December 2, 2014

The texty turnoff. Can TL;DR kill your brand story?

First, count the number of words “above the fold” on your website home page. Are there…
• 1 to 40
• 41 to 75
• 76 to 100
• 101+
• I got a headache trying to count them all.

The answer to “can there be too much text?” is of course yes – but that just leads to more questions. How much is too texty? Who says so? Can you cut too much and fail to get your story across?

Every brand is a story. Customers know one version, prospects either have a different version, or don’t know it at all. Internally, the brand story can be quite different for the CEO, CMO, sales people, or the guys on the loading dock.

For that story to succeed, it musttexty
• be understood by everybody internally,
• be meaningfully differentiated from competitors,
• offer a sliver of rationality,
• offer a bigger dose of emotional wiifm connection, and
• be true.

After everybody internally signs on, the narrative must then be engaging for that single most important audience for growth: prospects.

Not customers. They shape your brand story based on their user experience (UX), where what you say matters less than what you do. Their happiness is an operational issue, as we said previously.

That’s why prospect engagement with your story is a prime lever for exponential growth, and why “too texty” can kill you. TL;DR, as they say on the intratoobs.

The TooLong;Didn’tRead texty turnoff happens often. Marketers feel they have so much to say they can’t restrain themselves. But check out that word count for your home page, and compare it to’s word count, who have a gazillion items to sell. Odds are, they engage using fewer words than you.

One reason Dickens’ novels are so freakin’ long is that he was paid by the word. Even if they’re not short-attention spaniels, your prospects in 2014 do not have 19th Century patience. Subtract!