Monthly Archives: October 2017

Ghoulish English Scares Your Clients Away

In advance of Hallowe’en I joined a freaky quiz night on Friday the 13th. The perfect day in Western superstition for some ghoulish games.

The questions were all Hallowe’en related and sooooo hard. It was like Trivial Pursuit, professors edition.

Do you know the name of the narrator in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video? Step away from Google!

Luckily we had wine and snacks so the quiz answers became incidental to the evening’s enjoyment and possibly more ridiculous as time went on.

Our best round was the anagrams, making sense of something already there. Once we knew the theme you can unpick the puzzle. Without the theme and a few heads working together, our willpower would have been severely drained.

The problem is though, I see so many businesses testing their potential buyer’s willpower and intelligence.

Complicated phrases known only to industry insiders, a maze of a website with no clear structure – the visitor is left in confusion. Where do they go? What’s the next step? Why on earth were they here in the first place?

If you’re doing the same, you’re scaring your customers away like a wailing banshee on a dark night.

Bad writing is one way that your message gets distorted, sending your prospective customers running into the arms of a more coherent competitor.

And to a British visitor, bad writing often equates to that common variant of foreign English. Denglish, Franglais, Svenglish, whichever language it’s mixed with the result is the same.

At best the meaning is clear despite the awkward phrasing.

At worst it’s insulting and confusing.

So let’s unpick the message and guide your British buyers to their first purchase. I’ll unravel the anagrams and create the safe space they need from all the ghoulish English floating about on the web.

Click here to sign up for language, culture and marketing tips to win more English-speaking clients.

A Brit, a Pole and a Greek Cypriot went for a curry

Recently I was at my friend Agata’s house for a surprise birthday curry. Her husband had gathered her closest friends and I found myself one of two British people in the room. My favourite kind of meet up.

There are so many stories, how we all met each other, why we settled in the UK and why we stayed. Hint: it’s usually down to a man. (I include myself in this as I’d applied for a job in Heidelberg when I met Mark.)

Polish, Cypriot, French, British, talking about our absent Czech and Russian friends and eating Indian food washed down with Spanish wine. I’m sure we could have crow barred a few more nationalities in there somewhere, three of us also speak German.

But the main topics of conversation were our husbands’ lack of aptitude for DIY, our careers and new directions, our parents, lack of time, and car maintenance issues.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Your international customers have exactly the same concerns as you on a day-to-day basis. Of course there’s room for variation and the cultural setting has an influence but people are people are people.

In this group of friends we were all female, roughly the same age, with children, mortgages, spoke multiple languages and worried about issues such as:
how we are bringing up our children, when they would leave home (!), when we’ll have more time for the travel we love, how to keep fit and healthy, the ease of getting tyres changed, the impact our husbands’ work has on their health, family time etc.

A similar group of men would have different concerns – in fact the two men present had scuttled off to another room to talk about gadgets and watch sport. Yes it’s a cliché but true in this case.

Understanding your ideal client means getting detailed information on their age, gender, interests and what their worries, hopes, and fears are. This kind of information means you can talk to them on a level. It gives you your customer avatar, a persona of your ideal client and is the absolute foundation for all your marketing.

Plus, it allows you to get creative while knowing you’re still talking to the right people.

No more corporate zombie speak trying to please everyone. If you don’t know who your ideal client is, you’ll find yourself trying to appeal and talk to everyone.

You can’t get specific, you can’t be interesting.

And your reader might question whether you have the right service for them – in the absence of any direct benefits they will fill in their own version of reality. Potentially with reasons why your service won’t work for them.

The more you understand your ideal client, the more appealing you make your marketing, and the fewer doubts your reader will have.

If you’d like help understanding your British ideal client, let’s talk. We have the same hopes, needs and fears as you but the way we express them is slightly different. You’ve got the products and services, I’ve got the British market insights and native English skills.
Click here and tell me what you need to know.