The best class that I took during my shortened higher-education career was definitely a class titled, “Writing in Business.” It set the basis on which my business writing skills have been created.
During the 4 years that our business has existed, along with my side projects, failed business ventures, and my blogs, I’ve probably written hundreds of thousands of words through e-mails, interacting with our customers and fans, and creating copy, ads, and setting up systems.
That’s a lot.
I’ve recently started writing and editing documents for other businesses and they’ve been amazed with what I’ve come up with. There definitely is an art to writing business documents. The business writing style isn’t something that they teach in school. Heaven forbid, we actually learn something useful!
I’ve always thought that my business writing skills have been above-average but there really isn’t anything that I can compare them to. The feedback I’ve received lately has confirmed this but has also opened my eyes to the fact that most micro businesses could use help with their writing. You see, we’re either motorcycle mechanics, make-up artists, or photographers and those are things that just come naturally to us. Writing however, probably doesn’t.
As a micro entrepreneur, you’re many things; secretary, head of marketing, bookkeeper, and negotiator….but writer? Not so much. This is an area that has a large effect on a lot of aspects of your business. It’s up to you to use it to your advantage but in most instances, it’s working against you.
But you aren’t to blame. You have a lot on your plate and writing takes time, energy, and brain power. I’m sure it’s the last thing you want to do after you’ve been busy putting out fires all day.
Without further ado, some tips for better business writing.
- Write to a specific audience. Write as if you’re talking to a single customer.
- Write to the type of customer that you want to attract. If you want to attract aspiring models, use language and terms that they can relate to.
- Help potential customers realize that you’re talking to them. Say something like “are you a vintage motorcycle enthusiast who needs a professional, experienced mechanic to work on your motorcycle?” if you want to attract vintage motorcycle enthusiasts who need someone to work on their motorcycle.
- Trigger their emotions. People aren’t always rational. They buy with their emotions; not their rationality.
- Share action steps with your audience. Tell them what you want them to do! If you want them to follow you on Facebook, say “please follow us on Facebook if you’ve found our information helpful.” Or something like that.
- Make it easy for them to follow through on your action steps. If you want them to e-mail you, share your e-mail address a couple of times. Better yet, give a direct link for them to write you with. Nothing worse than confusing potential customers. Major turn-off.
- Make things as simple as possible. Do not use big words, do not beat around the bush, and do not make people guess.
- When dealing with irate customers, try to defuse the situation. Apologize even if you know they’re in the wrong. Offer solutions that make them feel like they’re in control of the situation.
- Write things from your customers’ point-of-view. Your business doesn’t exist to serve you; it exists to serve your customers. Give the people what they want!
- Be as professional as possible. Bad grammar and misspelled words will make potential customers question your intelligence and professionalism. That’s never good.
- Remember, it’s all about the customer’s perception of you and your business. What do you want them to think?
- Everything once its published online or elsewhere, can be seen forever. Think twice before writing something nasty. It will almost always come back to bite you in the butt.
- Whatever you write is technically a part of your marketing efforts.
- You could have the coolest, greatest widget in the history of the world but if you can’t effectively tell your customers how awesome it really is, none of that will matter because you won’t sell a damn thing.
- Be as friendly as possible. If people e-mail you, e-mail them back in a timely manner. Ask them a question and keep the conversation going.
- Don’t be a d*ck. Most of the time, customers do business with a certain business because of the people…why do you think customer service is so important?
- I realize the title of this post is “15 Tips for Better Business Writing” and this is number 17. Point in case, undersell and give your customers a little extra whenever you can.