Try explaining to the average small-business leader why containerization is better than virtualization or bombarding them with industry-specific acronyms, and chances are you’ll be met with glazed eyes.
Technology enthusiasts often have a terrible habit of baffling target audiences with excessive use of jargon. From endless bullet lists detailing complex specifications to generic copy filled with hyperbolic adjectives that could be used in any context, either approach is sure to turn readers away in no time.
We live in an age when your potential customers demand an almost instantaneous answer to the question of what’s in it for them. To that end, you have an average of 3 seconds to get their attention before they turn elsewhere. That’s how long it takes to make an impression, and then you need to hold onto it. When it comes to complex technology that has major implications for non-technical audiences, that’s not always easy.
Here are some effective tips for simplifying the complex:
#1. Be Someone Your Audience Can Relate To
These days, sales speak is out and relationship-building is in. Rather than talking about your product or service from the outset, the very first thing to do is make a meaningful connection with your target audience. That’s where the page headline comes in.
Assuming your audience isn’t likely to have a high degree of technical expertise, the last thing you want to do is make your headline any more technical than it needs to be. A far more effective approach, particularly for a landing page or homepage is to start with a headline that speaks directly to your target audience’s pain points.
Starting with a question is one possibility. For example, let’s say your company sells cloud-hosted virtual desktops primarily to small business users. Rather than talking about the technology straight away, you can make a stronger connection by clearly identifying a key challenge that your prospective customers are likely to face. One of the most oft-cited benefits of cloud desktops is that they greatly reduce a company’s reliance on in-house IT resources. With that in mind, how about speaking directly to this common small-business technology challenge with a question – IT maintenance woes getting you down? Here’s how cloud desktops can help…
That’s a whole lot better than using pushy sales speak, since it makes an instant connection with your target reader.
#2. Go Easy on the Technical Jargon and Clichés
Excessive use of industry jargon, acronyms and those dreadful corporate clichés are all crutches for those who don’t know how to build meaningful relationships with clear communication and leadership-driven thinking. You simply cannot expect to motivate a non-technical audience if you’re dead set on using words and phrases that are only going to be met with confusion.
Naturally, there’ll be cases when technical or industry-specific jargon is unavoidable or even desirable. However, when communicating with non-technical audiences, you need to rein it in as much as possible and instead focus on the problem your readers want to fix and the solution you’re proposing. Furthermore, you should never assume people always understand what acronyms stand for – always spell them out when using them for the first time in an article.
Whether it’s website copy, blog posts or even lengthy and sophisticated professional business documents like whitepapers, jargon should always be used sparingly. After all, your primary goal with any marketing-related content is to build authority by using the language of leadership. That means being authentic, concise and passionate in what you’re doing. Industry buzzwords like ‘digital transformation,’ ‘disruption,’ and the horrendously bombastic ‘transformational change’ are likely to achieve the exact opposite. The problem with such words is that they often have no concrete meaning, having been hijacked by countless salespeople trying to sell rubbish to mugs.
#3. Use an Analogy to Illustrate the Benefits
So, going back to one of our previous examples, let’s say your company hosts virtual desktops and primarily targets small businesses. Specifically, you’re hoping to attract the attention of CEOs and other decision-makers in these companies, who probably don’t have a deep understanding of how the underlying technology works. For that matter, they probably don’t want to either, so the last things you want to harp on about are hypervisors, containers and VDIs.
As we’ve discussed, your potential customers want to know what’s in it for them, and that means they want to start learning about the benefits straight away. Although some concrete statistical information can go a long way, if you’re writing an explainer piece, it’s best to use an analogy. Perhaps, for example, you could compare a virtual desktop infrastructure to a building with multiple tenanted apartments as opposed to one large house with only one tenant taking up the same amount of ground space. That’s one way of spelling out a key selling point of VDIs – efficiency.
As a fan of technology and a writer of over 10 years, I enjoy helping B2B technology firms reach out to wider audiences with benefit-driven content that converts. Contact me today to let me know about your project.