Is Industry Jargon Scaring Your Customers Away

Confused by industry jargon

Why You Must Avoid Industry Jargon

All of us, at some stage or another have been bamboozled by industry jargon. There are so many acronyms and industry specific terms out there that you can’t expect to know all of them.

When it happens to you, it’s obvious. You feel like maybe you should know those terms and might be too embarrassed to ask. When your clients are on the receiving end, it may not be obvious to you at all.

Once you’re in an industry for long enough, the terminology and acronyms become second nature. They become so familiar that they become part of your everyday language. It’s likely you use this industry ‘jargon’ without even realising it.

What does this mean for your clients? They may be embarrassed or feel silly that they don’t know these terms. In a face-to-face meeting, phone call or via email they can ask you to clarify; if they can be bothered. When they see industry jargon in your marketing material, do you think they’ll call to find out what it means? Probably not.

Industry Jargon Is A Barrier Between You And Your Clients

This barrier can also be the very first hurdle potential customers stumble upon. If your website or marketing material isn’t in a language they understand, it may get put in the too-hard-basket. Many people simply do not have the time, or can’t be bothered if you make it too hard. They might not want to learn anything new; they just want an easily understandable solution for their problem. The benefits of your solution must be immediately obvious.

While industry jargon may help show you’re knowledgeable, it may make you seem less approachable. Especially to those people that want to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Learn To Speak Their Language

Unless you know you are dealing with people who really do understand your industry jargon, you must speak their language. Getting your message across in plain English isn’t just important, it’s critical. Otherwise, it’s another barrier between you and the people you want to do business with; another barrier between you and a sale.

How To Move From Industry Jargon To Plain English

Here are a few things you can do to get around this problem:
Check all your marketing material for anything that isn’t plain English. If you need to, get someone who has no interest or association with your industry to help you. Because industry jargon is so familiar to you, it may not be obvious to you when you’re using it.

Once you have those terms, you need to translate them into English. As an example, a common acronym used in web design and development is CMS or Content Management System. Neither of these is easily understandable to people who are unfamiliar with them. “Content Management System” sounds complex and may be intimidating. In plain English, it’s just a website that can be easily edited without technical knowledge.

Whatever it is, how does it help people, how do they use it, put it in terms they can relate to and understand.

Don’t remove Jargon Completely

If you completely remove jargon, people who do understand it may have trouble finding you on the internet. They will be searching for those words. If Google or other search engines can’t find these ‘keywords’ on your site, you may not appear in search results.

Instead of completely removing them, use them, but with simple explanations and the benefits.
Try to remember that simple is good. A short and simple explanation is far better than an overly wordy explanation. What is the most important information you are trying to get across?

Jargon’s Ugly Cousin: Buzz Words

While you’re reviewing your marketing material, it’s a good time to go on a buzz word hunt. What are buzz words? They are words that are very popular, trendy, and tend to be overused. One of my favourites is synergy. It’s one of those words that is rarely used outside of marketing material and presentations. If you wouldn’t use a word in a normal conversation, you might want to avoid using it in your marketing material.

Speak the same language as your clients and you’ll both be happy.

Do you think it’s important to speak in plain English? Leave a comment below.