If you’re in business, you need to be a great communicator. And if you use conversational text messaging as a primary tool, you need to be an effective writer. Otherwise, how will your customers know about new products, expanded services or special prices?
You don’t have to be a professional writer to be effective, and we’d like to share 5 tips that can help hone your writing skills:
Understand your audience and their challenges. Before you write, think about what makes your recipients special. What common traits do they share? Is it their industry, their job responsibilities, their goals or their interests? For example, you might segment your audience by age. A 64-year-old person would have much more interest in information about Medicare than someone in their 20s.
You might consider dividing your total audience into smaller groups. Your customer relationship management system can help you sort recipients and make it easier to target your messages.
You will want to focus on how your product or service can help solve the challenges your audience faces. Your audience doesn’t care about your new technology or the great new system you’ve adopted – unless it has a direct benefit for them. Answer your customer’s question, “What’s in it for me?”
Because you’ve already sorted your audience by their common traits, you know that everyone on your send list has similar challenges. With that understanding, you’re ready to communicate with them.
Distill the message.
With a standard text message, you only have 160 characters to make your case. Even with longer MMS messages, you don’t have room for a lengthy discussion. Take a few minutes before you start writing and think about exactly what you want to convey.
If you prefer a visual exercise, write down everything you think you want to say. Don’t worry about writing too much; just get it down. Once you have all the information in front of you, start to edit. Keep what’s most important. Cut out the extra words. Get the info in the right order. Then trim the message to fit your word count.
Make sure you’ve included basic information – who, what, where, when and why. Start with what’s most important for your audience, not necessarily what’s most important for you or your company. Write from your customer’s point of view.
Throw away jargon, buzzwords & clichés.
This tip is also based on knowing your audience. If they’re just getting to know your company or are new to your industry, don’t confuse them with acronyms. Make it easy for new customers to understand what you do and what you offer.
Also, as a rule, avoid professional buzzwords. You don’t want the language in your message to make it difficult for your audience to understand. Of course, you’ll also want to consider the opposite if you’re sending messages to seasoned professionals. For example, you might not choose to use the term “heart attack” if your audience regularly calls it by a more technical name.
And finally, avoid clichés like the plague. They aren’t helpful and they’re as boring as watching paint dry.
Consider your tone.
Because you know your audience and you’re focusing on the things they have in common, you can vary your tone depending on the message. Is your audience ready for a little humor or a light tone? Is it okay to be provocative? Or are you sending messages from an authority and need a formal tone? Your message and your knowledge about your audience will dictate what tone you take but be intentional about choosing it.
One caveat – Be careful with off-color language. It might work well with some audiences, but it can ruin your appeal if you use it inappropriately.
Proofread – then send.
Research has shown that our brains sometimes work against us by being too efficient. Here’s how: If you’ve been working on a text for a while, your brain will frequently skim over misspelled or missing words. It fills in the blanks for you. Your brain helps you understand what you’re reading, but it doesn’t necessarily help you find typos.
So fight back. Take a break before you hit send. Let your brain settle. Then come back to your message. If there is a typo, you’ll be more likely to see it. If you have available colleagues, let them read the message. A fresh pair of eyes can help find mistakes. Many communications teams make text reviews part of their culture, and everything is read by at least two people.
It’s a competitive world and if you can help solve your customers’ problems, you earn an amazing competitive advantage. And if you communicate effectively using a channel your customers prefer, you can build relationships that will extend far beyond a single sale.
Being authentic in all your customer interactions is increasingly important in today’s business world. Staying in touch has become a requirement. We hope these tips will help you tackle writing tasks more effectively. SMS-Magic can help you reach out to applicants faster and with better results.
We offer a free trial so that you can get a feel for our product. If you’re as pleased as we think you will be, you can choose the level of service that’s best for your company.
Contact us to set up a demo or to start your free trial. Let us show you how you can engage applicants in new ways!