With attention spans short and competition intense, clear language is essential to help marketing messages sing and spark interest in your business.
As in all relationships, people connect with straightforward and honest communications. In fact, 84% of consumers are inclined to trust companies using jargon-free language, according to Joseph Kimble in Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law (Carolina Academic Press, 2012).
Drawing on my business-writing experience, here are some guidelines for effective marketing descriptions to build your reputation and business:
1. Clarify thoughts. The first step toward understandable language is clear thinking. Before writing any business message, take the time to distill key points about your company. Can you describe your product or service clearly and succinctly? What qualities differentiate your offerings from others in the industry? How will customers benefit? If you can't reply to these questions without hesitation, focus on developing clear explanations.
2. Energize descriptions. Through your words, you can convey action. To create promotions with impact, for example, delete strings of adjectives. Also, try to avoid overused descriptions like "hot" and "best," which have lost their meaning. Instead, rely on verbs full of energy, such as "sparkle," "zip" and "zoom." Pinpoint the specific advantages of products and services, and convey a sense of urgency: "Save time and money now!"
3. Create snapshots. Clear words and messages have the ability to paint word pictures. Vivid images leave impressions in customers' minds, giving them a sense of your business and the people behind your operation. A slick description often sends clients running to a competitor, whereas sincerity can build your reputation and inspire long-term loyalty. Phrases like "family owned and operated" or "dedicated to giving back to the community" will help clients connect with your humanity and commitment. Then, back up your words and show that your business is genuine.
4. Simplify sentences. Through simple language, you can help readers understand your business. Complexity and clutter make processing information difficult, so don't pack multiple ideas into sentences. Make your thoughts easy to digest by using words that readers recognize, like "giant," rather than chasing them to a dictionary to define "behemoth." Many don't have the time and will stop reading at the first stumbling block. Shorten each group of words—and know the importance of a period.
5. Refine drafts. After drafting your promotion, review the wording with objectivity. Process the information as if you were a customer just learning about your business. Slash every word that is confusing or unnecessary. Simplify and polish every word to help the essence of your company, identity and message rise to the top.
From an article by Andrea K. Hammer for Entrepreneur magazine.