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Are you talking a language your customers understand?

I have recently received a cold call from a company offering a marketing service. I listened to the pitch, but had no more idea what they were offering at the end of it than when the call started!

Speak to sell not to impress

She basically reeled off a long sentence made up of about 30 marketing buzzwords, assuming that would impress. Wrong. She may as well have been speaking French for all the sense it made. Using big or buzzy words just because you think they make you look clever or your product modern and funky is a common mistake. If the customer doesn't understand quickly and easily what you're selling, these words that are designed to impress will have the opposite effect and put a barrier up between you.

Different perspective

This is a good marketing lesson that can be carried across to all marketing materials such as product brochures and email shots – if you aren't speaking the same language as your customers, then you can't expect to sell successfully to them. As it can be hard to judge this for yourself, whenever I produce a leaflet or brochure for our business I will often give it to a third party to have a read of it and make sure they get the message I intended.

Good, old uncle Google

Google Adwords is a great place to learn what terms potential customers are using to describe your product, allowing you to capitalise on this in your advertising. For instance, one of our core services is leaflet delivery, which is known by many terms including leaflet distribution, flyer delivery, leaflet dropping, unaddressed mail and circulars to name a few. So which one should we use in our day-to-day communication with customers? Our research shows overwhelmingly that in the UK most searches carried out on Google are for leaflet distribution, followed by leaflet delivery in second place. So our marketing material uses leaflet distribution because that is the most commonly-used term, and so the one that is likely to connect with the most people.

Educate

The other issue we came up against is that we spent a lot of time and money joining the DMA (Direct Marketing Association). Our more corporate clients with marketing managers knew exactly what the DMA was and what it stood for. However we also serve a lot of smaller independent business that had no idea about the benefits of using a direct marketing agency that was a member of the DMA. Rather than dropping it in communication with smaller clients we have spent a lot of time educating them about the benefits they gain by working with a DMA-approved company and the resources they can access through us as members.

To sum it up, keep it simple and speak the language of your customer not your industry because great marketing is all about effectively communicating with people to take them from not knowing they need your product or service and turning them into a loyal customer who can't live without it.