The words you use in your business matter. That isn’t just because content can be persuasive, or because Google “reads” everything you post looking for searchable terms and phrases.

Those details are important, but we’re referring to something more basic. If you call products or services by different terms than the ones your customers use, you are likely to run into problems. To see why this is such a big issue for some marketers, let’s break down the details…

How Differences in Names and Terms Come About

There are many reasons why a business might use differentiated terms than buyers, and some of them are subtle. You might recognize some of them in your own company.

  • Lots of businesses organize products and services by internal codes or categories. Over time, that can spread to all kinds of communications, even some with the public.
  • Cultural or historic differences in wording can play a role, especially if a company is expanding from one region to another.
  • Sometimes employees will use technical jargon that buyers aren’t really familiar with. For example, in our industry “search engine optimization” can be expressed by business owners as “Google rankings,” “search visibility,” etc.

All of these are easy to understand, but they can cause sales and communication headaches.

Why Differences in Terms and Names Matter

If you call something by a name that’s different than the ones the buyers you work with use – perhaps because you have internal lingo or have adopted some proprietary product names – it can cause difficulties in sales, not to mention everyday communication.

  • This might not be immediately apparent, but over time you’ll run into roadblocks like:
  • Searchers using one set of terms or keywords on Google, and the content on your website not showing up even though your site is a resource for the industry.
  • Customer service requests that are routed or answered incorrectly because of a difference in verbiage.
  • Marketing messages that aren’t received as enthusiastically as they could be because buyers and researchers don’t completely understand what is being offered.

These are just a few of the most common examples, but the fact of the matter is that when you use different terms than your target market, you are almost literally speaking different languages. Can it be any wonder that would affect sales in a negative way?

How to Communicate With Customers in Their Own Words

If you’re worried the terms you use in your business might not match up to customer phrasing, there are a few things you can do starting today:

  • Invest in keyword research to see what buyers are looking for when they want your products or services.
  • Blend the internal terms you have with more common names and phrases on your website and marketing materials.
  • Avoid using technical jargon in customer-oriented communications as often as possible.

This advice boils down to one thing: make sure to deal with buyers on their level. Do that and you won’t just have an easier time attracting people to your website, but also persuading them to work with you instead of the competition.

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