Linguistic Labyrinths: Why Simple Language Sells

Language is the building blocks of any effective copy or marketing strategy. While there is rightfully a large focus on content when planning out strategies, language can make or break even the most well-thought-out plans. Flashy sentences have their place, but when crafting a sales strategy, complicated language can isolate or confuse customers.

But why simple language? Many times people think the more complicated language is, the more refined it seems. Writers often crowd flowery adjectives into loaded sentences, but what do these over-burdened sentences actually tell the client about whatever product or service you’re trying to sell? Carefully crafted sentences don’t have to be complicated.

Learning to write simply will not only improve your copy and marketing materials but also help impart information clearly and succinctly, which customers appreciate. Discover four reasons why writing simply and avoiding over-complicated sentences is the best way to go.

Clarity

Clarity, despite being underrated, is everything when trying to connect with readers. The point of copy and marketing is to provide insight and influence, and if the consumer isn’t sure what’s being said, it completely undoes all the work put into the presentation strategy.

Clarity in a sentence is relatively easy to achieve. The best way to guarantee you’re providing a message that is as clear and direct as possible is to get a detailed overview of the product or service being addressed. Hammering out all the details and knowing exactly what needs to be addressed is the first place to start. Often, copy gets muddled because the writer isn’t 100 percent clear on what needs to be conveyed and is proceeding while learning about the product or service. By creating a solid overview of the product or service, a piece of content can be built around it with maximum clarity and efficiency.

But clarity isn’t simply understanding the product or service. Clarity involves choosing language that demonstrates what needs to be conveyed without getting sidetracked by the language. It may be tempting to pump up the language in your copy or marketing content to make it more linguistically appealing, but the most important thing to remember is this: your language should exist to support the product or service. The product or service isn’t there to give reason to the language.

Focus

Image via Flickr by Sebastian

Once you have a decent handle on clarity, you should move onto focus. Let’s say your product or service has many facets and important components. You want to make sure the potential client reading the material understands all the neat things about it. However, jumbling everything together cannot only make it difficult for a consumer to understand exactly what part of the product or service you’re talking about, it can lead to misconceptions about what your business offers.

Like clarity, focus requires taking the copy or marketing material piece by piece. What do you want consumers to know? What are the parts of your product or service that you want to highlight? Are there clear divisions between the different facets of your product or service? These are some good questions to start asking yourself. They will help you provide clearer focus and generate quality marketing content or copy.

Start thinking about what your customers need to know, not what you want to tell them. As pointed out by copy expert Matt Press: “What you’ve got to say about your business isn’t important; what your audience needs to hear is. Most business owners have a million-and-one things that they want to get across. As a result, their copy comes across as me, me, me. Don’t make that mistake – forget about your agenda. In a commercial environment, readers will always be thinking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ As such, business copy needs to be benefit-driven. The value of what you’re selling needs to be extremely clear from the start.” Focus helps point to that value as clearly as possible.

Space

You may have a ton to say about your product or service. You want to make sure consumers have all the information they need, after all. But no matter how finely crafted your marketing materials or copy are, if they are super long chances are potential clients aren’t going to read it. If you take too long to get to your point, it can bore your readers. Once they’re bored, it’s almost impossible to recapture their attention. Online reading is super fast, far faster than traditional print reading. You have significantly less space to gain and keep the attention and interest of potential customers.

Setting yourself a word count can help you keep on top of your available space, as well as improve clarity and focus. If you only have so many words to use, you’re less likely to be tempted to drift in your writing.

Simple, Not Simple Minded

Just because you’re using simpler language to help emphasize clarity and focus, not to mention save space, doesn’t mean that your copy or marketing content needs to be boring or plain. Instead, cultivating mindfulness about your client and language can lead to beautiful yet simple copy that gives all the necessary information in an engaging way. Play with sentence structure. Change up your vocabulary. Find new and engaging ways to present information about your product or service. All these tools of the trade are still completely applicable but are instead working solely for the product or service. Simple language helps keep the focus on what you’re trying to inform the consumer about instead of calling attention to itself.

Simple language is a great way to produce clean, effective copy and marketing content. It doesn’t require extra work, just some mindfulness and consideration. By emphasizing simple language, you’ll have an easier time imparting clear, effective information in a way that engages and informs customers without leaving them confused or unsure about your product or service.

About the author

Megan Tilley