Less Copy Means More Clarity

I hate jargon. As marketers we often find ourselves in the unenviable position to transate complex products and services into simple ideas that communicate value. There are two key things we can work with to try to accomplish this task – word choices and idea-length.

If I knew where inspiration came from, I would go there more often.

To clearly articulate value, choose simple words and use as few of them as possible. Now, don’t get me wrong this is really hard. It’s easy to string together numerous highly-complex terms, in any language, to compel your target audience to conceptualize the ideas you’re trying to convey in a way that allows them to visualize themselves using your advanced products. Yes, that sentence was purposefully long and needlessly complex. A bit of an exaggeration, but hopefully helps illustrate the point.

Consumers are exposed to 10,000 brand messages per day. —Ama.org

What’s easy for you – using many words and incorporating jargon – ends up being hard for your customers. It’s difficult for them to extract the right ideas and value. They have to spend more mental energy deciphering the message and then become less likely to buy your product or service. A company widely cited for their success in communicating their value in succinct ideas is Apple. Whether it’s a headline or a subtitle, Apple is masterful at using simple words and phrases. Look across any product page and you’ll likely find headlines and descriptions under 10 words that omit any technology jargon like quad-core, pixel-density, or inductive-charging. It’s hard work, but challenge yourself to reduce to complexity and length of your copy. Here are a few other sites that might inspire you…

  1. Away
  2. Mint
  3. Nest
  4. Sonos
  5. Adobe

We could all use a little inspiration. Share any sites the inspire you with their simple, effective messaging.

2 Comments

  1. So true! I’m working on a presentation now and am realizing I’m leaning a bit too heavily on the jargon. Any suggestions for how to fix this?

    • Adam Fudala

      Jargon is tricky. You become so fluent in it that it feels simple. Try imagining you’re the recipient of the presentation, and you’re hearing it for the first time. Jargon requires context and a lot of brain power. A first time listener doesn’t have much context and they’re already using a lot of brain power just to follow along. When you consider your presentation from the listener’s perspective and you come across those parts that seem hard to decipher, try reframing them with words, concepts, and ideas that you’d use to explain it to a first-timer.

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