Change Your Language To Widen Your Reach

widen your reach

It’s hard enough to speak to an audience you know, whether they’re repeat customers or your competitor’s fan base. You know their typical behaviors. You (should) know what they like, don’t like, and hope to see in the future.

But what about the audience you’re desperately trying to sell but just won’t – for whatever reason – convert? The easiest way to attract them isn’t really easy at all. Your ideal customer will, naturally, evolve over time. So, when you find yourself at the crossroads of comfortable customer base and the untapped sweet spot, redefine everything about them, starting with the language they speak.

Identify subconscious behaviors.

A new market – potential customers that are significantly different from the ones you know – should be approached as completely uncharted terrain. Study them, get inside their heads, plot out where they drop off in the conversion process, and identify why.

I imagine myself as one of Marshall’s untapped customers. I love a deal and I love variety, but I hate sorting through unorganized racks, bins, and aisles. I don’t mind trying things on, but I need a clean dressing room. In short, I need an ordered shopping experience in a traditionally unordered environment.

Recently, I reluctantly went to Marshall’s to find a specific (my motivation), discounted (my allure) item with little time to spend (recipe for disaster). Expecting to become overwhelmed and walk out within 5 minutes, I surprisingly found what I needed quickly with the guidance I craved.

Make the uncomfortable comfortable.

Price isn’t always the motivation. Often, a conversion depends on a level of comfort and safety that customers crave – something brands should communicate in their messaging.

Aside from the tidier than usual set-up, Marshall’s spoke my language in the dressing room. The number tag I was given by the attendant read “3 Treats For My Closet.” I didn’t know I needed to hear that, but I did. I found myself more excited to try on my items, and confident that I found those “treats” in a sea of choices. But the clothing hooks (pun intended) hooked me. I had the option of “Possibly” and “Definitely” – two small but punchy words that, as silly as it sounds, satisfied some of that desire for an organized experience.

Reassure them every step of the way.

At Proof, we talk a lot about meeting your customer at various touchpoints. One of the most important and easily forgotten interactions where language is critical, is customer service.

As I was looking for items in Marshall’s that day, the same sales representative came up to me twice asking if she could help me find a size. That’s never happened to me in a close-out retail setting, and I won’t forget it. I was verbally reassured that if I needed help, I could ask for it. If I wasn’t satisfied, I could tell someone. And they would listen.

Obviously, I don’t think Marshall’s corporate marketing team had my profile pinned to a board in the hopes of filling every gap between my purchasing behavior and their cash register. But their language is intentional – from the verbiage beneath the dressing room hooks to the communication between an employee and a customer.

The right language can widen your reach, grow your business, and take your brand to the next level.

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