• Sam Decker

Marketing Bullseye 11: Write in Customers’ Language


So what’s the bulls eye in copywriting?

Many marketers look at their competitors’ web sites and copy. In the end, every site looks like the other and clever white-paper-speak terms emerge. Terms that are not the language of the customer I don’t think that’s what copywriting means!.

Hit the bulls eye by writing in the language of the customer. To use the same terms, phrases, and straight-forward speak that a customer might use when asking someone else about your solution (and of course, they probably didn’t use the word ‘solution’)!

Holly Buchanan of FutureNow describes it this way:

These aren’t the words your customers are using to describe what they need, what their problems are or what they’re looking for. They’re not looking for "human capital management solutions" – they’re looking for a staffing company. They’re not typing "human capital management solutions" into search engines. They’re typing "staffing company" or "staffing services".

Andrea Learned describes how Intuit hired an editor from People Magazine to reinvent their terms for QuickBooks. Accounts receivable became ‘Money In’ and accounts payable, ‘Money Out.’"

Her advice:

Follow your customers home. What is in their magazine rack? What words do they use when they email or IM friends, and so on? This sort of anthropological look should give you some in-depth insight as to how you can make your marketing language more relevant for customers.Read what they read. Hang out where they hang out. Visit the web sites they frequent. Above all, if you can – identify a writer who speaks your market’s language and pay them whatever they want to freelance for you. It will be worth it. Just look at Simple Start.

You want copy to be alive, active, vibrant, succinct, and contain powerful verbs. You also want to write with simple words (see recent grokdotcom article on Can Your Customers Read What You Write?). And in all of this, to hit the bulls eye in your copy, use the language of your customer.