How to speak to a wider audience with your business communication

Knowing how to phrase your SMS marketing messages can be a daunting prospect. You’ll want to reach as many people as possible with your campaign, without alienating anyone unnecessarily through a muddled message or fuddled phrase.

The correct wording of your messages is an integral part to a successful campaign. Here we lay out some of the pitfalls that companies stumble into and discuss how best to speak to a wide audience.

Define your target audience

Before you commence on any kind of marketing campaign; whether it’s text, email or social media, it is essential to define your target audience. Having an understanding of just who it is you are selling to will assist in countless ways.

Not only will it help you decide the tools and the types of campaigns that you will run, it will also help you know what to say. Armed with this knowledge you can factor in the tone of voice, the type of words you use, your formality and pace.

Ultimately, knowing your audience will affect how your message is perceived; and will help ensure your message is understood in the manner you hope. In turn, adapting your language will help you better target your audience – which is the key to driving responses.

What’s more, you can use this knowledge to create segments; lists breaking down your audience in to groups to generate even more effective targeting.

B2B v B2C

If you’re targeting a B2B audience, you’ll likely need to use a more formal tone, but don’t think this is set in stone. As numerous brands around the world are showing, there’s always a person behind each brand, so talk to them on a level they’ll respect and understand to get your message across most effectively, regardless of whether this fits in with received wisdom or not.

Technical terms and jargon are more acceptable, but they should always be deployed with care. Ask yourself: ‘Are my audience likely to know this term?’ to avoid alienating potential customers. For B2C it’s best to steer clear of jargon completely.

When writing for a B2C audience you can usually use a more informal tone – depending of course on your business and therefore your target audience. Your product may call for a more formal style; for example if you are a mortgage advisor or funeral director it would not be appropriate to use colloquial words or language when you wish to portray a professional and serious image.

This is where it again comes back to knowing your audience; you can begin to see why this is essential and how it affects the styling of your message. Even if you have a very wide audience, for example all the patients of a doctors’ surgery, knowing this can still be of use. You will be able to err on the side of caution; avoiding alienating jargon, phrases or references. Remember, even if your audience is diverse, they will still have one thing in common – an interest in your product or service!

Consider your audience’s age

When it comes to text speak (or txtspk) – usage may depend on your audience – as well as the tone you wish to convey. While generally it would be deemed unprofessional to write a marketing message in short hand or text speak, this could change if for example you were promoting an offer on skateboards to teenagers – in this instance it could be totally acceptable to send a bulk SMS with the phrase:

Be a sk8r boi with 50% off all boards this weekend only

The use of emoticons and emojis in marketing has been hotly debated, and again it depends on your customer base. Many find it a way to offer friendliness or kinship with millennials. As such, a number of household name brands have been incorporating them into their SMS, email and social media marketing of late.

Tap into emotion

Considered the world’s first global language, emojis can help break down language barriers and convey emotion easily. Tapping into emotion is key for marketing campaigns, and emojis are ideal for this. Not only are they great for emotion, the colourful visual element can attract attention; in fact, one study found that using emoji in email subject lines increased open rates by 10-15 per cent.

Successful use of emojis was demonstrated in the text marketing campaign by animal rights charity PETA, in their 2014 campaign initiative ‘Cruelty Beyond Words’.

Given that there are nearly 2 million smart phone users worldwide, using emojis to accentuate your marketing message seems simple. It is worth noting, however, that non-smartphone users won’t be able to see the characters, so if you’re aiming at a much older audience, for example, it may be best to avoid using them altogether.

In order to remain inclusive when sending text message campaigns to a wide audience the best thing you can do is be mindful. Remember your audience at all times, be polite and avoid using phrasing that could alienate or offend. Ultimately you need to do your research and make sure you know who you are targeting; everything else will fall into place afterwards.