Particularly in the tech field, it can be easy to get lost in the labyrinthine details of what your product does and how it works. However, the complex details and technical jargon aren’t for everyone. If it takes 15+ minutes to get through what your company does and why, you’re bound to lose some of your audience along on the way. Even worse, you run the risk of your competitors pitching and demoing relatable, clear content and siphoning away potential customers.
So, what’s a business owner to do?
“There may be specific industry terms around certifications, or compliance that you have to mention to get in the consideration set with a customer,” Harrell said. “But, don’t confuse those proof points with your core message. You shouldn’t have to use jargon to describe what it is you actually do.”
Whether your story needs a little refinement or a total overhaul, here are four tips that lead you out of jargon jungle and put your message on the map.
Tell a Story
The reality is that a lot of technology companies are scared of having a personality. They confuse being interesting with being controversial. You shouldn’t try to dazzle customers with BS and buzzwords.
Instead, tell a story. Use examples and anecdotes to bring things to life. Be yourself and talk like a real person. The best messaging is engaging and authentic. It reflects the essence of the company in a concrete and meaningful way.
I think the narrative arc is usually the same in any sales conversion — it follows a consistent flow regardless of medium.
- Say what it is you actually do in the simplest way possible.
- Give people a reason to care, or pay attention. Open their eyes.
- Describe how you’re solving the problem they have.
- Prove that you’re legitimate and can do what you say.
- Tell them what they should do next if they want to move forward.
If you nail the story you’re trying to tell, then the medium doesn’t really matter. It can come to life in a unique way no matter what the execution.
Aim for Clarity and Meaning
Strive for clarity and meaning first and foremost. Don’t try to invent new industry terms. Avoid jargon whenever possible.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. The way you describe what you do is the start to one of the most important conversations your company has. It’s a one-on-one talk with a potential customer so you might as well make it worth your time, and theirs.
Avoid Jargon’s Counterpart: PR Fluff
PR fluff is just another form of jargon. It’s replacing technical terms with meaningless buzzwords.
If you catch yourself using the same boring laundry list of ultra-generic product benefits that your competitors use, you have a problem. Things like: “increased ROI”, “lowered cost”, “lowered support burden”, “greater flexibility”, are abstract and without meaning or context. Always seek to make abstract ideas more concrete whenever possible. Don’t confuse buzzwords for meaning.
Test Your Messaging
I think most people desire clarity and want their messaging to be easy to understand. But if you’re skeptical, then the simplest way is to test and see what performs better. Create two landing pages: one full of jargon; the other with messaging boiled down to its most meaningful essence. Then see which gets the best results.