Never underestimate the power of words

Jenny (right), the girls, babies and their GUMIGEMs

I’m proud to welcome Jenny McLaughlan of GUMIGEM, the original UK teething necklace. Jenny has written a fascinating guest blog about the importance of communication for a small business.

As a new business with limited finance to spend on advertisements, I rely heavily on the use of social media, editorials and the content of my site to get my message heard. It is only since discovering Words by Fiona Kyle I have finally recognised the value in taking time and thought around this area. I know it sounds daft, of course you should be careful and thoughtful about what and how you communicate, but as a small enterprise it can be a real struggle. With so many things to juggle, you just tweet, post, update your site and send emails without really considering what they are saying!

One challenge is that you think as you write and although you’re sending out the right message and informing people about your products, sometimes when you have a product and a business that you know inside out, your communications have a certain level of assumed knowledge in them without even realising you’re doing it. So when you think you’re being clear about how to enter a competition or indeed certain key points about your product, it is vital to get another pair of eyes to have a look. They don’t have that same insider knowledge and can quickly assess and identify gaps in your communication. An example I would give of this is my first ever batch of flyers which had the words ‘for mum to wear…. and baby to enjoy!’ What does that mean? Well to me it made sense, but in actual fact to everybody else it did not! It did not tell anyone what the product actually was.

Social media has been the main source of attracting customers to my site, and this too needs careful thought. On Twitter you are limited to just 140 characters, something I personally find so difficult as I always have a lot to say! So how do you get something that is punchy but also interesting? The aim is to engage people and encourage them to follow you, visit your site and ideally become a customer. That’s a lot to achieve in just 140 characters. Talk too much about your own business and you put people off, focus on more personal issues and you don’t get them making a trip to your site. So getting the balance right is key and this is something I am still learning about! The way we do business is changing as technology advances. This has many advantages as it frees up our time as we are able to engage and reach customers far faster than the traditional way of having to seek out face to face engagements. The disadvantage is that the words we choose and how we communicate, just like first impressions, last. They build up your personality and send people a message about who you are and what you are about. So never underestimate the power of words.

For me I am very guilty of being rushed, this means you don’t pay as much attention to the detail as you should. Newsletters with spelling mistakes and poor grammar just send out the wrong message and can look so unprofessional. Another reason for just taking a step back once in a while and asking for someone to give it the once over, it may be frustrating you have to wait another day to get that exciting newsletter out there, but then at least it’s right, looks professional and will have more impact.

It’s a learning curve and like all things in life, we won’t get it right all of the time. Some people like Coke and others Pepsi, some will like your chosen style of communication, others won’t. But as a business you want to aim for communication that has interest, impact and is heard and not drowned out by all the other tweets, posts and websites out there. So my lesson and one I am still very much learning is that what we say and how we say it is as important to a business as the products we sell. Without the right words and communication, we won’t succeed.

Thanks so much Jenny for your guest blog and a really interesting insight into getting your message heard as a new, small business. For more information about GUMIGEM visit http://www.gumigem.co.uk or email sales@gumigem.co.uk

If you want to chat about how to get your message out there, please drop me a line on fiona@wordsbyfionakyle.co.uk

Advertisements

2 responses to this post.

  1. Nice article and you are correct…so many corporates want to blab on about how good they are but forget to talk to the audience in an understandable language. “You” is a good word in your online copy and “We” is a bad word. Always talk to them about them and what’s in it for them.
    BTW, the above is much easier said than done and explains why most people get it wrong…it’s so very different to print and all that shout marketing stuff from many years ago. In fact, if anyone thinks that online copy is something like print or brochure territory, they have failed.
    Web Critic.

    Reply

  2. Thanks for that blog entry it was very insightful. As a small business selling jewellery (yes I know so does almost everyone else LOL) I find it really difficult to get myself out there – people seem to rave and say how fabulous and stunning it is but hands stay firmly out of their pockets!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: