In the great sea of online information about how small businesses, nonprofits, and freelancers can use social media to reach more customers, I’ve noticed a troubling thing: most of the information is geared towards people who already know the lingo.


Those who make it their business to write about or teach online marketing need to make sure they’re not excluding professionals who aren’t familiar with the jargon.


Imagine walking into your first beginner ballet class and having the instructor say “Alright class, get into first position,” without actually explaining or demonstrating ‘first position’ to newcomers. You’d likely find yourself looking at the other students to see what they’re doing. What if they’re not setting good examples to follow?


If your business provides consulting services, take a good hard look at your website text. Consider the following:


1. Are you using jargon and phrasings that will leave many potential ‘entry-level’ clients in the dark about what you’ll actually do for them?


2. Are you trying to make yourself sound more important or intelligent in order to impress potential clients with your ability to sling jargon and buzzwords?


3. In your blog posts, or explanations of what you do for your clients, do you offer concrete examples, like “We will improve your visibility in search engine results,” or do you use vague language, such as “We’ll take your SEO to the next level!”


If you’re looking for clients who already know what they’re doing and you’re not interested in having to educate newcomers, then perhaps your text will work out for you.


On the other hand, if you’re looking to broaden the types of customers you are reaching, consider how you can best incorporate the terms of your industry into your blog posts and marketing text, without alienating potential clients.


Bernadette Geyer provides writing, copy editing, and translation services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and writers. She also leads online workshops on a variety of topics for small businesses and writers. Geyer likes being a small fish in a big pond, and enjoys helping others move to bigger ponds themselves. Subscribe to her monthly news from the big pond if you’re interested in professional growth.

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