Jargon. Lingo. Slang. Call it whatever you like but we all find ourselves using it. I was recently catching up with an old friend over lunch and realized that phrases like “digital marketing strategy,” “conversion rates,” and “audience segmentation” started to dominate our conversation. If you had been eavesdropping on our conversation, you would have thought I was talking to a client rather than a friend. I found it funny how comfortable I was talking business with a friend who wasn’t “in the business.” He was gracious enough to humor me, but it got me thinking about how businesses tend to use jargon and marketing messages in their communication strategy. More often than not, these phrases do NOT resonate with the people they most want to connect with.
No matter what industry you are in or what your business is, you are providing a product or a service that people want. Your customers are not industry experts. You are. The trick is figuring out how to communicate your products and services in terms and phrases that your ideal customers already use. Another way to think of it is talking like your customers think. This is speaking your client’s language.
Speaking your customer’s language means paying attention to tone and voice. Are you overly technical in your communications where a straightforward approach would be much more effective? If your audience is technical, allow yourself to take on that voice. If you are an IT company and need to speak directly to the C-suite, you had better make the business case and speak to business ROI.
Speaking your customer’s language also means not hitting them with a barrage of industry-speak in an attempt to look smart. Don’t let your message get lost in a sea of buzzwords or technical jargon. We often become so familiar with our products and services that we lose sight of the layman’s terms that our customers are using. You will earn the trust of your audience when you can communicate with them the same way that they communicate with each other.
Not sure how to speak your customer’s language? The easiest thing to do is just listen to them! Your customers are out there talking about their problems and challenges. You just need to listen carefully.
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Here are a few tips on better understanding your customer’s language to improve your communication strategy:
1. Read industry publications relevant to your customers and understand how situations are described. Make your communications relevant to their needs.
2. Attend customers’ industry events and listen to the phrases and words used to describe challenging situations.
3. Track current and potential customers on social media. Monitor the most used words on Twitter by tracking the relevant hashtags.
4. Join LinkedIn groups pertinent to your customers’ industry. Monitor the discussions and the words most used to address needs.
5. Broaden your knowledge by reading customers’ industry blogs, online articles, discussion boards, etc… See what people are writing about and what they care about
In marketing, before we can focus on pictures and design elements, we need to build our communication strategy around current and prospective customers. Reaching your customers and connecting with them where they are is only half the battle. Once you’re there, you have to speak their language too.
If you need assistance evaluating your customer’s language or guidance to improve your communication strategy, contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends by following us on Twitter and Facebook.