Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat – grammar is awesome. Spelling things correctly is key. But, sometimes the ‘proper’ way to say things simply won’t cut it with your audience.
Once again, it all comes down to knowing your audience. If using ‘proper English’ is going to bore your reader to tears – mix things up!
Here are a few examples to show you what we mean.
Do any of these sound familiar?
To Whom It May Concern:
Now, if that was the email header in your most recent email marketing campaign, it better have been to a database of straight-laced lawyers aged 50+.
Gauge your audience and your product. I recently received an email from a marketing agency titled – ‘popcorn or caramel sauce?’. Did I open it? Heck yes I did – I had to know what on earth would they be saying in the rest of that email with an opening like that!
Capitalising every word in a sentence isn’t exactly the ‘correct’ way to do things either, but if that sentence is a header or you want it to stand out – Keep Your Reader’s Attention – it’s going to make people take more notice than – Keep your readers attention.
The good old bullet point list. Let’s be real, your reader doesn’t know when each point needs a comma or a semi colon, so it can be better to leave them off altogether. This helps your list look cleaner and makes your points more easily readable – so it’s more likely it will grab (and keep) attention.
Website Content / Copywriting in general:
Check your language – does it match the audience you want to talk to? Using slang, colloquialisms, any more ‘casual’ language can help people pay more attention to what you say – because you sound like them. No one wants to be preached to by someone who sounds boring and out of touch, if your sales pitch sounds like a robot wrote it, it’s time for a change. Even Siri makes jokes. The point of any content you write is to connect with your target audience. Make sure your language isn’t getting in the way of that goal.
So many businesses we work with stress that they want to sound professional and are a little scared to loosen up their language as they think they will risk losing that ‘professional’ perception.
We beg to differ. You can absolutely remain professional while still showing a little human side, simply by understanding your audience.
- Ask questions that show you understand where they are coming from – Are you tired all the time? Wish you could wake up feeling amazing?
- Use case studies from people you have worked with and showcase the difference your service made to them – Jenny used to push snooze 10 times – now she’s out of bed on the first beep.
- Relax a little on your Team Profiles and include their pet’s name or favourite cafe.
- Exchange some of the formal words in your copy with something a little more casual – To Whom It May Concern = Can we help you greet the day with a smile? / or for something more fun – Hey Sleeping Beauty – Does it take more than a kiss to wake you?
Copy Tip – How often do you use the word ‘you’ in your copy? If it’s all about your service, product, business etc. and never focused on your reader – they’ll zone out pretty quick.
There are plenty of ways you can add that little human touch to your copy and become, no less professional, just a little more approachable.
So, decide who you want to talk to with your marketing and copywriting, check if the language you are using currently is the right one for that audience and adjust accordingly.
…and if that English Professor inside you raises his perfectly coiffured head, ask him if he really belongs here.
Not sure if your tone and language fits your audience? Give one of our copywriters a call – our internal English Professors only come when called!