When you look at a zebra you don’t think of camouflage, do you?
There stands the zebra with those incredibly contrasting stripes, and it seems to stand out like a sore thumb.
That’s not the way predators see the zebra.
Those stripes that we think are so conspicuous are extremely hard for predators to spot. Human eyes are exceptionally good at seeing detail in daylight. However, their main predators, lions and hyenas, have eyes with a far poorer resolution by day. In studies done by the University of Calgary, the zebra stripes could only be seen by predators relatively close up. This means that what seems more than obvious to us is almost entirely camouflaged.
Our marketing message appears to have a similar camouflage.
If you’re a freelancer pitching for a project, you’re pretty clear about what you stand for, and what you can do. The moment you have to explain your point of difference to a client, your message falls into a camouflage-trap. You use a tagline or just about any line that doesn’t cause the client to sit up and take notice. And you know what’s worse? Imagine you’re just one of many suppliers pitching for the same project, there’s a pretty good chance your message is going to get lost in the jargon.
So where do you find non-jargony language?
The lines you put on your website or in your sales pitch are almost always going to be jargon-based. We can’t help ourselves. When faced with the prospect of having to write what we do, we slip into lines like ’we create functional, tightly integrated software solutions that are fundamental to business success’. And yet, there’s jargon-free language waiting for you, if only you know where to look for it. Here is a hint: it’s right there in your testimonials.
Let’s take a look at some testimonials.
At Psychotactics we do a podcast called the “Three Month Vacation,” so named because we take three months off every year (without losing revenue). Let’s say we wanted to find out the real reason why clients choose us instead of the competition. Now, some testimonials are better than others, but they all give you an idea of why the client is making a choice, why they’re opting to listen to this particular podcast when there are tens of thousands of podcasts to listen to. Let’s look at one of the testimonials and see how we can use it to improve our own messaging.
“He writes and creates his materials for people who’ve already been through the merry go round of marketing materials.”
See the problem?
The client has clearly been around the block many times and is sick of the blah, blah. They’re looking for someone who cuts through the clutter, but you can notice how they don’t use terms like “cuts through the clutter”. Instead, they use far superior analogies like “been through the merry go round”. What this message does is more than put words on paper. It brings forth an emotion—an emotion only a client could express. They feel the frustration of having to find actionable material, and they’re sick of running into dead ends. They’re tired of spending time and money. You can feel the angst in just a single line.
Or let’s look for client language in another testimonial
“What I loved about this book was that there were “easy” pieces I could implement right away because I was on a short timeline, and then there are more involved (and more effective) pieces that I can add into the process for the next go around.”
Notice how the client even highlighted the point “easy pieces” and then talked about the short timeline? When the next client reads or hears the very same words, they’ll be concerned about their short timeline as well. And they’ll want the solution made of easy pieces that they can implement.
But what if you have a new product or service?
No matter how long you’ve been in business, you’re always going to have a new product or service launch, or you may be new in the business. What do you do then? Where are you going to get your testimonials from? The way to solve this problem is to go and borrow the testimonial content and use it to fashion your marketing message. No one is saying that you should copy someone else’s testimonials. Instead, what you’re doing is seeing what clients want and what language they use to describe the product or service they would like to have.
So when you look at the testimonials above, they’re for a podcast and a book on Psychotactics, but you could use the gist of the wording if you were a website designer, for instance. Your messages would look like this:
- Message 1: We build websites for clients who are sick and tired of going on the merry go round of website developers.
- Message 2: We build websites for clients on a short timeline and who need “easy pieces” to implement right away.
See? You don’t even need your own testimonials, because the language is what you’re borrowing to get an emotion across.
Special Free Goodie: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t
Most of us don’t use emotions in our messaging
All we use is a bunch of terms that are cold and sterile. And these words mean nothing to clients. They’re camouflaged in a sea of jargon, and it prevents us from standing out in the marketplace.
Avoid the camouflaged message. Find a standout message in testimonials, today!