Experts in certain industries may find it challenging to communicate complex concepts related to their niche in layman's terms. But for business owners and marketers, the ability or inability to get their message across to potential customers has a direct impact on their company's bottom line.
These seven entrepreneurs share their best tips on how to connect with your target audience by adjusting your communication style and learning how to explain even complicated concepts clearly and effectively.
Keep it simple.
"I run a video company that operates predominantly in the legal space. Many of our clients come to us knowing video is important, but not really knowing why," explains Crisp Video Group CEO Michael Mogill.
According to Mogill, keeping things simple and tying them back to the client's goals is crucial. "We try to simplify complicated concepts by tying them to tangible business goals for the client. For instance, we'll explain how higher quality videos positively impact SEO, which drives more site traffic and therefore more conversions," he says.
Some concepts that are difficult to grasp may require examples to ensure comprehension, according to Lindsey Groepper, president of BLASTmedia. "My target audience is marketing directors at SaaS companies and I sell PR. When the target doesn't understand media relations, rather than verbally explaining what we do, I show it by providing a sample client report," she explains.
This helps because it brings clear context to the discussion: "By seeing something they can hold in their hands, they are able to say 'yes, I want that.'"
Make it interesting.
A great way to help your target audience understand what you have to say is by making it interesting to them. "I have led multiple businesses with very unique value propositions and core products that are off the radars of most people. I have found that the best way to engage people with whom I am discussing my businesses is to pique their interest by revealing an interesting fact," shares The Veloz Group CEO Adam Mendler.
Once you pique their interest, people are "far more inclined to listen closely, which allows your message to be more effectively received," he explains.
Use relatable analogies.
In addition to making it interesting, an effective way to ensure a concept is easily understood involves using analogies. "In my industry, we talk about SEO, PPC and many other processes that clients or audiences know they need but may not understand entirely. So, I've explained the value proposition of our service with analogies," says Duran Inci, co-founder and COO of Optimum7.
According to Inci, an example that illustrates this strategy is equating SEO with a personalized diet and exercise regime: "It needs to be tailored for each business and you need time to see the results."
Tell a compelling story.
For many concepts that are challenging to explain, storytelling may be the best option. That's because people tend to relate to stories more than they do to cold, hard facts.
"If you're an expert in your industry and you're unable to explain why your product or service is valuable to an audience without bringing up data, white paper reports and technical terms no one can relate to, tell a story with a real-world example of why it all matters," says Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP. "Audiences want personalized interactions; that's what sells in today's economy. Great stories can easily empower your audience."
Provide information in multiple formats.
"People absorb new ideas in different ways so it's best to give them choices," says Kalin Kassabov, founder and CEO of ProTexting. Consider a strategy in which you deliver information in multiple formats.
"Some people like to talk verbally via a phone conversation, some like to read reports or white papers, while others respond better to infographics, case studies or videos," he explains. To ensure his message gets across and the concepts he communicates are understood, Kassabov likes to give customers and prospects "a wide choice of platforms."
Talk about their pain points.
One of the most effective ways to make yourself understood is to address customers' pain points and explain how you can solve their problems, according to Jen Cadmus, founder and CEO of The Dialog Lab.
"A quality product or service solves a problem for its users, so start there. Discuss the pain point your audience identifies with and the benefit of solving it," she explains. "People first want to know how you will improve their lives, even if they don't fully understand how it works yet."