When talking with colleagues or people within a certain industry, we can easily get into a groove, using terms and phrases we’ve mastered or are trending. It can be satisfying and even affirming to speak freely about these relatable and understandable topics. But go outside the bubble and what happens? Confusion, misunderstanding and dissatisfaction.
As communicators, who specialize in helping organizations communicate effectively with customers, we know it can be difficult to step out of our day-to-day vocabulary and use words and concepts that speak to their needs and answer their questions. We know this because we can easily fall into the trap ourselves, using marketing- and tech-speak that make sense to us, but are not widely known. But we stay the course and continuously check ourselves and adhere to communication best practices.
So, how can we break the desire to talk about our products and services on our terms versus using ones that will resonate best with our customers? Here are three key approaches to act on:
- Remove jargon and technical references. While it may be necessary to provide specific information that is industry regulated, do it in a way that is relatable and makes sense in everyday situations. For example, if you’re in banking or finance, don’t assume that people know the difference between APR and APY. Instead, talk about the rates for borrowing money and/or the yield on savings these products offer.
- Prioritize and simplify messages. Oftentimes, we need to educate customers and therefore we try to do too much or use technical descriptions. If you’re a healthcare provider, put yourself in the patient’s shoes. Talk about how to reduce short-term swelling, for example, versus acute edema. Explain it to them like you would to your child, parent or grandparent.
- Keep the communication personal, not transactional. Along with the features of your products and services, speak to the benefits. For an entertainment venue, selling ticket prices is important, but also describe the memories families will make because of experiencing the event.
As you plan your next marketing campaign, remember to actually talk to your customers, not at them, and speak their language, not yours.
For more tips on navigating effective communication strategies, let’s connect.