As part of my quest to give back, I participate in Rotary Readers where I read stories to kindergartners every week at a local inner city school. With this group of children, I’ve found myself drawn to one little guy named Kinley. I think this is because he is always happy and has a natural excitement and enthusiasm for life. (Candidly, Kinley reminds me of my youngest fur-son, Paisley, but that’s another entirely different story.)
Recently we read a Dr. Seuss book about a moose with a growing group of guests taking residence in his antlers. At one point in the story, I asked the children how many guests were currently riding in the moose horns. (Repeating this from before, the children knew they should count the number of guests in Mr. Moose’s antlers.) Kinley did not disappoint as he enthusiastically raised his hand.
“Kinley, how many guests are now in Mr. Moose’s antlers,” I asked. “All of them,” Kinley emphatically replied.
While Kinley’s response was cute and funny, it made me realize that I should have been more specific with my question. He may have answered differently had I asked, “How many guests do you count in Mr. Moose’s antlers?”
This exchange made me reflect on the need for clarity in business communications.
When you write about your business, you need to offer the same clarification. Words can be powerful, but you need to use the right ones. You also need to ask clarifying questions to make sure your customers and prospects understand what you’re saying.
So how do you do determine the right words to convey what your business does and why someone needs it? Here are a few tips for consideration:
Use Sensory Words. Let’s face it—in this era of sound bite journalism, most people scan the content they consume. To capture the attention of readers, you need to paint word pictures that encourage them to read instead of scan. Sensory words create emotional connections and responses because they help your reader feel, see, hear, smell or taste something.
Check out the difference between these two messages:
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Use Your Readers' Language. The purpose of any copy and key messages is to connect with your readers, customers and prospects. Since people tend to race through what they are reading, you want to use words and phrases they use to catch their attention. By joining the conversation in their head, you are writing about solutions to their problems.
If you’re wondering what problems your customers are having, consider surveying your existing list to learn more about what keeps them up at night. You can find and review the dialogue occurring in LinkedIn, Facebook or Reddit groups where your prospective customers hang out.
Look for common words and phrases that consistently appear. Once you identify those pain points, catch their attention by providing answers to those problems.
Use Persuasive Words to Motivate. How do you do this? By communicating the value that will transform your readers to take action. Think about words like best, fast, more, new, results, save. Using these words help customers visualize what they will gain by connecting with you and your service.
Be careful how you use persuasive words to trigger behavior. You don’t want to use too many motivational words. If you do, the reader may “smell a rat” and realize a marketing team is behind what they are reading.
Focus on You, not I. Today is it all about me, not you. Be sure to concentrate on the reader, not your business. By continually using ‘you’ in your copy, you have an impact and influence on that reader’s thinking. In turn, you’re answering their unspoken question about “What’s in it for me?”
When you focus on ‘I’ in your copy, readers tend to disengage. They may hit unsubscribe, abandon your website or delete your email.
‘You’ focused statements make your content more relevant to potential customers and increase engagement and interest.
Determining the right words to convey what your business does and why someone needs it can be time-consuming. If you invest the time to do these few things, you’ll end up achieving the connections and results you desire.
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