by Dana Detrick-Clark
Whether you got your business education within the hallowed halls of a prestigious university, from trusted mentors, or on the street, odds are good you’ve been using typical, pretentious marketing language, turning off potential clients. Whether it’s just so vague they can’t understand what you do, or so flat out boring that they don’t care, there are steps you can take to clean up your message and attract them back.
Here are three ways to help you drop the business buzzwords and get down to what you really want to say, creating a clear message that will land more clients:
1. Speak your mind.
It’s important that your language be natural to how you’re already communicating, especially if that’s what is drawing in your current clients. Using the right language could be as easy as looking at what you’re already saying at meetings, on the phone, or in emails.
If you’re not a natural writer and hate blogging or copywriting but love talking, get a mic for your laptop, a tape recorder, or a voice recording app that will allow you to just hit record. Act like you’re talking to them, or just…talk. Talk about why you love your business. Talk about what your last project was like. You’ll find your language in it, and it will flow much more naturally than trying to imitate what another marketer or copywriter is doing.
2. Make big, bold edits.
Learning how you speak gets you started, but not knowing when to stop can turn your audience off before you get to the heart of your message. Don’t get so attached to your own phrasing, anecdotes, or style that you lose sight of your purpose. Always ask yourself, “How much of what I’m saying is really necessary?”
After a freewriting session, challenge yourself to edit your work down to a set word count. You can break this down for the entire piece, by paragraph, sentence, or phrase; it’s just practice, so there are no rules. Can your ten word headlines be condensed to five, more concisely conveying your purpose?
3. Check for Understanding.
In one of the e-Learning programs I have regularly voiced over the years for teens and ESL students, there’s always a “Check for Understanding” quiz at the end of each section. This always reminded me that testing your audience’s comprehension is a crucial part of effectively educating them.
Use your mailing list, surveys, and social media to get some feedback. Do people in your industry understand your copy? Do buyers or clients understand it? Do your friends or family or general public who have no idea what you do or have no use for what you sell understand it?
Hint: There’s no right or wrong on this one. Sometimes, if you disqualify some people as “not getting it”, you can hone in on the ones who really need to. Trust yourself to judge this!
Clear copy speaks directly to the clients you want to land, telling them who you are by reflecting your individual voice, and allowing them to get to the heart of your message without having to cut through clutter. Spending time clarifying your copy with these exercises will help you reach them more effectively.
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