Sooo, is fancy language *required* to stand out in your business?
She said biophilic.
I’m not making a that’s-what-she-said joke here because that’s actually what she said.
And I had no idea what it meant. (Neither did the other ladies on the video chat.)
You know what happened as soon as I heard that word? I stopped listening because I had no idea what it meant, I was trying to figure out if I should know what it meant, I was wondering if I had heard correctly (because my hearing is a little not so good)…
I got stuck on one word and didn’t hear the rest of her elevator pitch.
I didn’t know if the rest of her pitch was of interest to me. I didn’t know what she did (okay, lie, errr, stretching the truth to make a point because I totally do know her and what she does), I didn’t know who she helps, and, quite frankly, I didn’t care.
Just because I got stuck on one word.
The culprit here, my friend, is jargon. Don’t let it happen to you.
Here’s how to make sure people are hearing what you’re saying (or, I guess, reading what you’re writing) instead of searching the card catalogue of their mind to see if that word you just used was maybe one they memorized for the SATs.
Use simple words
I don’t know if it’s because we want to impress people with our expansive SAT vocabulary or if we honestly think people understand what we’re saying when we’re throwing $20 words out left and right.
I assure you we do and they don’t.
Here’s what’s going to happen when you’re using fancy words: People are going to feel put off because you sound smart (sorry, but it’s true). They’re going to feel a little less than. They’re going to feel intimidated. They’re going to assume you’re too expensive for them. (After all, you’ve gotta charge premium prices for those expensive words.)
Fact: Most Americans read at a seventh or eighth grade level.
Your target client might be in there. Which means you need to make sure you’re using words that your client understands.
Otherwise? You’re going to have a hell of a time reaching them.
Next time you’re writing something – whether it’s an elevator pitch, an email, a sales page – check your dictionary and your thesaurus at the door and make sure you’re using words everyone can understand.
So no bioindividuality. No bioenergetics. No biocompatible.
I believe the saying is, “Keep it simple, stupid” Not, “Keep it smart, sassy-pants.”
Use client language
I have bad news for you: Just because you’ve forsaken the sophisticated words doesn’t mean you’re keeping it simple.
That’s because you’re still using jargon and coach speak and industry terms – even if they’re easy to understand.
Sure, we all know what the words “pregnancy weight” mean.
But are those the words your client is actually using? Are they walking around going, “Jeez oh man, I really need someone to help me with my pregnancy weight loss goals.”
Maybe…but might they be a little more likely to say something like, “I really just want to fit into these pre-pregnancy jeans again.”
Which one do you think people are going to relate to more? Some generic promise of pregnancy weight loss or the allure of fitting into a long-abandoned pair of pants?
When you’re clinging to your jargon, you’re making it harder for people to get what you do, for people to see themselves in your work, and for people to know you can help them.
And I think that’s the opposite of simple.
You want people to know exactly what you do, to relate to that last blog post you wrote, and to know without a doubt that you are THE person that can help them reach their goals.
What does this mean for you, my friend?
It means no “release the weight.” No “shed what’s weighing you down.” And, please, no “create a caloric deficit.”
Always, always, always ask yourself if your client would use those words.
Show, don’t tell
This is an old piece of copywriter advice. And it’s a good one.
Too often, we get wrapped up in telling people how they’re going to look or feel when we’re done with them.
We tell them things like, “You’re going to look amazing!” Or, “Your ass is going to look hot in those jeans!” Maybe even, “You are going to be soooo toned.”
Definitely all things people want, right?
Yes, definitely. Buuut…if you really, really want people to get what you do and pick up what you’re putting down (do you smelllll…what The Rock is cooking?!) you might be better off showing them than telling them.
Show them what amazing looks like. Show them what a hot ass looks like. Show them what toned looks like.
(And we’re not talking pictures, my friend. We use words around here.)
What would your client do if she felt amazing? What would her life look like? What would she be able to do that she might not have done before? What’s changed about her day-to-day life?
Maybe to her amazing looks like not being afraid to wear a crop top to hot yoga. Maybe it means not hiding in the back row, away from the mirrors, and rolling out her mat front and center. Maybe it means looking in the mirror at the studio and not avoiding making eye contact with herself.
There’s a whole bunch of things amazing could look like – what does it look like for your client?
I know, I know, that’s a big question…
But it’s our job as business owners to answer those big questions. To really know our clients and what they’re looking for. And to speak their language.
So, go ahead. Take a peek at the last newsletter you sent out. Do you spot any jargon in there? Any overcomplicated language? Think about how you could have said it differently so that you’re connecting with your audience using simple language they would actually use. And next time? Say it that way.
If you’re having trouble with jargon and speaking your client’s language, might I suggest a stroll through 10 Days to Better Than Okay Copy? There are two (!) whole days dedicated to spotting and eradicating jargon. I’m serious about this shit. Did I mention there’s a workbook? Yeah, you want that. Grab your spot here.