Do a quick eyeball test on your advertising.

Open up your web page / landing page / sales letter / whatever.

Pull yourself back and glance over the whole thing. Real fast; no details, just broad strokes. What are you asking the reader to do?

If your answer is more than one thing… there’s the logjam.

Ask For One Thing

I’m going to offer a “Simplify, simplify” framework you can apply to any type of marketing.

The saying goes:

If you’re asking for more than one thing, you’re really asking for no things.

That means, for any offer, you have to focus on one simple action for your reader. Not two actions, and certainly not zero actions.

I’ll give you some real world examples.

Zero actions is when a company pays for Google Adwords then sends all those ad clicks to the Home page of their website.

And the website is mostly just photos and info.

There might be a phone number or email somewhere on the website, but the reader has to hunt for it. Money >>> into dumpster >>>>> set on fire.

Two actions can be just as bad. You’ve heard of being paralyzed by choice?

When you have multiple things to offer, it can be very tempting to talk about all of them at once. Yet it builds about as much confidence as the diner that does meatloaf, pizza, burgers, gyros, and stir fry.


This is a real restaurant I drive by every time I’m in Phoenix. Have not had the nerve to try yet.


All dishes become thoroughly mediocre.

Focus Your Message & Run It Until You See Results

Focus is what converts digital ads into dollars.

At least if something doesn’t work, you’ll have some honest to goodness proper data to back that up. Then you can avoid it in the future.

Stick to asking for one thing, and you should see more action on your ad conversions.

I leave you with some tricks of the trade:

1. Contact Options

Totally okay to have multiple ways to complete the action. Direct mail used to offer return envelopes OR you could call to leave your credit card info after a pre-recorded message (the call-ins got a better return!).

Giving a phone and email is fine. The action there is “contact us”.

2. What Counts As One Thing?

Fill out a form, watch a video, read an article, “Like” the page, download a freebie, buy now.

Some of those have values attached to them. Some are building “awareness”, establishing a brand, etc. For a small business with a limited advertising budget, I’d stay away from non-value actions that cost money.

The value of an action should be easy to figure over time. X clicks = Y leads = Z sales.

3. What To Do If You Have A Multi-Step Process

One thing at a time! A small action is a compliance test that leads to a larger action.

Example: fill in your name and email… leads to… now fill out this assessment form.

Not everyone will fill in the assessment (it takes more effort), but those that do may be qualifying themselves as an immediate buyer.

Extra bonus is that more people are likely to fill out an assessment AFTER they’ve just agreed to give their name.

4. High Info Website

Web designers have a special voodoo for arranging all your Calls To Action. It is absolutely okay to ask for more than one thing on the Home page of a website…

If if if if if if there is a visual preference of things on offer.

So the most important thing (usually a lead form or a button that goes to the Contact page) is offset with a color that contrasts the rest of the design. Or it has a border. Or a special icon.

Internal pages that are important get “buckets”. Those are the little images and links arranged in the middle of a web page like columns.

Newsletter signups get popups or sidebars.

But the principle still holds. You step away from the screen and take a quick look. Your eyes should be drawn to the most valuable action first.