When Foreign Companies Write for English-Speaking Customers

A fellow blogger, whose first language is Spanish, recently shared the benefits of writing his personal blog in English. Among those benefits were reaching a larger (English-speaking) audience and accommodating search engines which prefer English. However, one of his reasons gave me pause: You get to practice English.

Practicing is a great thing to do on a personal blog. But when you are writing marketing copy for English-speaking customers, you do not want to practice. Here are three reasons:

1. When you make mistakes in standard English or colloquial English, native English speakers often infer that it will be difficult to communicate with your staff. Unfortunately, most native English speakers have only one language. They may prefer working with companies that are fluent in English.

2. Your English may be both standard and colloquial, but your marketing copy may mix up cultural and other clues. One off-shore copywriter described a service as “year round” that, in large parts of the US, would only be feasible in summer. Another off-shore copywriter unwittingly lauded a product that violated US electrical codes.

3. If your company is based in an English-speaking country, a struggle with standard English or colloquial English implies that it is based off-shore. Geography may be an issue with some of your customers; you need them to understand immediately that they are dealing with a local company.

Regardless of where your company is based, whether in the US or abroad, you should use a copywriter whose first language is the language of your customers. As a professional copywriter, I have helped many companies deliver a strong, culturally sensitive marketing message in standard and colloquial US English.

If the language of your customers is English, I can definitely help. Please contact me today.

 

Before You Start Writing

Before you start writing any marketing copy, whether a blog, newsletter, website, success story, proposal or article, you should know the answers to these four questions:

1. What does your customer want? Your marketing copy must provide a solution for the customer’s problem. You have to know the problem, be able to solve it, want to solve it and know how to communicate all that to the customer.

2. Where do your customers hang out? Do they search the web or newspapers? Are they more likely to read an article in a magazine or a story on your blog?

3. How much time are you prepared to spend? A regular newsletter or blog takes time; so does tweeting and maintaining a Facebook presence. Do you have the resources?

4. What is your deadline? A website or proposal that is four years in the finishing is four years overdue. Your marketing copy can’t start working for you until it reaches your customers.

If you are having trouble defining and reaching your audience or finding the resources and time to complete writing projects, contact me. At TWP Marketing & Technical Communications, our words mean business.

Differentiating Yourself from the Competition

Are you doing less to make your company stand out than you do for yourself?

If you were writing a resume, you would differentiate yourself from your competitors by stressing your specific skills and accomplishments and by focusing on the information the company expressly asked for in its job posting.

The same tactics work in differentiating your company from its competitors:

  • Be specific. Define “excellent customer service” with statistics, testimonials and success stories. If your work is extremely accurate, define “extremely”: within a mile or an inch or a millionth of an inch?
  • Take credit. If you “have the capability of repairing a car in 24 hours,” then you repair cars in 24 hours. The italic statement is more concise, stronger and more believable. “Having a capability” means nothing unless you follow through and use it. So stand up for what you do.
  • Let your customers in on the secret. Never assume your customers know what you do or how you do it. Everyone in your industry may use environmentally friendly chemicals. Make sure your customers know you use environmentally friendly chemicals.
  • Focus your message. Researchers have proven that people can remember at most 4 chunks of new information. Stay under that limit and concentrate your marketing copy (each marketing brochure, website page, blog, press release or success story) on one idea at a time.

Need help in writing marketing copy that differentiates your company from the competition? Give TWP Marketing & Technical Communications a call.

Add Wow to Your Marketing Message, Part 2: Advice on Adjectives

Does your company offer state-of-the-art products, best-in-class service in a proactive environment focused on delivering cost-effective, timely projects in a collaborative environment?

Join the group.

Millions of companies turn themselves into clones by relying on well-worn adjectives in their marketing copy instead of explaining what they do and how they do it. What makes a product state-of-the-art: what benchmarks has it met, what awards has it won and what techniques does it use? What makes service best in class: what do customers say? Are statistics available to prove cost-effectiveness and timeliness? Will company biographies, success stories and general tone testify to the collaborative environment?

No one ever writes marketing copy to brag about poorly built products and lousy customer service delivered weeks late in complete chaos. If they did, the opening statement of this blog might serve as a differentiator. It doesn’t.

When you search out strings of vague adjectives in your marketing copy, you can begin to truly differentiate your company by substituting details on when, where, how and why you do what you do. I’ll talk about that more in Part 3.

For marketing copy and technical writing that help your company to stand out from the group, contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications.