Society is more innovative than ever, with start-ups, businesses, and nonprofits taking on new problems all the time. We all offer important solutions that address a need. But what happens when that solution is… kinda complicated? Especially in the world of tech, it can be hard to explain what exactly your organization does. And you don’t just want people to understand your product or service, you want them to understand the value. Because when someone learns why your product is important, they are more likely to consider how it could be useful to them, which means they are one big step closer to becoming a customer.
How do you lead someone from no knowledge to basic understanding to full-out appreciation?
First, know your audience. Understanding who you are speaking to is the essential first step in knowing how to explain your product. Ask yourself questions like: How old are they? What are their interests? What career field are they in? Hone in on some target profiles, and then cater your message to meet them where they are. Focus your message on how your product can specifically help them.
If your first thought when thinking about you audience is a “general audience”, we recommend stepping back and getting more specific, as to best cater your message to their expected level of knowledge and experience.
Next, break free from your jargon (or use it to your advantage). Every industry and niche has jargon, meaning language specific to that industry that might be unknown to outsiders. Do this experiment: write a paragraph explaining your product. Then, underline every word that might be industry specific. Try to think of more common replacement language that will have more meaning to people outside of your industry.
This is where knowing your audience comes in. Are you specifically trying to reach industry insiders? In this case, you may want to keep as much jargon as you can, to assure them you are experts in the field.
Incorporate visuals to explain your product or service. Showing your process? Use a flow-chart. Need to get technical? A product diagram may do the trick. Data-driven? Consider an infographic. Visuals help people learn and digest information. Bonus points if you can incorporate motion and/or sound, which has been shown to improve learning outcomes as well.
Emphasize the solution. You live and breathe your product. When you jump into explaining it, it can be tempting to focus on the features, rather than the benefits. You need to make a mental shift, to consider what about my product will be most interesting to this person? Chances are it’s not a literal description, but an explanation of how it can help solve a problem.
By emphasizing the solution you provide, you’re enabling your audience to connect the dots between your product, what it does, and why they should care.