Let’s get one thing straight: buyers aren’t some mythical creature you’re trying to attract with the right spells. Sure, the right marketing can funnel them to your website, but if you don’t treat them like humans instead of a statistic you’re not going to be very successful.
First and foremost, buyers are people – just like you and me. If they start feeling like they’re trying to decode a law brief or a building manual, you’re going to have some trouble.
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled our top tips for talking to your buyers like people.
Know Your Buyers
Before you can connect with your audience, you need to know who they are. There’s going to be a big difference in communication between a twentysomething millennial versus a baby boomer. Anyone with grandchildren (or grandparents) can tell you that.
To get started, ask yourself these questions about your target market:
- What age bracket do they fall in? Different age brackets are likely to consume media in different ways. On a smartphone, you’ll want to keep sentences short and easy to scroll through.
- What’s their lifestyle? If they’re always on the go, you need to make your information quick and easy to digest.
- How comfortable are they with technology? The less comfortable they are, the easier you want to make your online posts to read.
- What’s their education level? This will help narrow down what word choices and examples to use.
- What media do they use most often? A Twitter post will be worded vastly different than a long-form blog post.
Once you have these questions answered, you can craft a “buyer persona” for your audience. When you write your copy, pretend you’re writing directly to this person – now that you know their needs and wants, you can cater directly to them.
Cut the Jargon
It can be so tempting to throw in a bunch of technical terms to make yourself sound knowledgeable. The problem here is that most people won’t know what they mean, and will walk away more confused than persuaded.
Ever notice how, in general, you prefer things that are easy to break down and consume? That feeling you have is actually called cognitive fluency – and it has a big impact on how customers consume.
Boiled down, cognitive fluency just describes how comfortable a person is with the mental task set before them. If your website or blog posts use a lot of jargon, that person is going to need a high fluency to comfortably read it, and you’ll scare off people with a lower fluency level.
The average homebuyer is going to have a pretty low cognitive fluency – most of them just want it explained in the simplest terms. They’re looking for help, not a language lesson. If it’s truly the best word to describe it, definitely throw it in there – but make sure you’re ready with a translation, or else don’t use it at all.
If your customers don’t feel like they can connect with you, you’re already in trouble. Buyers want to buy from someone they can trust, someone who gives them a positive feeling when they communicate. After all, would you buy from someone who keeps talking down to you?
There are a few ways you can make yourself more relatable:
- Self-deprecation. Use this one sparingly – you don’t want to make fun of yourself all the time, or you’ll come off flighty and unprofessional. An occasional joke thrown in, however, can lighten whatever you’re writing about.
- Use common experiences. You might have different overall life experiences than members of your audience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find at least one thing in common! If you live in the same area, this could be a comment on traffic (“We promise our homebuilding experience is easier than dealing with the 405”) or even a recent event that the whole area would have heard about.
- Don’t be afraid to use the word “you.” This invites the reader in, making it seem like you’re having a personal conversation instead of reading a corporate memo. If you’ve noticed, I’ve been doing that this whole time.
Keep It Simple
Nothing turns people off more than a dense brick wall of text. Even if it’s simply worded, it can still intimidate even the most dedicated of readers.
Instead, keep your paragraphs short and sweet – otherwise, you’ll come off sounding like a corporate drone. Give your reader time to breathe and focus on the information you’re wanting them to take in.
On a more nitpicky note, make sure to use the “active” voice as much as possible. The “passive” voice reads too awkward and stilted, not how you want to come off at all. Here’s an example:
- Active: Our team guides you every step of the way.
- Passive: Our team will be guiding you every step of the way.
See the difference? The active voice subtly tells the reader you’re taking action – that you’re in charge of their question or issue. The passive voice, on the other hand, reads as more unconcerned.
Write How You Talk
Odds are you’re already pretty conversational when talking with customers. If you can translate that to your writing, you’re golden!
When you’re writing, try not to focus on the fact you’re writing for a website, blog, or marketing e-mail. Try addressing it to a friend – as if you’re writing them an explanation on whatever topic you’ve chosen. Pick someone unfamiliar with your industry. Would they follow the conversation, or are they telling you to slow it down?
An easy way to tell if your writing is conversational enough is to read it out loud. Hearing the words spoken will highlight parts that sound funky. If you have any awkward transitions, you’ll pick up on those way easier when reading it out loud.
Bonus points if one of your friends is willing to read it out loud and provide feedback. Maybe reward them with a cupcake as a thank you.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It might seem hard at first, but we promise it gets better with practice. You’ll never improve at something unless you keep chipping away at it – and in this case, the ultimate reward is clinching that sale.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll connect with your customers on a whole new level and make friends in the process.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the BuilderIQ team! We are happy to craft a content strategy or even take over blogging for you.