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How to make your Message Both Technical and Clear

IKEA ad two aliens building their furniture

It’s hard to sell a product or service that you can’t describe clearly. You may have the most efficient, powerful tool in your industry, but if you can’t tell customers what it does and how it makes their lives easier, then you’ll always be fighting an upward battle to make sales and gain user trust.

Simplifying your message is not about trying to explain your product to a 5th Grader. It's making sure the value of your product or service is easily understood by your target customers.

Technical copywriting is one of many levels of copywriting. Every Healthcare, medical manufacturing, high-tech industry with an engineering or scientific audience has a need to convert its complex text into compelling copy.

Good technical writing should aim to educate and present solutions to complex concepts and match your message to your customers pain points.

To do that, your copy needs to meet them where they are.

One of the hurdles in communicating technical or complex content is The curse of knowledge. This is a cognitive bias that occurs when we communicate with someone and assume that the other person has the same background knowledge as us.

The key to simplifying complex content is to understand who your audience is and to make sure your content is enjoyable for your audience to read

IKEA Billy instructions

In 2021, IKEA saw an opportunity to redesign its instruction manuals after the US government released an ambiguous statement that essentially said "aliens aren't not real" Here's what we can learn from IKEAs Furniture for all Campaign

1. Meet your audience where they’re at Do they know they have a problem? Are they aware of solutions? How technical are they? Structure your messaging to lead with what matters most to your customer. 2. Adjust to your customer’s perspective You may have helped bring this product to life - You understand it in a way that a customer won’t. The language you use to describe your product to other insiders won’t translate when you explain it to customers. Replace Jargon. You may think you're sounding smart using Industry buzzwords like “confluence,” “business solutions,” and “drive customer value” but Buzzwords go in one ear, and out the other. Keep them for your shareholder meetings. An alternative to jargon is to use “sticky” language. Use stories, sensory words and visual imagery. When customers read sticky language, their mind has something to hold onto and remember.

Listen to how your customers describe your product and borrow their language to write your copy. 9 out of 10 - They'll be able to describe your product more clearly than you can.

IKEA get it delivered image

3. Short Words, Simple Sentences Use short words instead of long ones and break up long sentences. Learn to embrace white space instead of large blocks of text. You can use a tool like the Hemingway app to help you edit and highlight sentences and words that are overly complex.

4. Focus on your 1 Single Most Important Message Every message you write must have one core idea. Cut any extra stuff if it distracts your audience from your core message. Trim your copy to your core idea and use key details to support it. 5. Benefits First, Features Second Focus on outcomes instead of specs. Almost every company that sees themselves and not the customer as the hero will get this wrong and try and promote their features first.

Communicate first the problem you’re solving and describe how you’re solving it. Once your customers can see how your technology relates to their needs they’ll be happy to learn how your state-of-the-art product works.

Apple manages to get the right balance. Some readers just need an overview; while others want to know the details

Apple Mac Features

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