Take a look at this paragraph for a moment:
“We empower corporations to future-proof their construction investments by leveraging site-specific seismic motion best practices that deliver tremendous value and continually delight our clients. By moving the needle on core competencies like nonlinear and equivalent-linear ground response analyses, we’re shifting the paradigm in the field mapping arena.”
… Hmm, sounds interesting, huh? If only it was written in A LANGUAGE THAT REAL PEOPLE SPEAK.
Because, seriously: what in the *&%! does that even mean??
I’m gonna hit you with a big ol’ truth-bomb here: jargon does not make you sound smart. Equally, choosing the longest, most complicated word you can think of to express an otherwise simple idea does not make you sound smart. Frankly? It makes you sound like a thesaurus in a washing machine. It’s a load of nonsense.
But hey? What do I know. Let’s hear it from Jennifer Chatman, a Professor in Management at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business:
“Jargon masks real meaning,” she says. “People use it as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction that they want to give others.”
Oof. Harsh words – but she’s right. Jargon is the opposite of effective communication.
Of course, marketers everywhere fall into this trap. But when it comes to B2B, tech, and niche markets, they really let their hair down. In the geospatial sector, which is about as B2B, tech and niche as it gets, most of what you read sounds about as natural as a malfunctioning Google Alexa trapped under a lawnmower.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! To help you save yourselves and your clients from a fate of certain boredom, here are nine top copywriting tips that really work for Geospatial.
If it was good enough for Einstein, it’s good enough for you. Don’t overcomplicate things when you don’t have to! If there’s a word in there that doesn’t add anything, strip it out. If there’s a term that’s clearly corporate-speak cliché, change it for something simpler. That does NOT mean dumbing things down; it means finding the clearest, most accessible way to explain what you do.
This is YOUR field. YOU are the expert here. Remember that this is what will win over your clients – your knowledge, expertise and bursting portfolio of happy clients / awesome past projects that prove you’re the right vendor of that product or team for the job.
So why mask that with impenetrable language? Talk through your credentials simply, sticking to the facts without embellishment. Weave testimonials and quotes from clients into your website copy. Link to case studies. Talk about how long you’ve been doing this for and any industry awards or recognition you’ve had. These are the things that will really earn prospective customers’ trust.
Where possible, avoid vague claims about saving clients money or outstripping the competition. It’s much more effective to give actual stats and figures. For example if your technology helped a client to conduct land surveys in half the time, say that.
If it improved accuracy by 22%, point that out, too. This is a scientific industry, and hard evidence and numbers will be much more convincing for your customers than general boasts.
Hey, don’t be shy – we’re all geeks out here in geospatial! Feel free to show just how excited you are about the capabilities and features of your product, and new developments in your industry.
This is where blogging comes in useful. By keeping this separate to your direct marketing copy and company information, you give yourself far more freedom to get the team involved, talk through use cases, demo the potential of the technology and generally show off your knowledge in an engaging, non-salesy way that’s super engaging for your audience.
On a similar note, try to find a tone that’s conversational and interesting. Yes, yes, I know: you’re worried you’ll sound less professional, but you won’t.
Think about the best presentations you’ve ever seen in the industry. Were they the driest ones? The ones where the speaker droned on and on like a robot, reciting long, dense, complicated sentences and lists, and occasionally pointing to a graph? Of course not: you were asleep by the end of those ones.
Written copy is no different. If you want people to read through to the end of it, show a bit of spark, a bit of personality. Imagine you’re explaining what you do to a client you really want to work with, in person, at a busy conference. To keep their attention, you’d need to be charming, interesting, to the point – and excited about what you do, right? Great copywriting just means transferring that to the page.
Oh, and while you’re at it, include as much visual content as you can with your copy. You might not have thought about it before, but geospatial is actually a very “visual” industry.
After all, we deal with mapping out and understanding the surface of the earth, with drone and satellite imagery, with cool technology that often looks pretty damn awesome in action. The more videos and images you can include to bring what you do to life, the better.
Copywriting covers a lot of bases, be that your website, your blog, eBooks and whitepapers, PowerPoint presentations – the works. Some of these things, like your home page, need to be open and general enough to appeal to all visitors. Most of the time, though, it’s important to establish exactly who in the company will be reading this copy, and tailor it accordingly.
For example, your marketing materials might target: the company CEO, who is mostly concerned about growing the company, improving productivity and raising profits, operational and engineering managers, who are deeply interested in the capabilities of a product and exactly how it fits with the way they work, and/or business or procurement managers, who are less tech-savvy but want a solid option with great ROI that they can present to the higher-ups.
In each case, you’ll need to create content that is targeted to what this type of person wants to hear about, the language they use, and the level of technical detail they are interested in. It’s not enough to create one-size-fits-all content: to be really successful, be as specific and tailored as you can.
Your clients are busy people. They want to be able to glance over a page and tell immediately whether or not this content has any use to them.
That means taking care not to waste their time. Keep sentences short. Don’t go overboard with 5,000 word blog posts, case studies and product descriptions. Cut out all the fluff and avoid huge chunks of text. Rather than pouring all the information into one place, include “read more” links that take them through to more detailed descriptions / documents if they’re curious to know more, but don’t bombard them if they aren’t!
Remember that your audience knows their stuff – they’re cautious, cynical and have a low bar for b*%%&£$^. Overblown claims that promise them the Earth won’t cut it – so show, don’t tell. Explain exactly what your company offers and how it can solve their problems convincingly, but without hyperbole or guff.
All make sense to you? Great! Now let’s take a quick look at how this works in action. Remember that hideous paragraph we started with? Here it is again, but edited using these tips:
“We work with some of the world’s largest construction companies in areas prone to earthquakes, helping them to reduce the risk of damage and protect their investments in the future.
Using the latest seismic motion and field mapping technologies, our experienced team conducts nonlinear and equivalent-linear analyses to assess how safe a plot is for development, and what measures should be taken to improve it.
Click here to read more about what we do, or click here to find out what our clients say about working with us.”
…. Ah, that’s better, don’t you think?
Ready to give your geospatial marketing a makeover? Tweet me @Eballball | email me: elaine @ elaineball.co.uk | call me on +44 7825 517 850 PS: I don’t bite but I may talk about horses!