I’m certainly guilty of falling into the temptation of littering my writing with clichés. From my regular perusals of technology company websites I can see others fall into this trap too. There are just so many powerful, flexible one-stop shops in the B2B marketplace, but I’m often no wiser as to what they actually do! Let’s consider a few of the biggest cliché traps we all fall into, and let me offer you some possible escape routes too.
Plain ol’ corporate gobbledegook
Trap: The world’s most flexible and innovative software solution
So, you’re reading through some technology company’s website and all you can glean through the haze of the corporate jargon is that the company claims that their product is the greatest. Of course they do!
But what you really want to know is, firstly, what the product does, and, secondly, how it differs from anything else on the market. If you are Apple , you might get away with a sprinkling of unsubstantiated superlatives, , but the rest of us need to stateclearly what we believe we do best. To gain maximum understanding, we need to write in the way we might explain it to someone we’d just met who had asked ‘so what does your company do?’. .
Escape route: Online research software that promotes your creativity
Features dressed up as benefits
Trap: Gain the power and flexibility you need to engage customers
Most people in sales or marketing know now that if you talk about software or services, you need to major on the benefits, not the features. This example is an attempt at writing a benefit, but in truth few people are saying to themselves what they really need is some power and flexibility, but many will be thinking that they need to engage the right customers – the ones that have a need and money to spend. So, always put yourself in the shoes the customer or prospect and write what is going to have the most impact. Focus on the actual benefits.
Escape route: Use our software to engage with the right customers
Claims that are vague platitudes
Trap: We go the extra mile
If you catch yourself writing vague platitudes such as ‘one-stop shop’, ‘easy to use’, ‘cutting edge’ or the dreaded ‘we go the extra mile’…. it’s time for a rewrite. Don’t simply voice an aspiration that any company is likely to share.Be more precise. Essentially, you need to explain exactly what it is that is different and better from your competitors. It might be as simple as listing what you do to achieve what you claim. Claims become credible one you explain how you achieve them. .
Escape route: Your satisfaction is our top priority, so our consultants will work with you until your targets are met
Next time you find yourself writing a ‘cutting-edge technology product’ that is ‘built from the ground up’, please pause and ask yourself what your customers really care about. You can be pretty sure that they are much less interested in how you built your product than how it might impact their productivity and profits. Write the answers to the questions they are likely to ask, in the language they are likely to use.