4 Ways to Communicate Clearly to Get More Business
March 27, 2017 by Vanessa Zucker
Have you ever been in a situation where, no matter how hard you listen, you can’t understand what someone is trying to say? Have you ever stopped reading an article because the language was just too dense and technical? In the worlds of business and technology, this happens all too often. Too many of us get caught up, often unconsciously, in using technical terms to tout a product or service we provide instead of conveying its benefit to the consumer. In order to capture the attention of your audience, you must communicate clearly and focus on the issue your audience wants to solve. Here’s how:
Identify pain points
The reason your product or service exists is to solve a pain point that is weighing on your consumer base. Go back to basics and remind yourself of why your company got into this game in the first place. Your customers started using your product or service to do something they could not do before or achieve better results. What was it that drove them to demand your product or service?
If your company has a form that potential clients fill out or an email they use for inquiries, this can be a great source for understanding the problem. For example, many of our clients at Spark ultimately want to increase revenue by increasing adoption of their product or service. On our intake form, that sometimes materializes as phrases like, “expand awareness” or “increase customers.” Remember to keep asking “Why?” in order to get to the root of the problem.
Once you have identified your clients’ pain points, address them. When explaining something, make it clear that you understand your client’s problem fully and that your client can trust you to solve that problem.
Speaking of solving a problem…
Stress the solution your product or service offers
Once you know your potential clients’ pain points, you can then reveal the value of your product or service to those clients. Instead of simply listing dozens of features, though, let your clients know how your product or service will solve their problem. Frame the conversation in terms of how your product’s features can bring the client closer to a solution. Remember, your clients care about how to solve their problems and will probably consider your competitors alongside you while making their decision. Competing on features, especially when all competitors may have the same features, will not put you ahead of the pack.
As an example, GoSquared explains how the company’s designers overhauled their website to focus on solutions, not features. Mike Trigg, COO of Hightail (which offers a creative collaboration platform) gives plenty of examples in his Entrepreneur article, including Houzz and GoPro.
Avoid using jargon just to sound smart
Technical terms that refer to something very specific have their place in conversation. That place is rarely in client-facing press coverage and marketing materials such as social media posts or advertisements. Instead of understanding why a story is relevant to their situation, readers can get confused when exposed to too many industry terms. Readers want to relate to the content they see.
One industry with plenty of technical terms and acronyms to choose from is advertising technology. An example: an employee looking to advertise a company selling cruises to the Bahamas is not going to understand the difference between a DSP (demand-side platform), SSP (supply-side platform), and a DMP (data management platform). This employee likely wants to fill cruise ship beds by serving advertisements to people who are already considering booking a trip. Sure, this employee could benefit from real-time bidding in a programmatic advertising campaign but the time to explain this is not in a Google search ad introducing the employee to the AdTech company for the first time.
In the words of Senior Account Manager Travis DeLingua, “Jargon is not an effective communication tool. Speak to your audience.”
Imagine yourself as your customer
Ultimately, the theme of the day is to put yourself in your client’s situation and ask yourself, “If I was a potential client trying to solve this problem, what would I be looking for?” If I wanted to grow revenue at my small business by increasing awareness of my brand, I would not be looking to “amplify digital experiential transformational social influencer engagement.” I would be looking for something along the lines of “marketing a small business efficiently.” I can leave the details of what goes into my marketing plan to my marketing team while I focus more on the outcome of that plan.
Communicate clearly and you should be able to capture your audience’s attention, relate to them while giving them the information they need, and get them closer to making that all-important final decision.
About the Author
Vanessa Zucker is Spark’s in-house marketing manager who spent several years understanding business jargon and now tries to talk like a human. She has done in-house marketing for small startups, tech giants, and non-profits. She merges creativity with analytical thinking and organization in order to create unique, quality content.