Don’t Take That Tone With Me!

You may have heard from your parents once or twice how important tone of voice is, but if you manage or own a business, you should know it has the power to make or break existing and potential customer relationships.

Your choice of words used when posting to social media, your website, or in any advertising medium, have the power to create positive emotional connections with your readers, or in contrast, be offensive, irrelevant, or so boring that no one takes notice. So to master the art of your ‘tone of voice’ you need to know what you want to say, who you want to read it, and how you’re going to say it in a way they relate to.
Here’s an example of how tone of voice and understanding your audience can change the language used to communicate a message to potential customers. In both examples below, the underlying message is asking the reader to join a group fitness class, but the tone and language choice in each example is based on what would appeal to the intended reader.

Example One:
Shape your body today with over 120 classes a week to choose from. Join Now!

Example Two:
Get hot and sweaty with your teacher, without getting punished. Gym Box

When comparing the examples, the first may seem boring and the second a little risqué, but example one is direct. It stands out to the reader looking for a selection of fitness classes. It also subliminally singles out female readers through the use of the term ‘Shape your body’ a phrase frequently mentioned in female fitness advertising. If the reader was a busy working woman or time poor mum who couldn’t commit to a set class time, then this ad would be ‘speaking their language’.
Example two, uses language that will offend some, but to the intended audience it’s cheeky.
It doesn’t sit on the fence trying to please everyone as the writer knows the audience appreciates edgy humour. It doesn’t single out the audience by gender or age, and is speaking to those who don’t take themselves too seriously and want to have fun while getting fit.
Now coming back to your business, have you stopped to consider what tone you use when communicating to customers?
The old saying ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ is a complete lie. If you get your tone and language wrong, your business will only have the choice of two paths to head down:
Path One: Your customers don’t connect with you or the product/service you offer.
Path Two: You offend or patronise customers by not understanding how to relate to them. The result may be a strong dislike for your business. This maybe shared with their friends and family, or even online.
So, to ensure you don’t walk either of those paths, take a minute to answer the questions below. They may seem a little silly, but you will come away with a new insight into how to connect and engage customers moving forward...

Personify your brand:
Think of your business as a real person. What would its characteristics be?Would it be male or female? Would it dress head to toe in designer brands, sportswear, or crisp white shirts and front pleated pants? Is it old or young, sassy and witty or refined and proper. Is it a tech head, sci-fi fanatic, sports jock, well traveled backpacker, or born into privilege? How would it spend a Saturday night? Home alone in pj’s reading a book, playing board games with the family, sipping a cold one at the pub with mates, or partying hard in the most exclusive nightclubs?

Who does your brand relate to?
Now your brand is a person, who would it associate with and how would they interact?
Does it gravitate to mums, corporates, hippies, retirees or the self-employed?
When your ‘brand person’ and customer speak, do they communicate in full sentences and queens english, or like mates having an overdue catch up, throwing around slang, humour or perhaps even a foreign language? Is the conversations technical and informative or more emotional and light-hearted?.

Imagine your personified brand speaking directly to your customer and use the same language selection and tone that they’d use if standing face to face when ever you’re writing anything that customers might read..

Finally the tie that holds it together: It’s ALL about them!
Even with the perfect tone of voice and language selection, you MUST make everything about your customer and not you! They don’t care if you haven’t had a holiday in 5 years, or if you hired a new team member, unless it directly benefits them.
Leave the self-love to the ‘about’ page on your website, but even there that should focus on how they benefit from your experience, product or service.
You can be clever and highlight points which resonate with your audience, like only using recycled products knowing you and your audience share a common passion for saving the planet, or if your audience were vegans or animals rights activists, promoting that you donate a percentage of profits to organisations like PETA would create a common bond and increase the chances of them sending business your way rather than opting for one of your competitors.

So, humanise your brand and be mindful of the way you ‘speak’ every time you’re interacting as your business and understand who you are and who you’re talking to.
Look at your business through your customers eyes, and find common connections to enhance emotional bonds. Business is built on relationships!
Well, that’s it. How did you go?
Does your business have a definitive tone of voice that reaches your customers?
If yes, amazing work! Few businesses get this right so congratulations.
But if not, and after reading everything you have no idea where to start, then I’m here to help.
Don’t be shy, simply click one of the options below to get in touch, and we can go from there.
  1. Click Here – To jump to the contact page
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Hear from ya soon!

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