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In-speak? Acronyms? Abbreviations? That will be a no then!

I recently received an e-mail which finished with the salutation “ATB” - it took me a little while, but I finally worked out that it stood for “All the Best”

However, the act of unravelling those three letters did remind me of the dangers of using acronyms, “in-speak” and technical language in your marketing communications. You might think that this makes you look cool or knowledgeable but actually it can act as an excluding device whereby you have completely failed to engage with your potential customer.

We often fall victim to using in-speak in order to demonstrate our new proficiency in a profession, and as a way of bolstering our own confidence when we have our Business L plates on.

Even in general business terms we start to bandy around commercial acronyms that we forget are not instantly understandable. For example ROI (Return on investment), KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and USP (Unique Sales Point). It’s worth remembering that in addition to some business owners not understanding these terms - they will never tell you that’s the case! This may mean that the large promotion upon which you have embarked with the snappy title of “Our USP is boosting your ROI” - could fail miserably…

As the business community makes increasing use of e-mail, texting and social networking, we make increasing use of abbreviated language. To my 80’s-born acronym “ TGIF” (Thank Goodness it’s Friday) I have slowly but surely fallen into using “BTW” (by the way) and “BFN” (by for now). However, I did thoroughly confuse my husband by using MWAH which he thought was an acronym but is actually the sound of a big kiss!

So, OK no harm in confusing your husbands from time to time, but you must NEVER confuse your potential customers so here’s a bit of marketing advice.
Firstly make your marketing copy resonant, understandable and compelling by having a clear picture of your target customer:

• Are they male or female?
• Which are group are they in?
• What sort of newspaper might they read?(is it the sensationalist
Sun or the erudite Times?)
• What are their current concerns?
• Will they have prior knowledge of what you are offering?

When marketing or advertising copy is written well it positively jumps out at you – which of course is exactly what is intended to do. One of my attendees on last Friday's copywriting workshop said the main thing she had learned was "I need to up my game" - this is especially the case when we are all now becoming our own publishers when writing blogs.

How easy do you find getting your message across in a way that makes sense to your potential customers?

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