The power of words in marketing and communication

Words are immensely powerful!  Spoken, written, or our thoughts – the power words wield over our lives can be seen since the beginning of time.  

‘In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’  Powerful words written in the Bible – John 1.1.

This verse itself has a lesson to teach us about the power of ‘the Word’! 

If you are anything like me – words can have you in tears in one moment, raging the next and singing joyfully from the rooftops in the next moment.  Words have the power for visions to come alive for the listener – depending on the skill of wordsmith. 

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.  We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair.  Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to humiliate and to humble.”  Yehuda Berg

All too often I have listened to entrepreneurs introducing themselves and their business to their peers in a networking environment and failing dismally to capture the remotest of interest from their audience.  More’s the pity actually, because knowing their business as I do, I do believe they could have quite easily gained a few potential clients in the room if their words had been calibrated for heart connections, interest or hearing that day. 

Words are not just the letters strung together to form a word in a particular language.  Words – depending on the way they are used in a sentence carry a powerful tone and energy and if unskillfully shared can result in an undesired reaction from its audience.   

A personal dislike of mine just happens to be marketing communications that shout -: Last Chance! or VIP Access or Limited Access or WAS and NOW… surely people realize that the world and it’s people have evolved since the hard sell days of the 80’s.  I spent a lifetime in retail – the ‘hard sell language is a staple in the environment where goods are packed high to fly.  Forgivable in a mass-market environment where the audience are price sensitive and hunting for low for the best deal on baked beans.  Not so groovy in your email inbox which you read in the privacy of your home.  

When I work with my strategy clients I like to ask them what their words are – in their business and in their private lives – you will find that everyone has words that they live by and have ultimately become their anthems.  Mine is ‘community’.  What’s yours? 

When writing our strategies for our clients we like to review our client’s target audiences – designing Avitar customers with personalities, style, lifestyles and demographics and psychographics and a ‘word bank’ – depicting the customer’s language and potential word usage.  It’s so important to use words that resonate with your audience when communicating with them – it allows for an open channel.

Words become the very fabric that holds your business together – they steer your tone, voice, style and personality and governs the way you show up in audiences.  Your words will reflect your world – how, where, when, where, with who and why you show up.  They allow you the freedom of speech in certain communities – and they have the uncanny ability to mute your responses in others.   

There are plenty of articles and blogs out there on the power of headlines and marketing words. This is not that blog.  This blog is here to shine a light on a road less travelled.  In this blog, I would like to leave you with an alternative option as an entrepreneur or marketer when looking at using powerful words and headliners that will attract the attention of your audience. 

I would, therefore, like to invite you to forget about ‘hooking’ your audience.  Forget about funnelling them with words – click now, buy here, download now…last chance.  Why not talk to your customer.  Why not have a real honest conversation.  Show yourself to be a human with feelings, understanding and above all a heart.  Talk – don’t sell. And make sure your audience sees, feels and understands that it’s a two-way conversation and there is a space for their response to your piece of communication with them – be it in the comments section, an email address they can contact or a telephone number they can call that has a real live person responding to their queries or concerns.  “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne

It’s important to meet your audience where they are in their lives today.  Use words that matter to them here and now – not 5 years ago. Be relevant.  Be topical.  Be respectful.  Be understanding.  Be honest.  Be authentic.  Be vulnerable.  Offer real solutions, answers or products that are available now and will make a difference in their lives. (not just bring you sales or bookings) Think of the old fashioned conversation neighbours had over the fence in suburbia – and meet your customer in their world.  Think about it – if your offer is a good fit – it won’t be a hard sell it will be a timely solution.

Real power has to do with one’s ability to influence the hearts and minds of others. Dalai Lama

 If we constantly use words that are flighty, urgent or sale-related we will attract bargain hunter customers.  They will always expect a bargain and will either wait for your next ‘sale’ or hunt for others who offer bargains while you don’t.  We train our customers to shop in line with our marketing words.  So use your words carefully.  

In my experience, people like words that flow.  They enjoy positive words, words that make them feel good, pique their interest and treat them like the VIP’s in our lives that they are.  Customers also like to be armed with as much information as possible. They want to make an informed decision.  That means giving them a rundown on the features and benefits of your offer.  Empowering them with the facts for an informed decision.  An informed customer is a receptive customer.  

Marketing is a science.  In my mind its a matter of initial chemistry, a pledge or promise to do good business in sickness and in health (yes – like a marriage) and for longevity – relationship management for a healthy, mutually beneficial business relationship based on authentic, mindful communication, respect, service delivery and boundaries.

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne

So if we consider the above analogy – you should use words that shower your customer with respect, understanding, honesty, vulnerability, truth and transparency.  Make an emotional connection with them.  Share your values, culture and thinking. Focus on their meeting their needs and their feelings.  When in doubt go with the heart – heart centred communications will result in a heart-centred response.  Do what you can to ensure that they are happy – if you can’t -walk away with dignity for all.  Respect each other’s family and friends taking no-one for granted and always being friendly and professional.  Give of yourself and in turn, be open to receiving.  Make them feel special – at all times-during every step of the purchasing experience with your business. All customers matter – always. Get to know your customer – extremely well and makes sure you tailor-make their experience at all times.   

In conclusion, Gary Chapman in his book, ‘Love as a Way of Life’, uses the vicarial metaphor for ‘words’ as being either bullets or seeds.  You as the marketer or entrepreneur living in this post Covid19 world where we are all called to reinvent the way we live and do business have the personal choice of spewing bullets or sowing seeds.     I know which route I’m going… do you?