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Humanize the tech: the copy mistakes holding SaaS marketers back

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The Creative Copywriter looks at the pitfalls of using tech jargon

“How’s your new SaaS software solution treating you?”

“To be honest mate, I feel like I’m going on an innovative journey of digital transformation. It’s limitless.”

“Oh really? So would you say you’re leveraging unique capabilities?”

“Totally. My digital vision has been brought to life by unlocking the power of a best-in-class digital platform.”

Does this sound like a normal, chatty conversation to you? Nope. In fact, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s a whole load of tech-world jargon. Fluffy words that sound powerful alone, but grouped together are a load of overused nonsense.

Customers need the tech translated into messaging that they actually understand. Relatable words that resonate with them. It’s what the B2C world has been doing successfully for decades.

But it can often be the case that the B2B world digs its heels in a tad when it comes to humanizing the tech. The thing is, they’re missing out on creating solid connections with customers, because...

People like to buy from people

Yep, we are all human beings who like to relate to other human beings. And powerful copy is built on relatability. The message is important, but what’s even more critical is building a sense of trust.

Trust is what truly sells. And if your audience can’t understand you, it’s very tricky to create a relationship with them.

I can understand why SaaS and tech marketers are still rolling out the jargon. When you’re close to a brand’s product, it can be hard to translate the tech – you’re living and breathing it every day.

So let’s take a look at humanizing the tech fundamentals.

It’s easy to get lost in ‘feature love’

“Oh product features, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... in a huge, brain-hurting list.”

It’s very easy for tech brands to get caught up in their product or service features. They are proud of their tech. They’ve worked tirelessly to bring that tech to market. And, more importantly, they understand the tech.

The problem is the general population of people with average tech understanding, well, just don’t get it.

TCP/IP layers... who?

2FA-enabled... what now?

You get the drift.

The thing is, people buy the actual benefits of a product or service, not the features. Of the course, the features are important – and impressive when you know what they actually mean – but it’s the ‘why’ that matters over the ‘what’.

Let’s take ‘2FA-enabled’ for example. It sounds fancy, but it’s not clear exactly how this benefits the average person. The real-life benefit is this: boost online security and access your device safely. Instantly, the customer is clearer on what the actual benefit is to them, which is what will win them over.

Play the ‘So What?’ game

A great way of making sure you’re translating a feature to a powerful benefit is to keep asking yourself ‘so what?’

My feature is [this]. So what?

It means you can be more scalable. So what?

You can grow faster and save costs. So what?

Your company will be more profitable. So what?

And so it continues until you find the perfect relatable benefit. Just try and make sure it doesn’t sound like an annoying car trip game.

Cut the fluff (and lift the curse)

I’m not saying your product is cursed, but it’s possible as a SaaS marketer you’re suffering from something called the ‘curse of knowledge’.

As I said before, you know your product inside out. You know too much.

And what can happen when you know too much is that clarity can easily go out of the window. And what replaces it is a whole load of fluff.

Long-winded sentences. Jargon. Words for the sake of words. 15-letter words that have been pulled from the depths of a thesaurus. Rambling is for walking, not for copy.

The trick is to say it simply and connect, like you would in a conversation with your friend.

Let’s say you’re in the pub and you’re a pint of beer down – how would you describe your SaaS product or service? That’s how you need to talk to your clients too.

And I have a handy tool to help you do this

At my creative agency we have a methodology that we use called The 13 Lenses. It’s a way of analyzing copy to make sure it’s as powerful as it can be in, you’ve guessed it, 13 different ways (check out the full methodology here).

One of the most important lenses is called ‘The Real Talk’ lens.

When looking at your copy, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you talking directly to the reader with the words ‘you’ and ‘your’? Using ‘you’ in your copy is powerful. It piques the audience’s interest and sparks a digital conversation. The tech trap is to focus more on ‘we do this’, rather than ‘you need this’. That simple switch can make a big difference.

  2. Are you asking questions to engage and include the reader? This technique should mirror a normal spoken conversation, not a two-year-old on a curious mission. SaaS copy that converts asks the right questions that can’t help but engage the reader. A key point to remember here is to get them to already answer in their mind. It helps to keep the digital conversation going.

  3. Does your copy admit weakness and turn it into strength? As humans, we love vulnerability. People warm to people who can admit their weaknesses. As car brand Avis admitted back in the day: ‘We’re number two, which means we work harder.’ Now that’s powerful, don’t you agree?

  4. Does the copy steer clear of cliches and industry jargon? I know I’ve hammered this point home, but it’s so important. Find a ‘real’ way of saying digital transformation or ‘best in class’. Don’t just follow the rest of the tech crowd. The mistake many tech brands make is to keep up with the industry, rather than truly differentiating. I like to call it ‘zigging while they’re zagging’.

  5. Are you using Voice of Customer (VOC) data? Imagine if you could talk about your product or service in exactly the same way your customers do. That’s exactly what VOC gives you. By conducting buyer interviews, you get to understand why your existing customers love your product or service and can infuse key words or phrases into your copy. This way you’re getting to the crux of ‘real talk’ – how your customers view you, rather than how you see your brand.

Find the human story

This will fill the gap your customers didn’t know existed and inspire them. Technology is essentially just a means to enable the needs of human beings. The needs are what matters.

Konrad Sanders is chief executive officer at The Creative Copywriter.