The Signal Boost–Episode 1

Introducing a new feature on our site: The Signal Boost.

This is where we look at a marketing mishap in the wild and show how it can be improved in pursuit of The Golden Signal.

Remember…When we talk about The Golden Signal we’re referring to getting the right words in the right places to reach the right people. Get all three of these components right and the results can astound you. But get even one of them wrong and you’re fighting an uphill battle.

Today we’re taking a look at how a marketing company (of all people) is crippling themselves by using the wrong words. We’ll see why they’re the wrong words, consider whether they could ever be “the right words,” and discuss how to improve them.

Along the way you’ll get a glimpse into the process we use at Springridge Business Services to take existing copy and polish it for clarity and punch.

The Signal Boost is presented by Springridge Business Services. If you think you need a Signal Boost, or you’d like to craft your Golden Signal from scratch, we’d like to talk to you. Click here to schedule a complimentary call with us today.

Not long ago I came across a description for a marketing agency. I’m leaving the name out (to protect the guilty), but here’s how they describe themselves:

“[Name removed] cultivates meaningful relationships using outbound sales strategies targeting in-store decision makers that convert opportunities into sales growth for our brand partners and increase sales volume and velocity.”

That description is such a yawner you’re forgiven if your eyes glazed over somewhere around the words “outbound sales strategies.” Nothing says “meaningful relationship” quite like a good outbound sales strategy!

But you can wipe the drool off your chin and wake up now. Let’s take a closer look and see if we can take it from tired to terrific.

First, let’s discuss why this copy is so sleepy.

It’s because it relies on big, abstract words. And those words make it hard to figure out what they really mean.

The writing is complicated. It doesn’t have to be, but it is.

You can use abstract, complicated writing if you want to sound smart and sophisticated. But if you’re trying to communicate with people (something you’d think a marketing company would want to do) then greeting them with complicated copy isn’t the best path.

There’s a slim chance this company serves a sophisticated market that talks this same way, and expects to be talked to in this way. If that’s the case, then this copy is fine even if you and I would read it and scratch our heads. Remember, The Golden Signal is about getting the right words in front of the right people. If you’re doing that, then who cares if it’s not the words other audiences would use? You’re not after those audiences.

This is why it’s so important to know WHO you’re trying to reach, and to choose the best words to reach THEM.

What’s more likely in this case is that this company doesn’t know the best way to say what they’re trying to say, and this is what they came up with. A complicated web of abstract copy that leaves you a bit confused.

Let’s make some adjustments…

Since even sophisticated audiences tend to like simple copy, let’s see if we can clean this up by eliminating some of the abstraction. I see a few opportunities.

  1. Let’s change cultivates meaningful relationships to “works with.”
  2. Outbound sales strategies targeting in-store decision makers sure seems to mean “We sell directly to purchasing managers.”
  3. Convert opportunities into sales growth probably means “We make sales.”
  4. And finally, what if we change Increase sales volume and velocity to “We get our clients more sales more often.”

To be fair, these might not be perfect translations. But I think you can see for yourself how working through these complex, abstract words and phrases and putting them in simpler terms makes a difference.

Now that we’ve made those adjustments, let’s see how it looks when we put it back together with our simpler terminology.

Before and After

Remember, originally they said “[Name removed] cultivates meaningful relationships using outbound sales strategies targeting in-store decision makers that convert opportunities into sales growth for our brand partners and increase sales volume and velocity.”

Our adjustments results in this:

“We use direct relationships with purchasing managers to get our clients more sales more often.”

It might not be perfect. And it sure isn’t complicated. But at least you can understand it.

Conclusion

Of course, word choice is only part of crafting your Golden Signal. And when we work with clients on refining their existing copy the process is more involved than what you’ve seen in this installment of The Signal Boost. For starters, we’d make sure “purchasing managers” was the right phrase to use before we used it instead of guessing.

But the rough process can still be seen in this example. We look at what you’ve already written, look for ways to simplify the complicated, and then put it back together in a way your target audience will grab.

Contact us today to learn more about a Signal Boost of your own.