Posh versus simple: which is best for sales?
Simple language out trumps (no reference to the Shredded Wheat hair-do sporting politician) posh or fancy lingo every time. Yet my eyes are continually assaulted by phrases and words like ‘core competency’, ‘strategic partnerships’, ‘open the kimono’ (yuk), ‘best practice’…you know the kind of horrors I’m talking about. The simpler you can make your language, the better results you will get. Being clear is far more important than making yourself sound big and clever.
I’ve listed below the most powerful words you can use in your marketing and sales writing.
The word you, is, without a doubt, the most powerful word in marketing. This idea becomes even powerful if you personalise the communication with the recipient’s name. But don’t go mad with it. If you use someone’s name too much, it can sound a bit creepy and horribly insincere. The theory is that hearing the word you or our name, certain parts of our brain light up which makes us pay special attention to what’s being said.
Everyone loves to think they are getting a bargain. Time and time again offers like ‘buy one, get one free’ or BOGOF outperform a 50% discount - crazy but true. My own view on this is that the power of free is not just about getting something for nothing, it’s to do with ‘no obligation’. If you can sign up to an online services FREE without entering any credit card details, it invites us to delve into the product without the fear of someone calling us up or feeling under obligation.
The word ‘because’ works well because we like to be given reasons to do things. It’s also one of those words that can lead you into benefit statements and pre-empt the dreaded ‘so what’ question. E.g. Drink more water. Why? Because drinking 2 litres a day has been shown to aid concentration, and get rid of zits.
The word help is all about giving people answers and solutions to their problems. Hence the classic, ‘can I help you?’ In copywriting, a simple ‘We can help you… followed by a simple statement such as, ‘we can help you find the perfect little black dress for any social occasion’.
We love new shiny things and variety. New products, new services, new flavours, new colours - newness helps keep the love alive between you and your customer. If you’re a service-based company, try looking at new package deals, or add new service options every once in a while to keep the romance going.
We’re in a world of instant gratification. I want it, and I want it now - particularly online. If I don’t see what I want in a few seconds, I’m off to find it somewhere else. Words like ‘instant’, ‘immediate’, ‘fast’ play well.
A bit of self-editing goes a long way
Go back over the copy on your website or other marketing materials, and challenge yourself to take out any ‘posh’ words or phrases and replace them with something simpler. So, for example, why say ‘delegates collaborating’? You could just say, ‘people working together’. You get the idea.
Fancy a wee quiz?
Take a look at my posh words quiz. See if you can find a simpler word or phrase. Some of them are trickier than they look! Give it a bash.
That’s it for now.