The importance of effective communication, in any business, simply cannot be overstated and can’t be overstated simply. Say what????
Giant Jet Ski Sale. We drove by this sign on our way up north recently and these four words made me laugh out loud. I immediately envisioned a large lake full of enormous jet skis, something large enough to keep the Jolly Green Giant afloat. Is that really what the store was offering, or were they instead conducting a sale of epic proportions, with perhaps hundreds of jet skis (regular size only) for sale? Were they selling a volume of product or a product of volume? In any business your communications clarity matters and it matters very much.
Small business entrepreneurs often don’t have the benefit of a large marketing and advertising budget or an elite advertising firm supporting them and providing great copy. You have to write it yourself. The problem for many entrepreneurs is that while they are subject matter experts (SME) in their chosen field, such extensive knowledge and expertise can prove to be an impediment when it comes to selling their product in a clear, concise and engaging way.
Entrepreneurs are often passionate about their product or service and it becomes difficult to critique your own content. To you, everything is important but to a potential client that’s simply not the case. Distill your message down to the most salient points, those that your potential client most needs to hear. If you are not sure how much is too much information think “need to know” not “nice to know.”
If you’re having trouble with this process ask someone else to read through your website and promotional materials. If not an editing professional, at least ask a friend. A person who knows nothing about your chosen profession is ideal because if you can clearly convey your message to someone with no previous knowledge of your business that’s a great start. (As long as you trust their ability to give you honest feedback that is!)
Another excellent exercise is to take a sample paragraph (perhaps the one where you attempt to explain what your product or service is) and distill that message down to just ten words. Can you get your point across in ten words or less? My guess is that you can and you should! The message will likely be much better and certainly more concise. If you offer multiple services make sure your message doesn’t sound muddled implying you don’t have a focus. You might do several things but clarity and an attention grabbing headliner are still the most important factors in drawing the reader in. Establish a ten word tagline, get your audiences attention, then you can up sell them on all your services.
This last piece of advice might sound obvious but it never ceases to amaze me how often it’s ignored: Spell check, spell check, spell check! There is nothing sloppier than reading a website riddled with spelling mistakes. I understand grammar and syntax is often challenging and particularly for newcomers, the vagaries of the English language can be frustrating. But spelling? The computer does that for you! Click on “tools,” pull down grammar and spelling, follow the bouncing yellow dot….ok, there is no bouncing dot but it’s really that simple and there is no excuse for not doing it.
And that’s all you need to know about communications. Simply stated. Statedsimply.
WRiting Right For You
“At a loss for words? I can help you find them!”
Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.