When working with complex business in complex segments, it’s natural for communications to be complicated. It is therefore essential to make them simpler.
Simpler messaging is easier to convey in bursts and across various messaging mediums. It is easier for sales people to quickly absorb and rely on.
Too many words
Social media and the rise of mobile experiences have done us all huge favor. It has created a format where we can’t use all those words we’ve become accustomed to.
Sentence fragments. They are your friends. They punctuate. They free yourself from journalistic standards and invite you to communicate like a person.
If you’re wordy, it can take some practice to tell your story with brevity. A fun and helpful tool you can try is the Hemingway editor.
It helps you identify (and KILL) your use of passive voice. It helps you determine which sentences are hard to read and which phrases have simpler alternatives. It encourages you to eliminate adverbs that do nothing to add to comprehension.
Years ago Steve Cosmopulos of Hill Holiday did an experiment for clients trying to say too much. You can read about it here. What happens to a frying pan when you slam it down on a bed of nails? What happens when you slam it down on a single nail? Many nails make a dent, one breaks through. This is a beautiful illustration of simplicity and singularity breaking through with power.
Too much context
The context important to your marketing message is the stuff that helps someone believe your credibility and understand your value.
Context you can provide that creates momentum or gets decision makers over inertia is great.
Make sure the context you provide is for the benefit of the audience and not your ego.
Not enough audience perspective
Which is a perfect segue to audience. Don’t write for all audiences. Don’t tell a single audience everything of importance to all audiences. When you talk to everyone, you talk to no one with a compelling voice (another application of the Hill Holiday example.)
Segment and flight your messages in ways that appeal to a specific target. Move that audience along the consideration path with context that aids their decision.
Get some third-party perspective
One of the best ways to get out of your own head is to engage an agency. Third parties can often see more easily the unesseccary parts of a message. They can get out of your shoes and into the shoes of the customer more quickly.
And if you love your words and think this is just about style, it’s not. It’s about speed.
For proof you can check out a script timer. If your value statement is 30 words, it takes 10 seconds to read. Since we’re dealing with the world where you have 2 to 3 seconds to hook someone, you need 8 to 10 words.
When you can say why you’re special in 8 to 10 words in the context of your audience, you’re golden.