Please, speak in plain English!

Allow me to climb on a soapbox for just a minute. Here’s my beef: the people you market to? They’re just that — people. They communicate all day long in people words, words like “take out the trash” and “what time is dinner” and “hey, stay in your lane.” But for some reason, when it’s time to communicate a principle in business, we find it necessary to use some other language, language like:

“The foundation of Website conversion optimization is content that maps to your prospects’ needs in key buying cycle stages.”

Huh?

No, I’m not making this up. I read this line 3 times when I encountered it on Twitter this morning. And I still don’t know what it means. I think that I should make sure that people can find what they want to buy, when they’re ready to buy it. But, then again, I’m not sure.

What if we spoke like this all day long?

“Please facilitate the de-putrifying of the waste receptacle by removing the contents that are sealed in an appropriately leak-proof polypropylene liner and placing them in a location removed from the original.”

“Please forward the ETA for our planned evening sustenance at your earliest convenience.”

“Your vehicle is taking a path that, projected out 500 yards, seems to indicate a deviation from its intended route, thereby necessitating appropriate action to avoid a delay in my forward progress and associated bottom line ramifications.”

We would agree that sounds ridiculous, but we continue to “marketing speak” to our audiences. May I challenge you to speak as plainly to your customers and prospects as you do to your friends? It will make everyone’s life a little easier. And it might even lead to a sale or two. Or should I say “customer conversions that show a good chance of increasing the prospects for the continued and sustained growth of the bottom line.”

Comments

  • Thanks for the reminder. Be efficient with your words.

    Audience First
    I once thanked my niece for holding my hand while we were crossing a street by saying “thank you for being so compliant.” In my defense, this was after a day of writing an engineering proposal for a fill-finish manufacturing plant and while I felt good that I may have improved the vocabulary of an already bright three year old, I felt pretty dumb having to explain compliance to a toddler. The language was appropriate for the audience I was writing the proposal for, it was not appropriate for her.

    For Sales and Peace of Mind
    Communicating clearly can result in better sales it can also cover your a@#. The average reading level in America is at an 8th grade level. Most people writing have four year degrees or more. If the instructions you publish are confusing, you could be held liable for someone’s injuries if their lawyer can prove your instructions were hard to follow. If you have to explain what you meant, you fail.

    Some Language can be put to Death
    Along your lines of keeping it simple, can we throw away the flippant phrase “Just add some verbiage…”?


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