Is Your Message Too Complicated?

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The product I represent requires that a story be told.

That is why it didn’t do well on retail shelves.

But the story must be simple. Many of us in my company, yours truly included, used complicated science. It didn’t always work. A simpler message was needed.

Andrew Draughon explains why less is more when conveying the message of your product or company.

The Persuasion Equation that Makes Your Message Stick

If you want to persuade your audience, you need to start thinking like a pop star.

Hear me out.

Ever get a song stuck in your head for hours on end?

“Ugh, I hate this song,” you might mutter.

But then you find yourself tapping your foot and humming the chorus for the rest of the day (often against your will).

What gives?

Don’t worry: I’m not going to judge you for jammin’ out to the Bieb or Tay Tay.

There’s no shame here.

After all…

Pop stars pay big bucks to make sure their six-second hooks stay stuck

In fact, ghost songwriters make millions to ensure their “ear worms” get lodged DEEP in the recesses of your brain.

Sure, the stuff you hear on the radio isn’t exactly Shakespeare…

But that doesn’t stop the infectious melodies from sticking around in your psyche for literally decades on end.

And while we often lament the shallow lyrical content of pop music, the reason why simple songs are so darn popular is a brilliant lesson in marketing.

So, want to know the secret of pop music?

Want to figure out how to have the same stuck-in-your-head effect on your leads and prospects, so that they’ll tune into your marketing messages (and won’t be able to tune out)?

Well, then perhaps it’s time that you learned a thing or two about “cognitive fluency.”

The power of “poppy copy”

Now, the concept of cognitive fluency is pretty straightforward.

Here’s the gist of it:

If something is SIMPLE, it’s more likely believed to be true.

In other words, something that rolls off the tongue or rhymes is typically more relatable, easier to remember, and more agreeable to your audience.

Sounds weird, right?

Let’s do a bit of wordplay to illustrate.

If you heard someone state as fact that “woes unite enemies” or “life is mostly struggle,” you’re likely to disagree.

Heck, you might even think they’re a jerk for suggesting such things.

On the flip side, if instead they said something like…

Woes unite foes


“Life is mostly strife”

You’re not only more inclined to agree, but you also might deem these poetic observations of the human condition.

That’s cognitive fluency in action.

And something as simple as a rhyme can make anything (including your marketing messages) come across SO much smoother.

And the keyword here is SIMPLE.

Marketers often want to try to reinvent the wheel, crafting needlessly complicated claims for the sake of sounding “smart.”

Yet think about how the most iconic pieces of marketing, from the Nike swoosh to the McDonald’s jingle, are stupidly simple.

It’s reminiscent of that hilarious scene in Super Size Me where the director can’t find anyone who can recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” from memory, but everyone seems to know the Big Mac jingle from the ’70s without missing a beat.

So when in doubt, keep it simple.

To bring this back to music, The Beatles are a prime example of cognitive fluency.

Now, before you kill me for lumping The Beatles in with today’s pop fodder, think about how universally recognized and adored song lyrics are so smooth and straightforward.

1965’s “Yesterday” is a great instance of cognitive fluency…

All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it seems as though they’re here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday”

Great tune, but the lyrics themselves aren’t much to sniff at.

At a glance, they look like something straight out of a rhyming dictionary.

But so what?

Everyone knows the song.

It’s often heralded as the most-covered tune of all time and has resulted in well over $25 million in royalty payments, making it one of the most profitable songs of all time.

The craziest thing about the song, though?

Paul McCartney wrote it in a matter of minutes.

How does this music trivia lesson relate to marketing?

Marketers like you and me need to make our messages as easy to comprehend as possible.

There’s a great quote from Daniel Kahneman about this:

“The easier it is to comprehend, the more likely it is that your readers will find it to be true.”

So, how do you make it happen?

Mind your score to make your copy soar

As I said earlier, many people make the mistake of trying to be the smartest person in the room.

And just because you can stuff your copy with big words and jargon doesn’t mean that you should.

Overwhelming your readers with lengthy messages and endless walls of text is only going to turn them off.

The best copy is punchy.

It’s succinct.

It doesn’t mince words.

And for the love of the Almighty, it’s not presented as a giant block of text.

If you think that your own emails or blog posts feel a bit too stuffy, fear not.

There’s a system out there known as the Flesch-Kincaid readability test (that’s built into Microsoft Word) that effectively “scores” your copy on your behalf.

Although this score isn’t the be-all, end-all of your copy, it’s incredibly helpful for picking out…

  • Needless jargon or empty words
  • Complex or run-on sentences
  • Clunky paragraphs

As a rule of thumb, the grade level of your copy should under 7 or 8.

(This post is at grade 5, FYI.)

This ensures that you aren’t potentially going over the heads of your audience.

When in doubt, it pays to play safe with your copy versus trying to be a show-off.

The point of editing your copy to make it smoother and more fluent isn’t to dumb your writing down.

Not by a long shot.

The more complicated your copy, the more chances there are for your audience to tune out.

Ask yourself: do your readers really have time to stop and look up words or figure out what you mean?

Do they have the patience to sift through paragraph after paragraph of fluff?

The answer is no.

So put that thesaurus down!

Make your copy more conversational.

Trust me: this rings true for all marketers, regardless of your audience.

Keep it simple.

It may seem like a cliche at this point, but the less work you create for your readers, the better.

It’s all about breaking down barriers between you and your audience, effectively making your copy more accessible.

Don’t forget the name game

By the way, the benefits of cognitive fluency don’t stop with your copy.

Beyond your emails and blog posts, you should keep cognitive fluency in mind when thinking about your business and products.

Here’s some more food for thought: people tend to remember companies with names that are easy to pronounce.


Say it out loud. Seriously.


Rolls off the tongue, right?

That’s why single and two-syllable company names are so popular.

Twitter. Facebook. Intel. The list goes on.

Additionally, there was a study back in 2012 that discovered cognitive fluency plays a role in the stock market.

The study found that companies with less-complicated names and ticker symbols outperformed those with wordy, seemingly foreign names.

The takeaway here?

If something’s a mouthful, people are naturally going to be resistant to it.

Even if they don’t realize it.

After all, we drive cars not automobiles, right?

When it comes time to name a product or project, keep simplicity in the back of your mind.

It may be tempting to think of something new or off the wall.

That said, is your seemingly brilliant idea really worth potentially confusing your audience?

In fact, “Elite Marketing Pro” is a shining example of how…

Being blunt packs a punch!

We’re elite. We’re marketers. We’ll turn you into a pro.

Get it?

People want what’s familiar to them.

Simple words and phrases.

Stories and copy they can make connections to.

Same with their products and services.

At the end of the day, that’s what cognitive fluency is all about.

Is your message among the best? Let’s put it to the test…

Leveraging cognitive fluency is one of the most fundamental ways to make your message stick in the heads of your prospects.

It might seem like a simple touch.

But when you master the art of straightforward communication, people are more than willing to lend you their ears.

And marketers who take advantage of such sing-song copy are way ahead of the game.

So, now you know how to more effectively communicate with your prospects.

But the question remains…

How will you open the floodgates of traffic to your business?

Thankfully, you’ve already won half the battle now that you know how to keep your audience’s attention.

Honestly, traffic is easy (it’s making them stick around that’s tough).

But if you aren’t 100% sure how to get started…

We put together a point-for-point tutorial revealing our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE traffic workshop, hosted by none other than Tim Erway, our co-founder and CEO, who’s generated over 30 million dollars in online revenue (and counting).

Simply pick a time and register right here.

You’ll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.

In fact…

We’ve used the exact formula to turn a $10 test campaign into $141,246.30 in sales.

And Tim will show exactly how we did it.

So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?

Pick a time that works for you to attend Tim’s traffic workshop right here.


Until next time,

Andrew Draughon
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro


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