If Your Target Audience Isn't Listening, Speak Their Language

Last Updated Mar 25, 2010 1:36 PM EDT

Is your business growth potential limited by how you position and communicate your products? A client of mine faced this problem. An innovative software company, they wanted to talk to a broader audience but found potential clients were alienated by technical jargon and didn't understand the product benefits. They needed to switch languages to get heard.

It's a common problem for companies to get wrapped up in their own industry-speak. Often you need to stand back to reposition your business, products and communications. Here are four tips on how to get the right perspective:

  1. Sell the benefits, not the product. Instead of selling a piece of software, sell the benefits of what it does. A client of mine, an engineering firm, manufacturers bolts for use in construction projects. Rather than talking about the bolts themselves, they focus on selling the solution they provide: to make scaffolding and other infrastructure secure. That message resonates more effectively with customers.
  2. Rebrand to be more customer-facing. Is your packaging, website and marketing designed to connect with your target audience, or does it merely reflect your own personal style? Make sure all touch points have the right look and feel to talk to your customers.
  3. Translate your scripts. Get help from an external agency or copywriter to translate your brochure, website and credentials presentation into straight-talking language.
  4. Lose the jargon. Tech-speak and industry jargon alienate potential customers. Make sure you speak in accessible language, keeping technical details in product manuals, where they belong.
This strategy should leave your core offering intact; but by reinventing your communications and positioning, you'll find you can talk to a broader audience.

megaphone image by Flickr user altermark CC 2.0