When you are marketing your business, it is incredibly dangerous for you to assume that your audience has any prior knowledge. Any assumed level of knowledge only ever highlights a lack of understanding of your audience.
The people you deal with are not stupid, they’re not thick, they’re not lacking intelligence, but they are also not the expert in what you do. You are.
Never let your expertise blind you to your audience’s level of knowledge
When you operate with an assumed level of knowledge, especially in your marketing, all you end up doing is putting people off. They may well know things that you know but there will likely be gaps in that knowledge. After all, they haven’t spent countless hours studying that subject as you have.
Your audience needs what you offer but they also need your understanding of them for your message to strike a chord with them. They need your knowledge because they don’t know everything there is to know about your subject. If they did, they wouldn’t need you. So when you operate with an assumed level of knowledge, what you’re actually doing is excluding people that really need your help. You are doing so because when they see and hear all the jargon and it goes in one ear and out the other.
Nobody cares about your jargon, they don’t want to hear it
They’re not interested in all of the technical terms and clever-sounding jargon. In fact, that’s why they’re paying you so they don’t have to learn those things; that way they don’t have to disrupt their life with more study. The customers want you to take care of that problem for them and they are willing to pay for that. When you operate with an assumed level of knowledge, those people (your potential customers) start to feel like your offer is too exclusive. That it doesn’t include them because they don’t know enough to understand what you are saying. But you and I both know this is not the case, they are exactly who it is for.
Don’t alienate people with an assumed level of prior knowledge
People that need what you are selling are the people that you need to be talking to when you’re marketing, those are the people that your message needs to resonate with. Resonating with those people won’t happen when you are operating with an assumed level of knowledge. So think about your audience. What do they need from you and why do they need it? What information do they need to be able to understand the benefits of your solution?
Understanding what you are saying is the path to understanding your solution
You want your message to resonate with people, to show them they need you and your solution. You don’t, at this stage at least, need them to fully understand the underlying mechanics of how your solution will solve their problem, you just need them to feel it will.
You’ll notice that I said feel rather than know there. There is a reason for that. Your marketing is all about feeling. You have to get people to feel that they need you. To feel that your solution is right. The knowing part comes later, it comes through the implementation. But to get them to buy into you and buy from you is strictly about how they feel.
Use simple language, you don’t get any awards for using words that nobody can pronounce
What are the benefits your solution offers them in their life? You need to talk to them and explain things to them in real-world terms. I’ve avoided the use of the phrase, layman terms because that implies that they are potentially not very clever and that’s generally not the case. It’s just that all your knowledge is specialist knowledge. And this particular topic is your specialisation is not theirs. They have their own specialisation. They have their own zone of genius they have their own topic that they know better than anybody.
They’ve come to you, or are looking to you, to provide that solution for them so that they don’t have to get out of their lane and climb into yours. This is more than fair because there are people, products and services in this world that you bring into your life so that you don’t have to do that very same thing. So that you can continue to think about the things that you enjoy that you get pleasure and satisfaction from. You can continue to think about those things without muddying the waters with what is potentially unnecessary knowledge, unnecessary study.
Don’t fall into the trap of assumed knowledge, spell it out but don’t be condescending
You need to spell things out to your audience, but not patronise them. Being condescending towards people will put people off just as much as jargon will, so there is a fine line you need to walk. And as I mentioned before, the easiest way to walk that line is to explain things in real-world terms. Explain the benefits of what you do for that person in the same way you would explain it to a buddy.
If you’re a fitness coach, your customers don’t care about what techniques you’ll use or the science behind why those techniques work. What they care about is what the result will be for them. That result isn’t killer abs and bulging biceps, it is what that level of fitness enables them to do. And that’s it, they don’t care about anything else. If it works, it works.
Who are you trying to impress with your level of assumed knowledge?
Jargon does not impress anybody, your technical knowledge is not exciting, it’s not impressive, and it’s not enthralling enough to bring people in. Is it important? Yes, but only to you. It is not something that will attract people to you and your brand. You need to understand what your audience wants from you and how they want it.
If you’re a car mechanic, your audience doesn’t give two shits about how to fix a car. What they care about is how quickly you can get them back on the road. How efficiently you can get them back on the road and how long term that solution is.
If you are a plumber or a heating engineer, your audience doesn’t care about plumbing or gas works. What they care about is, will they have running water again? Will they have heating again? How long will it take and how much will it cost them?
If you’re a carpenter and you create bespoke furniture your audience doesn’t care about carpentry. They don’t care about the techniques you use. What they care about is, will the product that you create for them be fit for purpose? Will it be attractive? And, will it really do what it’s supposed to do?
Jargon feels great to say but is boring to hear
It’s nice to talk about the technicalities of what you do. It feels good, I do understand. It feels like it would be impressive to somebody somewhere, but it’s not. That stuff is only impressive to you.
You’ve spent time studying that thing, that subjects, that topic. The result of your studies is that you have accumulated an impressive amount of knowledge. Impressive to you. So when you go out into the world and you want to share your solutions with the public it is important that you acknowledge only you are impressed by how hard you’ve worked. Only you are impressed by the technicalities of what you do. Your audience just wants to know how what you do will benefit them. How will it make their life better, easier and more comfortable? Will it solve their problems and therefore make them feel better?
Make the customer feel better, that is all they care about
The customers don’t need to know, or even want to know, what’s going on under the hood. They just want to know, will they feel better? That’s all there is to it. Operating with an assumed level of prior knowledge is dangerous. It is something that will make your offer exclusive to people who know what you know. Everyone else is just left feeling dizzy, which is the opposite of feeling better. You don’t want to be exclusive, you want to be inclusive. Inclusive of the people that know the least but need you the most.
You want people to feel like you are the person that is going to provide them with the right solution. You want people to recognise that you care about how they feel and you want to change those feelings for the better.
Stop talking about what you do in technical terms because you are driving people away in their droves. You are making people feel like they aren’t clever enough to be your customer, that you’re not looking for them, and that you’re not looking to help them and that’s not true.
Don’t put yourself and your customers in an awkward position with a level of assumed knowledge
By using all the technical talk you are doing yourself and your audience a disservice. You are punishing your audience by talking constantly about the technicalities. Nobody wants to know about your metaphorical appendages, that is just awkward and cringeworthy. By oversharing your “impressive” knowledge and skill set with the world you are making yourself look like a boastful idiot.
Drop all of that nonsense and start talking about how you’re going to make people feel better. Do that and your customers will feel much more comfortable with you. It’s a really simple change but one that you need to implement before it’s too late.
Understand who your ideal customer is and what matters to them
If you want to be able to connect with your audience and get your product into their hands then you need to begin by understanding exactly who they are and what matters most to them, as well as understanding the problem they face and why that makes them want a solution. You need an ideal customer profile.
An ideal customer profile is just a document that gives you a rough indication of who and what your ideal customer really is. It is something that helps you understand their buying behaviour and what motivates them to elicit change in their life. An ideal customer profile is something I have already written about which you can find here https://mybizacademy.co.uk/ideal-customer-profile-understanding-and-implementing
I have also produced an episode of the Business minus the BS podcast that covers ideal customer profiles, which you can find on all major podcasting platforms. Alternatively, you can click on the following link to be taken to the specific episode https://player.captivate.fm/episode/d0d00292-9b01-4674-8123-40fcc18c0a89