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Celebrity Branding Online: Are You Speaking Your Audience’s Language?

The world of online marketing is evolving rapidly. Social media, SEO, video production, content marketing, and the list goes on. If you are like most small business owners, just trying to understand these various strategies is overwhelming – let alone actually implementing them successfully for your business.

But despite the rapid pace of change and the often-confusing technical terms, it’s important to understand that internet marketing, like all marketing, eventually boils down to having a conversation with your target market. Sure, the technologies and the strategies that you use may change, but ultimately, they are simply providing a platform for you to interact with your target audience.

For that reason, it’s critical that you, as a business owner, are effectively guiding this conversation with your market. You don’t have to understand the nitty-gritty technical details, and you don’t have to be up to speed on all of the latest developments, but you do need to be in control of the message. In this article, we’re going to put aside the technology and focus on one important aspect of your marketing message: the language you’re speaking to your audience.

No, I don’t mean English, Spanish, or Mandarin Chinese. I’m talking about the unique "language" that your target market speaks. Many business owners habitually speak in their language – an IT consultant uses complex technical jargon, a lawyer speaks "legalese", an investment advisor talks about interest rates and financial ratios.

And that’s fine when you’re talking to your employees or your colleagues. But when you’re talking to potential customers, if you’re not using language that they understand, you might as well be speaking Chinese! It’s critically important that you speak to customers in their language – that you boil down complicated technology and terminology into words and concepts that make sense to your audience.

Below are several ways you can do this. These concepts should be applied to your website, your social media presence, your e-mail marketing, and any other marketing "touch points" you have with your customers and prospects, whether online or offline.

1) Ditch the technical jargon. You can’t talk to your customers in the same way that you talk to other professionals. If you’re a lawyer, speaking in "legalese" is going to leave potential clients confused and intimidated – and most likely looking for help from someone else. For instance: a woman going through a divorce doesn’t want to hear about Petitions, Affidavits, or Addendums. She wants to hear that you can help her, that you can guide her through the process, and that you’ll fight for her rights and her interests.

2) Don’t bore them with specifications – focus on the benefits of doing business with you. Many business owners like to talk about their products or services… how big the hard drive is, how fast the processor is, how high of an interest rate they can earn. This is a mistake, because it’s not what customers ultimately care about. They don’t care about the hard drive, they care about storing pictures of their family and friends. They don’t care about the interest rate directly, they care about the secure retirement you can help them achieve. Don’t focus on the details, focus on the benefits for your customers.

3) Appeal to your audience’s emotions. What keeps your audience up at night in fear? What are they secretly dreaming about? It is important that you understand your market’s emotional needs and seek to address them – ideally the benefits of your products and services (that we discussed in the previous section) will line up with their emotional needs. Don’t focus on dry details – focus on the emotional needs and desires of your audience.

4) Share stories of success. People love stories. And your customers are no different. One great way to help them understand the advantages of doing business with you is to share success stories with them. They’ll quickly substitute themselves for the individual who the story is about and will then have a clear picture of how you can help. Make sure that these stories line up with the benefits you provide and the emotional needs of your audience, as discussed above. An example is a retirement advisor sharing a story about a now-retired couple who came to him years ago in a panic. In the story, the advisor could describe how he helped them to create a plan which allowed them to achieve their goals… and now, they’re living "happily ever after" travelling the world, golfing, and spending time with their grandkids.

5) Be entertaining where appropriate. In order to hold the attention of your audience, it’s important that you’re engaging and entertaining. Platforms like social media, in particular, offer an opportunity to communicate in a very conversational, down-to-earth style. But even on your website and other marketing channels, read through your content and look for opportunities to make it more engaging. If you bore your audience, they’re not going to stick around.

6) Make your website and social media profiles visually engaging. Speaking the right "language" is about more than just words. The pictures and images that surround your content have an important role to play. If the visuals are dull and boring, there is a chance that potential customers won’t even bother to read what you have to say. Do your best to create a website and a social media presence that is visually appealing and engaging – so that your audience will stick around to hear how you can help.

If you aren’t speaking the language of your audience, they’re not going to understand you. Take some time right now to evaluate the content on your website, your posts and information on social media, and the content elsewhere in your marketing presence. Is there too much technical jargon that won’t make sense to readers? Are you appealing to their emotions and clearly communicating how you can improve their lives? Are you telling stories and keeping your audience entertained? Are your visuals engaging?

These are key questions when it comes to the strength of your marketing message. The bottom line is very simple: it doesn’t matter how technologically advanced you are, or how "cutting edge" your marketing presence… if you’re not speaking your audience’s language, they’re not going to get it. Please get in touch with me today if you’d like to learn more!

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