No bells, whistles, or monkeys needed
“Write it like you are writing a letter to a friend.”
That simple advice can create effective messaging and rescue you from writing traps like:
• Acronyms: Would you assume a friend understands CRM, KPI, or LTL?
• Buzzwords: Can everyone translate “lumping,” “Big Data,” or “Industry 4.0”?
• Wasted space: Does the first sentence of your valuable client communication need to include trivial details about your morning workout?
You can’t be sure who will read your tweets, blogs, brochures, etc. It could be that your message reaches a sophisticated, experienced decision maker. Or, it could go to someone brand new to the industry—the person who might need your help the most.
Take a look at your own inbox. What messages did you open and read? Which ones did you glance at and say “Ugggh, I’ll wade through that one later.”
For us, anything with too much jargon definitely falls in the read-later category. For example, just this phrase was enough to stop us from reading the entire email—"entice and advance conversations with prospects and deepen customer engagement…”
Jane Austin, owner of Persuasion Communications in London, says relying on jargon often means the message doesn’t translate for people, and it also has a way of hiding what you’re really trying to say.
“People use jargon because they see it as a means of connecting with their ‘tribe.’ They don’t want to appear like outsiders, so talking empty gibberish can be an attempt to conform,” writes Austin.
This is what makes marketing communications so frustrating at times. You are constantly balancing competing goals like these:
• Speak to your audience with clarity using words that relate to their specific job.
• Catch their attention without losing their interest.
• Keep it simple, yet prompt them to take the steps to do business with you.
• Present what you can do for them without making their eyes roll.
So, the next time you write something, try starting it with “Dear Uncle George.” You might be pleasantly surprised at how quickly the rest of the story unfolds.