Have you ever visited a website, spent about 10 minutes on it, and still left wondering what exactly that company does? If yes, you have definitely experienced the confusion of gobbledygook.
Gobbledygook is jargon or technical language that is incomprehensible to a mainstream audience. When companies incorporate it in their language, it sounds a lot like this: “We are the flexible scalable solution for improving business process with cutting-edge technology because we have mission-critical applications.” After reading this, you are left thinking, “So what the hell do they do?"
Gobbledygook exists in a lot of marketing materials and, ironically, it’s only good at reducing your marketability. “When you are talking to your existing and potential customers your job is to use the language that they use,” says David Meerman Scott. “Don’t speak using your own egotistical jargon."
Eliminate the Gobbledygook
Gobbledygook doesn’t help your potential customers find you. It not only makes you boring and strips you out of a unique identity, but it also turns you into a mirror of your competition. What is more, it can actually start costing you a lot in the context of search marketing. If all companies in your industry are focused on the same keywords, these phrases become more competitive and expensive to rank for. So eliminate the gobbledygook and, as David says, “speak like a real human."
How to Find the Right Words
The best way to find the right language to use across your website and in your marketing materials is by listening to your customers. For example, David pointed out, if you are a marketing manager at a hotel, you can look into the customer reviews you’ve received. People will use their own words to describe your services and thus guide your marketing language.
Interviewing your customers and finding patterns in their language is another way to shape your marketing lingo. If a message resonates with your audience and is right for them, it’s a great opportunity for you. “Then, you are using the actual words and the actual phrases that people are using around your marketplace,” says David.
Look for Data to Support Your Choice
Are you using a marketing analytics solution that tells you what words searchers entered to find you? Such intelligence offers valuable information for marketing as it shows you how people talk about your industry. (Although getting to this data might be more difficult with Google’s update to organic search results on SSL search).
So go to your website today and eliminate all the gobbledygook.
Originally published Oct 24, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017