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Industry Jargon is Killing Your Online Sales

by robinana on May 22, 2011

I would have thought this fact should really go without saying, sort of like an unwritten rule that everyone already knows. Recently, I’ve been stumbling upon quite a few websites that have proved the need for this blog post, so here it is. Newsflash of the week. Your potential clients do not whip out their industry jargon dictionary while reading your blog posts. Nor are they impressed when they try to wade through your jargon laden content and realize they need an Advil by the time they are done.

Bottom line here? If you are peppering your posts with speech that reads like a foreign language to your readers, you are losing money. Need an example? How about real estate websites. Most of them are jargon-fests. If you want to appeal to your potential client and win them over, do you think that talking about escrow, short sales, or private mortgage insurance as if these are a part of your reader’s  normal, everyday conversations is wise? It’s not. Many of your readers have very little knowledge of what these terms really mean, that’s why they are searching the internet…they are in search of knowledge. If you don’t provide it, someone else (insert the name of your most fiercely hated competitor) will.

Just Say No to Industry Jargon

Look, I’m no rocket scientist, but let’s take a look at the use of industry jargon on your business website by asking a few logical questions:

  • Who are you trying to reach with your website? You are trying to reach the average consumer, the potential client, or someone who is looking for more information about your products or services. With that in mind, your site should be clearly written and able to be understood by all. Rule of thumb to live by; write so a 5th grader can understand your posts.
  • How do YOU feel when you come across information beyond your understanding? Have you ever happened upon a website while researching a topic that used so many industry phrases that the entire article or post read like a foreign language? How did it make you feel? Maybe you don’t even remember because you left the site so quickly in order to find real, useful information. Well, that’s exactly what your potential clients are going to do. They’ll head right over to your competition.

So, what’s the answer? Well, for starters, take a look at this list of DOs and DON’Ts, and start handling your web content accordingly:

  • DON’T assume your customers have any understanding of your products or services.
  • DO create a glossary of terms for common industry words and phrases regularly used on your site.
  • DO create posts about common issues and misconceptions in the industry.  Doing so will make it easier to answer future questions and to create additional, useful content for your business blog or website.
  • DO arrange your website in a logical order prominently featuring the most popular posts.

That should be enough to get you started in the right direction. Remember…Write for the reader.

One of my favorite, yet most challenging clients, is a highly intelligent and well known financial planner. He’s quite revolutionary in his mission to expose the hidden agenda of many unscrupulous  investment schemes. I write his weekly blog posts and am also working on his first book. At first, this was rather intimidating to me. How could I write for the financial investment crowd without being an expert myself? Easy…Take his knowledge and information (with this client I use his radio broadcasts to compile my facts) and turn them into posts that even my teenagers can understand. That’s what people want. That’s why they are reading.

Write each post with the goal to teach your readers something new. Give them direction. Give them something they can immediately apply in the real world, but leave out the confusing phrases.

My biggest compliment from this particular client actually came in an email from his assistant. Here’s what it said:

Hi Robin, read your recent article.  I am not from a financial background, but the way everything is explained makes total sense to a layman”

That, my friend, is web content success.

For more information on reaching your target audience, continue to read my blog, or better yet, hire me to write your SEO content for you. Your readers will thank you.

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