Hi y'all! This is Kaitlyn quickly introducing a new guest post this week from the talented and lovely Lizzie over at Wanderful-World.com. Lizzie is an amazing resource about all things freelancing and business that I highly recommend checking out. Make sure to connect with Lizzie at the bottom of this post (after you read this A+ content)!
Building a brand is so much more than having a recognizable logo and a color palette that goes well together – something that Kaitlyn has emphasized many times! It’s more than just how your website looks, or what background images you use on social media.
While all of these things come together to form a part of your brand, they aren’t the end goal.
So what is the end goal?
Your branding determines how your audience feel when they come to your site, whether they feel like they’ve stepped into a friend’s house, or a university lecture, or whether they feel inspired or motivated. The graphics you use and your color palette can all aid this, but a lot of people forget one of the best ways you can attract your ideal customers or clients and turn them into fans.
And that is through your words.
Think about it: words are the one thing we use every single day to communicate. They can make us feel sad, happy, nostalgic, scared, inspired – all sorts. The power of words is huge, and it should be something you consider at every step in your branding process. Words are how you make a connection with your audience, because it’s the medium we, as humans, are used to.
But words are just words, right? As long as I’m getting my message across then I’m golden, right? You might ask.
And, yes, getting your brand message across is important, but getting it across in the right way is even more important if you want to land the clients and customers you dream of landing.
You basically want your ideal client to come to your site and think, “wow, this person is speaking directly to me.” You want them to feel like the space between you (which, let’s face it, can be massive thanks to the humungous spread of the internet!) disappears and they’re having a one-on-one conversation with you.
So how do you even begin to do that? It really doesn’t have to be as difficult or as confusing as it sounds, especially if you have your dream client or customer in mind.
USE THE WORDS YOUR AUDIENCE USE
This is one of the easiest ways you can make a strong connection with your customers. Using the exact language they use will instantly make them feel like you “get” them, and that you know exactly what it is they’re looking for.
You might not think that every single word matters, but it really does, particularly when it’s the difference between someone thinking “oh, they totally understand my problem,” and “oh, maybe they don’t understand what I want.”
But how can you use the exact words your audience use?
1. First you need to know who it is your targeting. This is where your Ideal Client Profile (ICP) comes in – what age are they? What gender? Where do they live? What are their pain points? How can you solve these pain points? What matters to them? What makes them tick?
All of these things are important to know if you’re going to find out where your ideal clients hang out (which is the next step in the process).
2. Hang out where your ideal client hangs out. This could be anywhere from Instagram if your ideal client is a creator or maker, to your local café if it’s remote workers or groups of mums. You want to become a part of their community and their conversations so you can get a better understand of how they communicate. Which means you can replicate this when you communicate with them.
3. Make a note of the vocabulary and phrases that crop up a lot. At this point, you really want to be listening and looking out for the specific language used by your ideal client. For example, do they use the word “great”, “awesome”, or “superb”. It’s the little things like this that can make a huge difference.
4. You can take step three to the next level by pin-pointing 3 or 4 individuals that fit the profile of your ideal client, and reach out to them to ask them a couple of questions about the words they use, or what phrases resonate with them the most.
Follow these four steps, and you’ll have a list of words you can consistently use that you know will attract your ideal client (not that you think will attract them!).
USE WORDS THAT EVOKE EMOTION
If the key goal of branding is to encourage your audience to feel a certain way, then it makes sense to use language and words that help reach that goal, right?!
So consider how you want your clients to feel when they buy your product or invest in your services. For example, if you’re a fashion designer, you might want them to feel stylish and elegant, or if you’re a coach, you might want them to feel inspired and confident.
Now you want to pepper these words into your copy and content, but you also want to use words that evoke these feelings in people. So, if you want your clients to feel stylish, you could use words like fashionable and on-trend, or even vintage and glamorous. Things that encourage the reader to think of the end goal (which is to feel a certain way when they have your product in their hand – either literally or metaphorically!).
USE WORDS THAT YOU WOULD SAY
The biggest mistake a lot of businesses make is by trying to cram their copy and content full of jargon and long words. While this might make you feel like the next Hemingway, it doesn’t really do much for your ideal client.
Let’s go back to what we discussed at the start. The main form of human communication is via words, and the majority of that is done through speech and conversation. That’s how we make connections, and it should be exactly the same online (because we’re creatures of habit!).
So you should be communicating with your ideal client as if you were having a conversation with them. Two ways you can make sure you’re doing that in the right way is:
- By reading aloud. Once you’ve written a piece of copy, whether it’s a product description, blog post, or your About page, read it aloud to see if it sounds natural. If the sentences are too long or you stumble on some of the words, go back and edit until it sounds like completely natural.
- Imagine you’re telling a friend. If you’re still struggling, phone up a friend, or imagine you’re telling them exactly what you want to tell your audience – the benefits of your product, or the values behind your business. Explaining it in person to someone can really help you solidify your message and make sure it creates connections in real life before you try and make connections online.
CONSIDER HOW YOU WANT YOUR AUDIENCE TO VIEW YOU
This is slightly different from the idea of creating emotion in your clients, but it kind of sits in the same column of “good practice”. Regardless of what you sell or who you sell it to, I imagine you have an idea of how you want potential clients to view you and your brand.
For example, if you’re a coach, you might want potential clients to see you as an authority, or if you’re a clothes designer, you might want to be seen as a fun, relaxed brand.
It’s important then to use words that are in line with the kind of brand you want to be seen as. For example, if you’re the fun clothes designer, you really don’t want to be using boring, dull language, as that will turn off your ideal clients immediately. Likewise, if you’re a coach and you use language that makes you seem a bit all over the shop, it’s going to be detrimental to your brand.
USE A SET OF CONSISTENT WORDS + PHRASES
Once you’ve covered all the above steps, you probably have a pretty strong idea about how you want your clients to feel, what kind of brand you want them to view you as, and you will hopefully have some of the exact words they use written down somewhere after the research stages in point number 1.
Now it’s time to bring this all together to create a go-to list of words and phrases you regularly use on your site, social media, and emails – everywhere that you connect with you clients.
This is how you create consistent copy and content, and how you solidify your message. By continuously using similar words and phrases, you’re cementing your brand image because a) your clients will start to recognize you by the words you use, and b) prospects will immediately know whether your product or service is for them.
GO WITH YOUR GUT
Lastly, you have to love your brand with every bone in your body. If you don’t, you aren’t going to be able to get behind it fully (and people will start to pick up on that!).
The most important thing is that your brand is something you’re proud of showing off; something that you want to shout from the rooftops about. To do that you have to be completely comfortable with the words you use.
If a word or phrase doesn’t feel right to you, swap it out or get rid of it completely. Though your clients are (very!) important, knowing your brand inside out and feeling like its an extension of you is even more important if you want to build a sustainable business.
It seems like a lot to think about, doesn’t it? Who knew the humble word could be seen in so many different ways!?
Now you have some ideas for finding out which words you should use to grow your brand, have a go at doing them and see if it makes any difference (I’m pretty sure it will!).