Marketing Channels, Marketing Planning & Reporting

Why Jargon Can Ruin Your Marketing Content & How to Avoid it

Content has become a vital part of every small business’s marketing mix. But if you want it to work, you have to make sure to speak your target market’s language. Using your industry’s jargon is an easy mistake to make, but it can ruin your entire marketing.

It can be incredibly tempting to show people “how qualified” you are by jumping in with the lingo you’ve come to know inside out along the way. While it reads perfectly to you, that is not always the case when it comes to your clients!

So let’s have a look at why jargon can ruin your marketing content and my 4 top tips to help you avoid it and see better results!

How to Avoid Jargon in Your Marketing Content
Photo by YakobchukOlena from Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

To jargon…

One thing to keep in mind is that jargon is not always a bad thing for your marketing content. But whether using it is helpful or detrimental to your cause depends on who you’re talking to.

For example, when you are addressing a group of peers, there’s no need to hold back on industry-specific vocabulary. Quite the opposite, doing otherwise might make you seem unprofessional or even condescending.

But while marketing your small business, you’re often talking to an audience who doesn’t have your background or expertise. A thorough look into your target audience will show you what to expect and how to word your next advert or newsletter.

Read more about how to define a target market for your small business.

Or not to jargon

To make sure your marketing activities help your small business grow, your content needs to present your services and products in the best light. But one thing that’s sure to confuse your readers and prevent sales from happening is your industry’s jargon.

Any lingo you’re using internally for your products or processes can be alienating potential clients. You only have seconds to grab people’s attention and if they don’t understand you, they’ll simply walk away.

So keeping an eye on the language you’re using in your marketing content is important to finding new clients and customers.

4 tips to avoid jargon in your marketing content

So what can you do to avoid alienating potential customers on social media, on your website or in your advert? Here are four steps to make sure your small business marketing copy is accessible to all:

1. Think like your customers

Think Like Your Customer
Photo by anilakkus from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

When you write for your target market, put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself:

  • What do people ask for when contacting you?
  • What words do they use to describe what they’re looking for?
  • How did existing clients describe your services in their online review or testimonial?

Use these insights to promote your products or services and their benefits. And make sure to use your customers’ language whenever possible.

2. Avoid acronyms

If you ask me, acronyms are the worst part of any jargon. CTA, SEO, USP, KISS, SMART, AIDA, CRM, PPC, SaaS, UX – take your pick, marketing is full of them. But it’s also a sure way to make people’s eyes glaze over when seeing them on a leaflet.

So in order to improve your marketing content and get the results you’re looking for, avoid them in your copy if possible. If you find you have to use one, tell the reader what it means when you use it for the first time and add the long version in brackets.

For example, we’ll use SEO. The first time you use it, be sure to say “Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)”. This way you remove the assumption that they know what it means, while further showing your own expertise.

3. Use tools

How to Avoid Jargon in Your Marketing Content
Photo by Lifestock via Canva Pro

One thing that keeps me honest when writing marketing content for myself or my clients is the Up-Goer Five text editor. It’s a really efficient way to de-jargon your small business’s marketing copy.

Simply copy and paste your text into the box. It will highlight every word that’s not among the one thousand most used words in the English language. Slightly infuriating, but very helpful.

4. The granny test

I was introduced to the granny test when I started working as a copywriter. And I’ve used it ever since. It’s another great way to get rid of any jargon or lingo in your small business marketing content.

Simply choose somebody with a completely different background and knowledge base to your own and let them read your draft. Ideally, they’re part of the audience you’re targeting with your marketing but anybody outwith your own industry will do.

If they don’t get it, it’s time to do some editing. This sort of feedback is invaluable – the tunnel vision you can develop when you’re caught up in your industry can stop you from seeing where changes need to be made.

So there you have it – 4 ways to ensure jargon doesn’t ruin your marketing efforts!


To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Write Compelling Copy in 12 Steps
4 Tips for a Web Copy That Converts
6 Tips to Convert More Website Visitors Into Paying Customers
Content Marketing Ideas – A Brainstorming Tool for Small Businesses

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.