Marketing Basics – Being Understood
Promotion is a constant challenge for many businesses . The most fundamental part of marketing is getting the message across so that readers can understand.
Marketing is perceived as glossy brochures, fancy websites and expensive newspaper ads. It is much more basic than that. It is essentially the way in which you communicate with your client base. It is the language that you use, the tone of voice and how you package your product or service so that it is relevant to your target market.
The type of vocabulary used is crucial as it needs to resonate with your audiences so that they will pay attention to what you have to offer. It is a translation between what you see your business as and what your clients perceive you are offering and this is where the miscommunication can start.
Be clear and concise about what you have to sell, where you sell it from, how you sell it, when you sell it and why you sell it. Your business should be offering them something that they can’t do without. Will it save them time, save them money, make them look or feel good? Will it help them make money, feel more secure or help them be legally compliant? After all, these are the main reasons we are consumers. If you can’t fit your message around one or more of these motivators, then there really is nothing in it for the customer and therefore you have no market. Or you may be offering any of these but not communicating it, with countless sales being lost.
With regards to the language that you use, are you a very technical or niche business? Then the chances are jargon creeps in or even dominates your content. Straight away you have lost your audience, unless you are a business to business service and they also understand your language.
Are you a tradesperson, a holistic therapist, legal or financial service or IT support? The reason I ask this is because in my experience, these industries are selling to the general consumer market, yet still speak in jargon. If people feel baffled after reading your website then it is highly unlikely that they will pick up the phone and ask for a wider explanation. They simply won’t bother, or assume that your services will be expensive.
Another common factor in certain sectors is to default into common phrases and clichés, using the same language that your competitors also use, making you look and sound the same, hardly giving you chance to shine or stand out.
I heard a great analogy once, if you opt to be another zebra in a field of zebras then you will mingle into the background, however if you choose to be a lion in a field of zebras you will stand out.
Using generic terms can’t always be avoided, particularly in business names, even I use marketing as part of my name. It doesn’t pay to go too far the other way and become so abstract that it is a complete mystery as to what you do.
When you are writing any new literature either offline or online, pay attention to the language that you use, test it out, ask someone unconnected to your industry to read it, is it clear? Does it make sense? Is it obvious what the business offers?
I have witnessed businesses that have wondered why they are struggling to get enquiries blaming the economy, when I have heard comments such as ‘I am not sure what they do’ or ‘I don’t understand what they are talking about’. Sometimes we have to go back to basics and simply ask the question – is it obvious what we sell?
When I deliver my workshops, one of the first activities that we carry out is around this very issue. Every session without fail, it goes down a storm and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. I force people to come out of their comfort zones and see their business from another perspective. It changes their mind-set instantly and I see light bulb moments around the room.
So next time you launch a promotional campaign, remember to pay attention to the words that you use
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