What Does “Concise” Mean?

Oh, those readers who give you a few seconds to deliver your message and capture their interest! You need concise marketing copy but how do you get concise and avoid boring?

The wrong way is to pack every bit of information about your company into a 35-word sentence or a huge list explaining everything you can do. No one enjoys a monologue; readers today are especially impatient to get to the point. And the point, for your customers, is not “what can your company do?” but “how can it solve my problem?”

So here are the rules for being concise:

  1. Know what your readers are looking for and direct them there. Even giant retailers like Amazon quickly send readers to that one object they want most. Surely you can do the same.
  2. Be precise. If your product is “more efficient,” then explain how efficient and by what measure. If your service is “customer-centric,” then provide testimonials, case studies, photos, or awards that emphasize your customer-first approach.
  3. Be direct. Turn “we are engaged in the manufacture of” into “we manufacture.” Turn “we are able to deliver” into “we deliver.” If you “are known for engaging teams,” then you “engage teams.”
  4. Avoid repetition. You must keep product and service names consistent, but English is lush with synonyms. An unexpected word like “lush” keeps the reader’s interest.
  5. Write like you talk. Use short words (under 4 syllables), short sentences (averaging 25 words), and short paragraphs (averaging 3 sentences). You are not dumbing down. You are making your marketing copy accessible fast and you are establishing a friendly relationship–just as you would talking one-on-one.

If you keep your readers clearly in mind, are precise and direct, avoid repetition, and write like you talk, you will find that your marketing copy automatically becomes more concise. But if you are still having problems saying exactly what you want to say, please contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. Our words mean business.

Writing for Customers: Concise Versus Clear

I’ve never bought a product or service because the salesperson wouldn’t shut up. Well, there was this car dealer once…

But here’s my point: in their marketing collateral, in print and online, many businesses try to make a sale by “outtalking” their customers. They are desperate for customers to read their entire message. So they pack information into a single long phrase or sentence, whether or not it makes sense.

One company’s website stated: “We provide power delivery concept selection support.” The phrase “power delivery concept selection support” could mean almost anything. A rewrite makes the company’s actual service clear: “We help large factories decide on the most efficient and economical method for generating power.” True, the rewrite takes eight more words. But those eight words are the difference between “outtalking” a customer and communicating, the difference between being concise and being clear.

In the same way, one long sentence demands more of the customer’s time and effort than two short sentences. Take this example from another website: “Customers can replace their existing multiple systems used to perform budgeting, reporting, billing and forecasting functions for tracking different products from different suppliers with one fully integrated system.” Now, here’s the rewrite: “Our system tracks every product you purchase from every supplier. It handles all of your separate budgeting, reporting, billing and forecasting functions—replacing multiple systems with one fully integrated system.” The rewrite is just a little less concise–it adds two words–but it is a lot clearer.

Customers are reading your brochure, website or other marketing collateral to find out about your company, product or service. So you want to make their learning curve easy. Your first duty is to write clearly. Then you can worry about being concise.

You might set yourself this task. Hunt through your copy for more than two nouns in a row and for any sentence longer than 18 words. Then rewrite. The results will amaze you. Your content will gain energy, interest, power and clarity. At TWP Marketing & Technical Communications, we’ve helped many companies move from outtalking customers to truly communicating. Let us help you.