common Craft’s Explanations in Plain English videos for inspiration.

10. Gimme white space, or gimme death.

Use my formula: Take the amount of space you think you need, then double it. Then cut your word count by half.

One way to break through the noise is to make less of it.

What can you do to make your marketing simple?

Comment below to weigh in.