Want to attract customers? Write Simply! Pepe is not impressed by your highfalutin language!

Attract Customers with Simple Writing

Want to attract customers? Write Simply! Pepe is not impressed by your highfalutin language!When you provide helpful, simply written content that fills a need, you’re beginning the process that may  help them to decide to become a customer. When you you click on a link that promised useful content but delivers enough tech-speak to make your eyes cross, you’re not impressed – you’re frustrated!

There’s something beautiful about words simply written. One of my favorite examples is “The Revenant” by Billy Collins, a poem about a dog who has been put to sleep, returning to voice his grievances to his owner. It’s funny, smart, sad and above all, completely accessible. Reading his poem, I’m engaged, I’m interested and I’m ready to hear more. Keep it up, and I might even buy the book or go see Mr. Collins in person.

Contrast this with this poem, “The Female Friend” by Revd. Cornelius Whur (born 1782, no living poets were harmed in the making of this article). The poem is full of gratuitous wordiness, what sounds like intentional lack of clarity, and a puzzling reference to an “accomplished” female friend. I tuned out almost immediately. You?

I may just be a simple person who enjoys simple language, but I think you will find that is the case with most of us. Especially today, when we prefer video to books, images to reading, and have more information options than ever before. .

If You Can’t Explain It Simply, You Simply Don’t Understand It

Yes, there are exceptions. Heart surgery, drug trial findings, electrical schematics, technical manuals – you get a free pass to write in as complex a manner as necessary. Excluding topics like those, if you truly know your subject, you should be able to break it down for even the most inexperienced reader.

Why bother breaking it down? Have you ever powered through an incredibly complex and dry article because you REALLY needed to learn how to do something, only to think by the end, “Why didn’t they just say…..?!??!” Ack! Time wasted and needless frustration d

If You Can'tExplain it Simply,You Simply

o NOT make you want to return, subscribe or share the content.

If you completely understand the ins and outs of your business as well as the needs of your readers, you can make even difficult subjects easy to digest. Put yourselves in their shoes and break it down, step-by-step. Use lists, images, diagrams and printscreens.

When You Don’t Write Simply People Are NOT Impressed

Think you sound more intelligent when you use big words or drone on and on when a simple statement would suffice? You might – to some. However, you’re going to get one of three reactions from your readers:

  • Frustrated because they don’t understand you, they quickly find content they DO understand.
  • They’ll tell you they don’t understand. Always keep these people close. They’ll help you become a better writer! Unfortunately, there is so much information out there that most won’t bother to tell you why they didn’t stick around on your site or inquire about your products or services. They’re just gone.
  • Embarrassed to say they don’t understand, they do whatever you tell them to do. Note: this might be good for immediate cash-flow, but it does not build trust or lead to happy customers.

Write Simply to Educate and Inform

One fabulous and intelligent client of ours had a website full of technical terms suitable only for a small minority of his target audience. When I suggested that the content aimed at those who are not physicians should be modified for better accessibility, his first reaction was, “But, I want to educate people!”

Wonderful! Let’s do it! Fortunately for us, he trusted us enough to allow us to take every single page of that site and rewrite it in terms that we could understand, which meant that his readers would too. While not watering down his message, the pages took on a tone that welcomed rather than intimidated, informed instead of  turning off. It wasn’t that his information wasn’t extremely valuable, it just needed to be presented in a way that was easier to digest.

Have you taken a look at your online content from the perspective of a non-expert customer? What did you find?


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Attract Customers with Simple Writing
You don’t need to use technical terms to attract new customers. Learn why writing in an accessible way builds your credibility.

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.


  1. YES! “If you can’t explain it simply, you simply don’t understand it.” I’ve always said that there is no story so complex that it can’t be told in a few sentences. And that if you can’t tell the shorter version of your story, you don’t need more words; you need a better understanding of the story you’re trying to tell! We read words to find answers, not to lead to more confusion. I love your “intentional lack of clarity” line! Some people do love to drone on and on, feeling more and more intelligent the less sense they make. I’m with Pepe: I am not impressed by the high falutin pontificators!

    • Alisa Meredith

      Well put, Katherine! I started the article by researching terrible poetry. I’m not a big poetry fan, anyway (though I do enjoy Billy Collins) and oh my goodness, it was funny! Now I wish I’d used the word “pontificators” in the post 🙂

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