Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Kill these 10 Words from your Copy to Improve Marketing Performance

Posted by Mark Gibson on Mon, Jul 25, 2011

Words. Often it's the little things that turn visitors off after arriving at your Website, reading your copy in a brochure or sales letter, or suffering through a bad PowerPoint presentation.

The technology business is rife with words in Website, whitepaper copy and bad PowerPoint presentations, that I call "product-speak".

Write from your Best Customer's Point of View

When people read your copy, visit your Website or sit through your presentation, they are doing so because they have pressing issues or problems that they need to solve. When you write - start from the point of view of your buyer's needs, not your "ground-breaking" product, unless you want to sound just like your competition.gobbledygook

David Meerman Scott calls these words Gobbledygook and he wrote a brilliant E-Book that you can download instantly called The Gobbledygook Manifesto.

You can even run your copy through a content analysis tool called Gobbledygook Grader, to identifygobbledygook.grader text that could be improved.
You might find David's blog "The Four P's of Marketing" that topples one of the pillars of marketing literature worth a read...and a laugh!

If you need help in translating your "product speak" into something that your visitors will want to read, then we can help.

In our work with technology companies in creating website messaging and whiteboard stories, we see the following words or phrases frequently.

My Top 10 "Product-Speak" words.

1. Revolutionary

I think not. Technology evolves slowly and every innovation is built on prior innovations. According to W.Brian Arthur in The Nature of Technology, it's a process of combinatorial evolution.

2. Unique

If your product is truly unique, no-one would know about it. You as a human being are unique, because there is only one of you. In reality no matter how smart you are, or how cool your idea/product is, you'll find someone else has already made it or is building something very similar, right now.

3. Leverage

I don't know when this word made it into the technology lexicon. I had never heard of it until I joined the technology industry and since then I hear it every day.

4. Key

I have a key that I use to get in the door of my house and one to operate my car. There are plenty of words you could use instead of key to describe something; how about important, main, big, central, priority.

5. Next Generation

This is a play on words if you are talking about an existing product; if it was truly next-generation it wouldn't be available yet.

6. World Class

This is interesting. Being an Australian, where for many years we had a cultural cringe or global inferiority complex, it was important for our entertainers, artists, writers, sports-people and anything that the left our shores to be "World-class". I get the feeling that when someone brags about being World-class, it probably isn't.

7. Leading Edge (see also Cutting Edge)

Cringe

8. Ground Breakingground breaking

I have included a visual for clarity.

9. Best-of-Breed

 Woof-Woof.

10. Award Winning

Yawn, and yes please delete page 3, listing your awards from your corporate PowerPoint presentation. No-one cares how many awards you've won....except you and maybe your Mom and your investors.

Late Entries just in.

11. Game-changing

Please feel free to contribute to the list, will list the top 20...based on your comments.

 Take-Aways

  1. Nobody cares about your products except you and people in your company. People care a great deal and are receptive to messages about solving problems and achieving goals and products they can use to help them get their needs met.
  2. If you see any words in the above list in your Website copy, promotional literature or your PowerPoint presentations, I recommend that you download David's Manifesto, read it and get started on rewriting your copy.
  3. Until you have thought long and hard about the ideal customer for your product or service and created buyer-persona's, around which to write your copy, your message will miss its intended target.

 

At your next presentation, ask your audience to rate the clarity of your value proposition in addressing their needs on a scale of 1-10.
If you are not getting 8-10/10 consistently, you probably need to think about rewriting your presentation from the buyer's perspective....or we could help translate into a Whiteboard story that is more compelling to the buyer.

Topics: marketing messaging, marketing positioning, gobbldygook

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