How To Speak Your Customers’ Language So They Love Your Business
Many people talk about brand voice and making it distinct from the other content out there.
What isn’t mentioned as much is how to speak your customers’ language and build up genuine connectivity with them without sounding like a try-hard.
Relatable content is a powerful way to bring amazing people to your business.
But there’s a balancing act to it, because the last thing you want is to sound fake. Fake is bad for everyone involved.
Fake burns a reader’s ability to trust what you write.
So how do you get on that level with your customers so that you don’t sound fake?
It takes good research, a well-defined business brand voice, and a transparency in how you employ that language for your readers.
Authenticity and trust are partners in good content writing. All of the people I follow or subscribe to have both of these in spades.
They all hold down a distinct voice and speak authentically using their readers’ language on the topics/problems they are talking about.
Each writer uses their experience, detailed research and their unique perspective to unpack the areas of interest for their target audience.
For example, Ramsay Taplin explores the realm of business blogging, the issues turning up and his solutions for them.
His blog post headlines use keywords or phrases that are being used and discussed by both aspiring and established bloggers; everything from image use to web hosting recommendations.
He breaks down any jargon or unusual terms so that his audience will not have to re-read his solutions.
The content he produces is collaborative in its nature, and looks to bridge any gap between his content and the blogging audience.
So what’s the best way to speak your customers’ language whilst keeping your voice consistent?
The balance is the purpose of the content and the language chosen to present it.
As a copywriter, I know different words produce different emotional responses. I also understand what can trigger action.
A good copywriter not only nails down your tone of voice, but identifies how to use your readers’ language to connect with them.
Pitching it perfectly is hard to master, yet very doable.
With time and practice, anyone can do this, but what is needed to make it work successfully?
Know who you’re speaking to
I’ve discussed why buyer personas are a big deal in this blog post for Forj Marketing, and how creating detailed customer backgrounds, motivations and desires helps you understand who you’re targeting, not just with your content but your business too.
Having these personas makes finding their real counterparts a lot easier; though they aren’t set in stone and will need tweaking as you go along.
When they’re defined properly, you can develop good, incisive and helpful content and get better as you go along.
What makes up a good persona?
Segments such as gender, age, profession, interests, personality traits, income, drives and motivations each help answer how to approach your content creation with your target market in mind.
Once you’ve done your persona research, then you should know what platforms they use online.
Get down and dirty
Where do they hang out to talk? What digital communities are your audience conversing on?
Go to where they are and speak up.
Where are they talking online? Look at Reddit, Quora, Instagram, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn groups and Twitter.
People converse in different ways on different platforms.
Take Reddit, for example, a space where conversations spill out from thread to thread, and it can be both helpful as well as abrasive.
Reddit is certainly a well-known platform for small businesses and start-ups to ask questions and receive pretty good answers.
Quora is a database of questions that any user can respond to. Again, the quality of advice and the variety of users does set it apart from other social media platforms.
Using its search bar, you can type in relevant keywords to track down a topic or publish a question you want an answer to.
It’s a fantastic way to understand the language and terminology used.
Facebook Business Groups can be an awesome place to have good conversations over specific topics.
The more fertile discussions happen in closed groups, and you need to become an approved member of them.
The reason they’re better is because the noise is blocked out that can occur on many open groups, and the people in the closed spaces are keen to really help each other out.
If your target audience is freelancers or small business owners, an excellent small business resource, as well as rewarding forum discussions, can be found at flyingsolo.com.au.
The forums, while not fast paced, are good places to find answers from other people in a similar space. And their guest posts are a great source of information too.
And finally to Twitter, the most rewarding and frustrating social media platform to talk with interesting people.
Because it’s so open, whatever conversation you get into with someone on Twitter, every other user can see it (unless you do a direct message, and you need a connection before that happens).
Twitter itself has only 328 million users; compare that with Instagram’s 700 million or Facebook’s 1.94 billion users, and the community is big but not gigantic.
But the speed to connect and converse on Twitter wins hands down over almost all other social media networks. This speed means conversations can happen quickly, and relationships are established easily.
A word of warning though: Twitter’s efficiency of response can attract some people who just want to crash and burn everything down.
When that happens, nip it in the bud and block them (or report it if it’s abusive).
Just make a note: giving a microphone to millions of people has brought out both the best and the worst of humanity into the spotlight.
Good content marketing for small business owners has to gradually build rapport with readers.
There’s never a quick-fire win in this game—you establish the relationships, the social proof and the potency of your content, then you take the next step up.
Making your words and phrases connect requires being genuine.
A transparent conversation drives better conversions by establishing a trust that they’re dealing with a real person, not an appearance of one. Human-to-human interaction is what business, especially small business, is about.
We’ve all read content that feels disingenuous and a voice that rings hollow, and we’ve all had enough of it.
When I discussed brand voice and personality, I mentioned individualism and being unique through the content you produce as being a primary goal.
This can vary from business to business, even writer to writer, and affects how content engages audiences.
My tip: don’t overload your language choices.
While I won’t point out some content that borders (or crosses) the impostor threshold, we’ve all come across articles where the writer’s voice tries to sound like an authority, yet the alarm bells go off.
You want to bring the language into what you write and keep your perspective when discussing your target audience’s situation.
An outsider who can shed light on a topic that is close to a community can break through communication barriers. The idea is to be honest on where you’re coming from.
Trust is a funny thing to nail down with new people. Rarely does anyone let down their guard and put their faith in a person or business without some specific, and very idiosyncratic, boxes being ticked.
This takes time and consistency.
Sure, if there’s social proof from friends, family and other influencers, your trust factor can grow faster, to a bigger audience.
But a solid relationship through content marketing is a gradual process.
It doesn’t happen overnight for many people or businesses, yet the quality of the audience you build through your content can pay dividends over the course of your business life.
And the type of language you employ will dictate how your audience trusts what you say.
If you get this skill right, without smothering your own business voice, then the quality of the people you want to help, as well as do business with, will improve dramatically.
This will depend on your target audience, but in content writing and marketing, keeping things informal and relatable is paramount to making you worth a reader’s time.
Being inclusive, in my eyes, means giving a lot more than you ask for.
The language you use should be inclusive and look to make a partnership with your target reader.
For example, Triphackr could be just another travel lifestyle blog blowing smoke up its own bum about how great it is.
Guess what? It does that but in the most collaborative way.
Created by Clint Johnston, Triphackr’s content on travel hacking (their term) is friendly and inviting.
He uses language to bring his readers (professionals looking for unique travel tips) on board his global travels and lays out easy to scan content on creating better experiences whilst on the road.
Triphackr stands above the other travel blog because of its warm and honest voice fused with that known and relatable language of his target market.
Yes, persuasion and power words are fine, but they do not hold a candle to authenticity and helpfulness.
Copy and marketing can perform the dark arts of manipulation, although they are not the endgame of business growth (many would argue otherwise).
A fantastic customer base with consistent growth through good content is the mission I hold up high.
To finish up
Speaking your customers’ language is being with them on an equal level when they read your content.
You can have confidence in what you write, but inclusiveness in working out solutions together is the goal of great content.
When you’re genuine and honest in your use of language, especially your target audience’s, it empowers your content.
You become not only a problem solver but a partner in helping them achieve what they want.
Finding the time or staff with good writing skills to make amazing content consistently is a challenge. Why not solve it now and stop your worries? Contact me here and make your business writing something brilliant.