Are You Talking To Me?
With the advent of plain English day on 10th December do all your marketing materials really make sense for your clients?
Some 31 years ago the Plain English campaign was started to stop people using too much jargon and gobbledygook in their written communications. It was felt that there were far too many long-winded sentences which were not only confusing but incredibly boring to read! One example of gobbledygook given by the plain English society follows:
If there are any points on which you require explanation or further particulars we shall be glad to furnish such additional details as may be required by telephone.
If you have any questions, please phone.
Now this might seem a bit extreme but it is a true life example of how we can deter customers by not using clear and concise language in our communications. Whether the content is for a leaflet, your website, an instruction manual or your business card, it is hugely important that your language is accessible to all. Keep it simple, keep it brief. Short sentences have a greater impact and better retention rates – perfect for trying to convey your marketing messages.
Using ‘you’ and ‘we’ in your marketing materials helps to build up a relationship with your customers and makes them feel that they are being addressed directly. Although the general advice is not to use too much jargon do use terms that your customers would understand. For example, if you run a widget business then you must use the word ‘widget’!
Using too many words can cost your business money. In the simplest sense, it costs more to produce a 150 page brochure than it would do a 50 page sales brochure. Do you really need that many pages to sell your products and services?
It is also true that Plain English can save your business money. The campaign organisers estimate that poor customer service costs companies almost £14 billion a year. Royal Mail saved £500,000 in nine months by redesigning one commonly-used form in plain English. British Telecom cut customer queries by 25% by using plain English.
More information on how to communicate effectively to grow your business can be found at www.plainenglish.co.uk