It’s surprising how quickly company letters and autoresponder messages can start to feel out of date. We review ours every few years and it is always worth the effort. I think there are several reasons why the refresh is so very useful.
Websites are increasingly written in a conversational flow of language. Day to day we don’t notice but that conversational language is subtly changing all the time. A product or service that is cutting edge when you launched, maybe mainstream three years later. There might even be a slightly different name that is in common use.
We’ve all watched movies and noticed that the mobile phone is enormous. It’s the same when you write for an online audience. A 2021 autoresponder about your SEO product would be very different from the customer message drafted back in 2019 when it was fair to assume the concept was still fresh to many business managers. You might forget to go back and update the autoresponder message to download a product brochure. To the customer, the message might have a dated feeling that could undermine confidence in your offering.
A client of ours recently asked us to review all their communications. These messages had been written over several years by different staff members. The information itself was still accurate but the tone varied from friendly customer chat to lawyer-speak. A customer who went through the whole sales journey might be confused by the differing tones in the correspondence. Our client wanted a warm upbeat feeling which was more consistent with their product and customer base.
COVID is just one example of how world events have an impact on how people feel. It’s useful to consider these big shifts in mood. You’ll notice that people will express concerns to you over the phone first. Notice if you start to hear consistent themes. It might be worth updating your messaging to add a subtle emphasis to some aspect of the message to show that your company is paying special attention to their area of concern.
There are many words that have variations in spelling from country to country. I’ve also noticed that applying a strict correct punctuation rule can just sound wrong. This is because people no longer speak like that. My recommendation is to do what sounds and feels right and apply it consistently to your house style. A review of templates can be a great opportunity to ensure consistency.
Data To Ink
One of our team uses the phrase “data to ink” when he’s reviewing online writing. He is the master at peeling back words and punctuation to what is absolutely essential. This makes the copy skimmable which is a big help to busy customers. There is less on the page so they take in what is important. More than ever, we recommend the “less is more” approach.
Lessen the Load & Speed Up The Sale
Make your autoresponder an opportunity to reduce your workload. Add links to pages containing details people regularly ask about. Make it easy for prospects to go ahead and book or buy.