It’s a basic rule of SEO: searchers enter the same terms into search engines that they use in everyday language to describe what they need. If you don’t use those terms on your website, it won’t come up for those searches. This means you’ll get less traffic from the search engines, and fewer conversions.
If you want to win over your audience, you need to speak their language. Fortunately, even bloggers who write corporatese like a native can stop incentivising their buzzwords long enough to see a real ROI. Seriously, Neil Patel offered some great tips at Search Engine Journal for using social media to help you get that common touch.
Start by reading the language in all the right places. Don’t go to industry blogs; they’re full of the buzzwords you want to avoid. Instead, visit Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Find out what words people use when they’re posting and commenting about products and services in your field. Read relevant blogs, and check out forums. Make note of the language posters use to ask and answer questions. Seek out websites with user-generated reviews, and study the words they use. Write down specific keywords and key phrases.
Another way you can find out your audience’s language is by searching for trending hash tags on Twitter. You’ll often find these cropping up during a conference or similar event. Pay attention to the language used in these tweets to get a feel for relevant topics, words and phrases.
One of the most direct ways to find out the language your audience speaks, of course, is to ask them. “Interviewing people from your target market will be the best way to learn about their needs, what they think of your product and brand, and, most importantly, the language they use,” Patel notes. You can interview people in your target market in various ways: in person, over the phone, or even via email.
When you conduct these interviews, Patel reminds you to do four things. First, target your interviewees carefully, choosing several people from each of your market segments. Second, ask a lot of specific questions; you want to get exact language, not just a vague idea of what they think of your brand and products. Third, make sure you interview enough people over a period of time; what you learn from these interviews can fuel future blog posts. And finally, use appropriate tools to help you. “Open up Excel, create columns for each target market, and drop in these themes and common words and phrases,” Patel suggests.
Finally, don’t take your own people for granted. Some of them already speak the language of your customers, out of necessity. I’m talking about anyone who deals directly with your customers. These include customer service reps, sales reps, retail reps, and even social media reps. Sit down and talk with these people. They can tell you what your customers are saying, and how they are saying it. Ask them to tell you what words and phrases your customers and audience are using, and what language will resonate with them.
Going forward, make a commitment to using this language on your website, in your blog posts, and anywhere your target audience will see it. A good relationship starts with both parties speaking the same language; you can’t expect your customers to start speaking your language, so you need to make the effort to start speaking theirs. Good luck!