Time to bin the waffle and embrace words that work

Posted by Sara Hawthorn

InFusion Comms is an established service provider, delivering high-quality communication solutions in Yorkshire and across the UK. As a fully integrated and strategic business, InFusion has full digital capability and offers outstanding customer service.

Can you spot what’s wrong with the above paragraph? Here’s a clue; everything. Yet so many businesses still anchor themselves to this type of copy, I see it time and time again on websites and briefing forms; bland, nonsensical marketing statements which rarely tell the audience anything of value. The b2b sector is especially guilty of this, sticking to staid and formal copy which looks like it was taken verbatim from ‘How to sell 101’.

For the most part, businesses don’t want to hear that their carefully crafted website and brochure copy is full of empty phrases and meaningless sales patter. But just because it’s a buzz word doesn’t mean it’s the right one to use. Here’s why the phrases in the top paragraph should be relegated to same place as the fax machine.

 

Service provider

Do you have a medal for providing a service? No. And you’re not going to get one if you keep using such obvious terms in your copy. Every business provides a service of some description so all you really achieve using this term is making writers cry and increase the switch off factor by at least 20%. Don’t be afraid to be blunt and to the point about what your business actually does, your customers (and writers) will thank you for it.

 

High-quality

Another obvious and utterly pointless proclamation. Is there an option for poor quality? Shakespeare can explain this best methinks: “The lady doth protest too much”*. Let the quality of your work show through other means – case studies, testimonials and coverage will carry a hell of a lot more weight than empty phrases like high-quality. Try talking about why your processes create the calibre of products or services you offer, it’s a far more informative way to get the same message across.

*Replace noun as appropriate. Not all websites/businesses may want to be referred to in the feminine.

Solutions

The gem of crown of jargon. The use of solution/s in business copy has increased significantly in the last few years; even I’m guilty of using it. Businesses like to be seen as problem solvers to their customers, so including ‘solutions’ in business copywriting is a reinforcement of this message. That was fine back when it was barely used, but now it’s bloated far beyond any substantial meaning and has taken its rightful place in the annoying marketing words hall of fame. Let a good copywriter steer you back on to the path of light and accept there are other ways to talk about how you helping your customers.

 Marketing Jargon

Fully integrated

Can you explain what you mean by fully integrated? Yes? Then use that explanation instead, if you must say anything about it at all. And if you end up fully integrating yourself into a massive hole whilst trying to explain what it means to your customers then perhaps rethink your terminology and fully integrate this phrase into a box marked DO NOT USE.

Strategic

You have a strategy? Excellent. You’ve told your audience you operate like most sensible businesses which is, undoubtedly, what they need to know to make a purchasing decision. Don’t treat your audience like they’re sitting around a boardroom table listening to a PowerPoint presentation. Your customers do not need, nor want, to know about your strategic prowess. Save this nugget of business copywriting jargon for the boss.

Full digital capability

Thankfully, this ugly phrase rarely makes an appearance, although I did spot it on the gov.uk website recently- tsk. I understand that businesses want to share the joyful news that they have computers and that they’re connected to the internet, and perhaps even have access to social media platforms, but encapsulating that in the phrase full digital capability turns a potentially interesting element of your business into yet another soulless sales pitch.

Outstanding customer service

This is a pet hate of mine for several reasons. Firstly, everyone uses this, it’s so unoriginal it might as well be a One Direction song. Secondly, outstanding according to whom? Thirdly, it’s actually quite a weak statement when you really break it down, it creates the impression of lack of creativity and thought about what your audience determines is stellar service; have you opened longer, or improved a process simply because of customer feedback? The demonstration of positive action is the interesting bit. It pays to be specific on this one.

 

The next time it comes to updating your website or refreshing leaflets and brochures bear in mind that those punchy, hip phrases that turn you on might actually be turning potential customers off. Better still, let a knowledgeable copywriter look after your business copywriting and trust them to capture the right sentiments and expressions for your audience.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles