The curse of too much

And what it has to do with goldfish and your customers!

There’s a 99% chance that you are telling your customers too much, too soon.

You’re giving them too much information in a desperate effort to convince them to buy your product or service.

Simply put

  • We give them too much of what they don’t need to make a decision to buy.
  • Or not enough of what they do need to make a decision to buy.

The result

Customers walk away from your website, landing page, or online sale message confused, and underwhelmed. You’ve lost a new customer and you’re left wondering why.


  • We think that the more we explain the more they will understand.
  • We forget that they don’t know what we know.
  • We forget that customers are ‘time poor’ and we spend too long explaining what it is we want them to buy or do.
  • We think that they are interested in the detail
  • We think that we need to instantly explain the facts, the statistics and the full list of benefits.
  • And, most importantly, we forget to step back and look at it from the perspective of a complete stranger.

You want your visitors to get what you do, and why they should buy from you and not from someone else.


It’s official. Humans don’t have the attention span of a goldfish – they have less!

According to scientists, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span that even a goldfish can do better. (I wonder how you estimate the attention span of a goldfish? Or is it just one of those urban myth stats – no one actual remembers who said it?)

‘What was I saying again? Oh yes’.

The attention span of a human has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to around 7 seconds today whereas a goldfish has a 9 second attention span.

When a visitor comes to your website homepage or landing page you have about 5 -7 seconds, at the most, to connect with them.

7 seconds to inform then, inspire them, and take an action (other than leave of course). That’s not long no matter how simple your message.

Make every word count

Successful brands keep it simple. They have a clear uncomplicated story and purpose combined with an uncluttered and consistent visual style.

Every word you use should be there on merit. If you can tell the story without it delete it.

Learn to communicate simply, clearly and succinctly without any fat and unnecessary nuanced statistics, facts or positioning, and you will stop confusing the customer and start connecting in a way they will understand.

Successful brands make every word count.

Ask yourself:

“Do people understand what we do?”

Go to your website ‘homepage’ or ‘landing page’ and ask yourself the following simple, but critical, questions.

Remember your 5-8 second window of opportunity

  • What do we offer?
  • What does it do?
  • Who is it for?
  • Why should the customer care?

The goldfish test

Ask a handful of people who know nothing of your product or service to browse your website homepage or landing page for 7 seconds.

Then ask them the following questions:

  1. What are we selling?
  2. What does it do?
  3. What is unique about our product or service (if anything)?
  4. What was the number one ‘call to action’?

If they can’t answer any of these questions it’s back to the drawing board until they can.


Remember: New visitors to your website are often not clear what they are looking for, so it is your job to tell them.

In 7 seconds.


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