What A Hot Water Bottle Taught Me About Marketing

In today’s episode, I’m sharing what a hot water bottle taught me about marketing.  There are certain things you need to consider before you start talking to your audience.
Hot Water Bottle
Have you ever talked to someone and they just have no idea what you’re talking about?! Often with our families or with friends we can have a whole new language of our own, or is that just in our house?! We do have some odd names for things.

I was chatting to my bestie recently and told her that I was using my ‘Judy’ to help my back. She said, ‘What on earth’s a Judy?’ ‘It’s a hot water bottle’, I replied. ‘Have you not heard of it being called that before? She said, ‘No, never’. It’s something that my family have always called it, my Mum and her Mum before her. Now I don’t know if it’s an Irish thing or if it’s just something that’s been passed down through the years but it’s always been a ‘Judy’ to me.

This really got me thinking about some of the marketing messages we put out there.

When talking to our audience we need to speak in a language that our ideal client understands

If we think there’s any way that someone might not understand what we mean then we need to clarify it. If you want to be visible in your business then you need to make sure that your messages are being received in the way you intend them.

I remember when I used to work in HR there were so many acronyms being bandied around – it drove me nuts. When communicating with people and writing policies it was important to remove any ambiguity from what was being said.

Just because you understand what something means doesn’t mean everyone will

 If you’re not sure how something will land test it out. You could use the words at a networking meeting, for example, run them by a friend or just simply notice when someone looks confused or asks what you mean. It’s great when people do comment as it helps you understand where you need to develop your topic, but remember not everyone will comment so if you’re using possibly unfamiliar terms qualify them where you can.

If you’re using acronyms then just expand on them so that people know what you mean. We live in a fast-paced world now where we use a lot of shortened words or phrases to sum things up, which is fine if the other person understands those terms. If they don’t it’s your job to help them to understand them. Clarity is key.

If you’re working with an international client base then remember that there may also be differences in some of the terminology used from one country to another so that might need quantifying too.

Make it easier on yourself – ditch the jargon in your marketing messages

Keep It Simple Sweetie

I was recently working with a client that had pulled together a newsletter and works in an area that not everyone is familiar with. She has two types of potential ideal clients, those exploring a new area and those that already understand some of the terminology that she uses. Her message was great for those that already had the knowledge and understanding, but she was missing out a huge chunk of people by not being clear on some of the terms she was using. To her they were almost second nature, but not necessarily to someone new to that arena.

By her spending a bit more time expanding on what she meant by something she started educating those that are new to her chosen niche. This had the added value of opening up more opportunity for people to work with her.

If people have to keep checking what you mean by something

then they might choose not to work with you at all

How lovely to be able to help them grow by teaching them something new too. You may well be the first person that introduces them to something completely unfamiliar to them.

Another example of this is my rebranding around being a Visibility Coach. Online it’s a term that’s mentioned quite a bit. There are lots of people online saying that you need to be more visible if you want to launch/grow your business. Offline though people aren’t so familiar with the term so it needs a little bit of explanation.

How clear is your message?

It’s absolutely fine to have a title or business that needs a bit of explaining, it can even be a conversation starter. If you need to explain it are you explaining it clearly to those people that need to hear it?

Obviously all of your messages should be tailored to your ideal clients and that way you’ll know you’re talking to your ‘tribe’ as it were. You don’t need to try and come across all professional, using fancy terminology (unless of course your ideal client only understands that fancy terminology) Just be you and clear with your message.

You don’t want to confuse them, you want them to feel as though you’re a good fit, if they don’t they may never end up working with you. Make it easy for them to understand who you are, what you offer and how you can help. It’s something I’m always working on, as it’s easy to think you’re being very clear, but where you’re so close to your business sometimes you completely miss something totally obvious to others!

I’ve been playing with a little brain training app called Elevate which has lots of games where you have to reduce the number of words to make your message more effective, it’s amazing how we can add in lots of unnecessary words. Worth checking out if you’re an App Queen like me!

Call to Action: So your action for this week is to check in with yourself where you might need to get even clearer with your messages. A good test is to ask whether a 10-year-old would understand what you’re saying. If they would then you’re on the right track as you’ve kept your message clear and simple.

In general, this still goes back to that good old niching thing that I’m always banging on about. When you are really clear on who your ideal client is your messages will be a lot clearer.

Vague is so last year dahlinks! Keep your marketing messages super clear

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