Coming into the new year it makes sense to re-focus what you do and how you do it, so you can be more efficient and more effective over the next 12 months.
How you sell yourself in the words and messages you deliver to customers and potential customers is one of the most important factors to examine. The modern world is all about here, now and short and sharp and if you are not ‘with it’ you may be missing out. Here’s six top tips from us to make sure our messages are making an impact:
1. Use bullets
Do you remember when you used to do exams and the teachers always told you if you were running out of time, to list your outstanding points as bullet points? They did that for a reason. It’s far better to show your hand in a bullet than risk either not getting round to making your point or perhaps risk having your point lost in a paragraph or seven further down the page. Especially in digital delivery (online, social media, email, etc) brief is a winner.
2. Keep language simple in your headlines and bullet points
That’s not to say acronyms, slang and buzz-words shouldn’t be used (they may well have great SEO value) but you want your headlines to appear clear and appeal to the widest possible audience. By all means use more colourful language to illustrate concepts and where there is a technical knowledge being discusses to gain credibility, but keep your eye-catching words to a standard that all can engage with. Start simple and then develop your point.
3. Show solutions
When talking about your products and services try focusing less on the actual specifications but more what those specifications mean. Even technophobes can grasp a concept better if you present it in a way of how it actually benefits them. Stats and technical details can be used to illustrate later but for the majority of your audience you should be looking to engage with them as to how your products and services will impact on them – and hopefully benefit them.
4. Pay heed to The Rule of 3
Ok so we have six top tips here but if we were mailing this out, we’d probably have stopped at the bullet point before. Why? Well three has a bigger impact on the subconscious. It’s why you will often find politician’s making a speech will make three points to re-enforce a statement. It’s important to never have more than three key messages if you are to avoid confusion for your audience and also ensure maximum impact. By all means add sub-messages for sub-categories (e.g. each product having its own set of three points) but remember short and sharp is the modern way.
5. Use WOW words
Modern day teaching pushes the use of wow words (highly descriptive words like incredible, fantastic, etc) because it keeps students engaged in their work. The same can be true of marketing messages. Don’t over-do it, you are not writing a fairy-tale, but show some excitement in your language and you are more likely to get your potential customer excited too. Action-based words and phrases work well in marketing messages which is why you will often see things things like “time-saving”, “cost-effective” and “market-leading”
6. Think 25-50-100
As a trainee journalist this is how I was taught to write a press release. Consider your story and then work out how you can sell that in 25 words, how you can sell it in 50 words and how you can sell it in 100 words. (Actually, it used to to be 50/250/500 but in the modern world if you haven’t grabbed somebody within 200 words you have probably lost your chance). Whatever your communication make your message within these parameters. In the first 25 words you should be able to say everything you need. In the next 50 expand on those points and in the final 100 sell it some more, perhaps with a bit more technicality as well as a very brief summary.
That’s six to be getting on with. There are tomes of books on this subject so plenty more to absorb, but if you do start with these 6 you are sure to start seeing some positive impact on your message impact.