Here is a real-life conversation we all can learn from.
Customer,” What do you chare for car decoration.”
The vendor shows a photo of a car with 3 bouquet and other accessories. He said,” Rs..2400 for 3 bouquet decoration.”
Customer asked,” With other accessories?
Vendor, “ Yes as shown in the picture. Rs.800 per bouquet.”
Customer asked,” So Rs.1600/- for 2 bouquet and accessories?”
Vendor,” No accessories extra.”
The customer was confused and he walked away.
Now read the following para from a company home page. This is about their newly launched initiatives.
At the Digital Labs of —— general insurance, whiz kids and techno mavens are bringing the next generation of general insurance to you very soon. When buying general insurance, you often treat it like the unwanted relative on holidays – but that is about to change. We’re bringing together new-age algorithms and technology, decades worth of experience, a pulse of what insurance you really need and an aggressive need to make insurance fun. What you’ll see with general insurance — in general — are bloated plans with add-on covers you don’t need, a sense of confusion, and a drab buying journey that’s only interested in getting you to buy. But is insurance that simple—or is it being rushed to make a sale? At —– General Insurance we think otherwise. Insurance can be a little complex and that’s okay—we’ll demystify it for you. All we need is your attention for a few minutes.
(Gunning Fox index of the above para is 15.6, ideally, it should be between 8-12 for ease of reading. Higher the score complex it is to understand)
What do you make of the above long paragraph with long sentences? Do you think the above para clearly conveys what the company wants to convey? The plain reading indicates even the company does not know what they want to convey.
A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. William Strunk and E.B. White
Here is another website example.
Presenting ____________, a pure term insurance plan that provides financial protection to your family and offers you the flexibility to choose the plan that suits your need. You may opt to receive either a Lump Sum benefit on Death or Lump Sum benefit on Death and Monthly Income for the next 10 years while also enjoying the flexibility to enhance your life cover.
2 long sentences in 5 lines.
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There are plenty of websites which fail on reader’s experience criteria.
The website and blog are not the platforms to demonstrate your language mastery. But as legendary David Ogilvy had said,” When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”
Even if your aggressive digital marketing efforts bring visitors to the site, confusing communication nullifies the efforts.
Confusing and cold communication takes away your potential customer from you. This is even true in the online world where your communication stands without human support. It has to stand independently and must succeed on brevity and clarity counts.
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Customer Experience is now in vogue and every company is focussing on customer experience. But customer experience starts before target audience become a customer. Target Audience experience starts when they visit the website/blog and read marketing materials.
Here is an example of Evernote.
Everything in Evernote instantly syncs across any computer or phone you use. Start working on one device and continue on another without ever missing a beat.
Every product of your company should have such short and crisp communication about what it does for the target audience.
“Every product has a unique personality and it is your job to find it.” Joe Sugarman
Here is an example of Waterfield Bags mission statement. This is believable and speaks about the company culture.
You won’t find corporate intrigue, shareholder revolt, or venture capital drama at our modest headquarters. Instead, you will find pot-luck lunches, group outings, and the occasional employee celebration.
Gary Waterfield started the company in 1998 with these principles which still guide us today:
Make products you can be proud of
Treat people with respect
Exercise kindness—we’re all human
Aside from leading the design process, Gary often jumps in to answer customer e-mails, sharpen the leather splitter, or fix the copy machine.
This is simple, different yet believable language.
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Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid. H.W. Fowler
The key role of websites and blogs is to communicate with visitors.
Interested to buy immediately
Exploring buying options
Exploring whether to buy
Landed on the site by searching some information
Landed by accident
Your communication shall inspire all the 6 categories of visitors. The only thing that inspires all the 6 categories is your simple and clear target audience focussed communication.
Usually, websites and blogs fail in their key role due to several reasons.
Reasons website copy fails:
Lack of Clarity
Long Sentences & Long Paragraphs
Only Product specific communication
No target audience specific communication
Fails in unique and interesting copy
Many websites and blog posts are full of confusing, complicated and self-focussed language. Better UI / UX are necessary ingredients of the online presence but they are not sufficient. What makes the online presence effective is better language.
“Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.” Matthew Arnold
The language you use in your website copy and blog posts are extremely crucial in making the visitors interested in the company and its products.
Your best of products and services may fail to get the attention of the target audience if the language you use is complicated and confusing.
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