The Language of the Customer: The Use of Jargon and Language in Promotional Copy

Communication with your customers is crucial in conveying your company message. From acronyms to language translations, to content layout and more, it is easy for your message to get lost with the customer. Ensuring that you are taking the proper steps in perfecting your promotional copy will help in effectively communicating your message to your customers.  In this USA Manufacturing Hour, on Twitter, host, Nigel Packer from Pelatis Online, led a discussion on this topic.


Guess That Acronym

The chat started off with the host asking participants what LSD means.

Missy Moorefield from Southern Fasteners and Supply said, “Uhh, I'm going to guess we're not flashing back to the 1970s. So, I'm gonna let the brilliant folks here help me out.”

Whitney Koch said, “I am lost like Missy.”

Jasmine Labelle from Velavu said, “Not quite sure about this one..."

Rebecca Prox said the Digital Marketing Pro said, “I do not know what it means in this context. Looking to learn!”

Host, Packer said, “Everyone in the know will immediately think about the drug Lysergic acid diethylamide, which for the more mature audience conjures up the 1960’s, Woodstock, hippies, and free love”.

A quick trawl of the internet and we find that LSD also means different things to different industries.

Language for Systems Development - A programming language

Laser Schlieren Deflectometry - Gas temperature measurement.

Least Significant Digit – A mathematical term.

Lightweight Service Discovery – Term used in “Internet of Things” connection protocols.

Limit State Design – Used in structural engineering.

Limited Slip Differential – A part of the power train of a vehicle.

Local Peer Discovery – Another internet protocol term.

Line Sharing Device - A type of modem.

Log-Spectral Distance – Something to do with speech coding?

Low Self-Discharge – Something to do with the discharge rate of batteries.

Low Sulphur Diesel – A type of fuel.

Lumpy Skin Disease – A skin condition suffered by cows.

Lysosomal Storage Disease - A group of inherited metabolic disorders – Medical

Can you see the problem yet?”


Common Acronyms in Your Industry

The chat continued with participants sharing some acronyms and abbreviations that are commonly used in their industry.

Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing said, “B2B, SMM, CMO, SEO... and so on...”

She added, “...and our clients have their own which we have to learn as well. fintech, retech, ERP, SaaS, SAP, WMS, etc...”

Host Packer replied, “A good range of abbreviations Ruby. CMO - Chief Medical Officer?”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc. said, “ERP, WMS, TMS, SAAS”

Koch said, “In marketing... B2B, B2C, CRM, SEO, SEM, and more.”

Packer replied, “Thank you Whitney these are all familiar to me but what about business owners new to digital marketing?”

Koch then replied, “A very good point!”

Labelle said, “We have a few: B2B, BLE, LTE, RTLS, NFC, GPS... so many more!”

Gina Tabasso said, “Lots of Six Sigma terms: DMAIC, SIPOC, 8D, CAPA, COPQ, CTQ, and so on. In our park model business: ANS 119.5, RV, MWR. In marketing: SEO, PPC, UX, etc.”

Brett Kramer from FreightPOP said, “TMS, ERM, and 3PL no name a few!”

Michelle Riccetto from Brash Inc said, “Top of mind here are a few - UX, UI, AI, PCB, CMF, IoT, CAD…””

Prox said, “I work in the LED lighting industry - LED, UL, DLC, CCT, CFL, to name a few...”

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “B2B, VA, SEO, CX, DEI, CLV, and more.”

Host, Packer said, “The people who are aware of the meaning of your industry acronyms and abbreviations are other people in your industry, mostly your competitors.

The people you are targeting, potential customers, may be at different stages of their buying journey.

Those closest to buying will have done the research and will be partly aware of the acronyms and jargon that you use.

Those who at the beginning of their journey, will not know what the acronyms or abbreviations mean and will look for another website that is easier to understand.

Consider this: If you could capture interest from potential customers, who are at the beginning of their buying journey, the research stage, you will be able to guide them to your selling platform explaining the jargon on the way.

Take your list and check them on Google. They may not represent the industries you wish to be associated with. (I have seen things that I did not necessarily want to see!)”


What’s Your Product or Service

Next, participants shared the name of their product or service and how they would describe it.

Tabasso said, “Park model homes, including tiny homes, cottages and cabins for my company

Vacavia Homes and marketing strategy and implementation for me personally.”

Prox said, “Industrial, commercial and residential LED lighting, but mostly industrial and commerical.”

Austin said, “DCWarehouse Automation (It helps manufacturers and distributors streamline tedious processes and takes the BULL out of the warehouse )”

Labelle said, “Velavu is the name of our service but the name of our products are: Vesta (the mobile gateway), Pavo (the mesh anchor), Arda (the asset tag) and Manta (the safety wearable).”

Rusine said, “We are B2B social selling specialists. We do social media strategy services like SEO writing, DFY social media posts, and end-to-end social media management for small to medium-sized B2B companies.”

Stepanov said, “We Virtudesk short for "virtual desk since we provide virtual assistant services.”

Koch said, “The agency I work for sells digital marketing services--things like website hosting, blog writing, social media marketing, etc.”

Riccetto said, “Brash is the name of our firm ~ stands for being bold and having the confidence to succeed.”

Host, Packer said, “Depending on the stage of the customer’s buying journey, they might know your product/service by different names. At the beginning they will probably describe the service or product. Later, they will learn the terminology and will change their search terms to match.

By catching them in the early stages of their buying journey and helping them, they will form a stronger bond with your brand, even if they see the same product or service with a competitor. The bond is stronger when the competitor uses the industry jargon.”


Creating Copy

Participants then discussed how to create copy that your potential customers can understand.

Tabasso said, “act as a translator of technical and industry information and explain it in a way that is understandable and meaningful to a person who is not an expert in this field”.

Host, Packer said, “So true Gina. I think that many people use the idioms and abbreviations in their industry to look good in front of their peers. Unfortunately, those are not the recipients of your messages that you want to help”.

Labelle replied to Tabasso, “Great Answer Gina! We agree!

Kramer said, “Make sure you are keeping your target audience's point of view in mind, and have a few different people read through it. Make sure to ask them to let you know if they got lost anywhere or if something wasn't explained well enough!”

Prox said, “Speak about the benefits more than the technical aspects of your product or service.”man_working_laptop 

Stepanov said, “Understand who your potential customers are, their needs, preferences, and pain points. Conduct market research and create buyer personas to clearly understand your audience.”

Amy Anderson said, “Keep the AUDIENCE in mind!”

Riccetto said, “Great question! Speak their language - understand their needs, wants & pain points. Showing the benefits of your service/product goes a loooong way. It’s also always a good idea to have proof of what you can offer. For example: testimonials from past clients”

Chris Giglio from Rovere Media said, “Write it from their point of view! Whenever I write original copy, I imagine I'm the customer and I try to cover aspects I would be looking for if I was shopping for my product or service.

Host, Packer said, “Avoiding acronyms and abbreviations is the first step. But hold on a few moments, what if you put the full description of the acronym and then put the acronym into brackets after. E.g., Limited Slip Differential (LSD).

You are helping the potential customer to learn the jargon of the industry as they carry out their research.

If the article is published on your website, then consider having a glossary page of all the acronyms and technical words used in your industry and content. There are widgets that can be used to create a small popup box “on hover” with an explanation of the word/acronym or phrase.

At the next, “Bring your child to work day,” (November 1st, 2023) use the opportunity to ask them to read the copy you have written and tell you what they do not understand. Make adjustments to your copy taking into consideration their comments.

It is often easier for those who are not in the industry to find issues, than someone who is.”


Translating Content

The chat continued with participants sharing if they think you should translate your content into other languages, even if you do not export, and why.

Austin said, “I don’t know”

Tabasso said, “Hmm. Something I had not considered. I have not unless we do business with other languages or areas. It depends on who the customer is.”

Giglio said, “I think that predominately relies on your audience and who you're trying to reach. That decision comes down to assessing your audience and determining if it's worth spending the resources to translate your content.”

Rusine said, “I like what you said here, Chris. I wonder who makes the decision for this.”

Prox said, “Translation depends on your audience. I keep an eye on where our products are selling most. If they reach Hispanic or Asian markets more, I'll be looking into translation services.”

Labelle said, “All depends on your audience! If you see in your analytics that most of the audience has their profile language in English, translating content may be “unproductive””

Riccetto said, “It all comes down to your audience and their needs! Check your analytics and study your customers before making that decision.”

Anderson said, “Written translation from English may not be necessary, but verbal translation could make a difference. Example: advertising on Hispanic radio.”

Host, Packer said, “Whilst English is a widely spoken language, it is not the most populus language. In the USA the following languages are widely spoken.

  1. English
  2. Spanish
  3. Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and More)
  4. Tagalog (Filipino)
  5. Vietnamese
  6. French and French Creole
  7. Arabic
  8. Korean
  9. Russian
  10. German

Research has found that people are more comfortable speaking and reading in their first language. If your target market uses one of these languages, are you missing an opportunity by not translating? Consider creating campaigns in alternative languages if your potential customers speak another language, even in the USA.

Please also remember to have someone who can speak the language to answer the phone (have a different number for each language) and emails after you start the campaign.”


Content Layout

Host, Packer then asked chat participants if layout of their content is important for the customer.

Prox said, “Yes. As humans, we follow patterns with our eyes. If it's not aesthetically pleasing, or created in a way that is appealing to us, we won't read it or look at it.”

Austin said, “Yes, if you are selling anything you can't really be sloppy. Well unless it's sloppy joes. Now I'm hungry!”

Tabasso said, “Yes. User experience is always important. Things need to be scannable and broken down into digestible bites.”

Giglio said, “I think a healthy mix of quality copy, good images, and a proper digestible layout is important. The well written copy for information, the images to keep attention, and layout so that it all makes sense and keeps eyes where you want them.”

Austin said, “Yes, if you are selling anything you can't really be sloppy. Well unless it's sloppy joes. Now I'm hungry!”

Host, Packer said, “Whilst this question is not directly about jargon and language, once you have cleaned up your copy, think about how customers read your article or post.

Research shows that it is 50% harder to read on a screen than on paper. The layout of your content is therefore important if you want your audience to read the article or post.

Many articles and long posts, to hit character limits, are written in impenetrable blocks of text. This immediately puts the reader off. Split the content into bite sized chunks one or two sentences long.

Use headings to highlight the sections of your copy.

Use images to break up the text and add an image caption to explain what the image is about, especially in blog posts.”





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