Metalanguage Illiteracy Can Cost You
Imagine walking into Olive Garden with a taste for a Never Ending Pasta Bowl® only to find a restaurant that serves Never Ending Dry Oatmeal.
It happens all of the time on the web. It’s a failure to communicate in the proper metalanguage of your clients, and it’s costing you big time.
Metalanguage is the jargon that your audiences speak. Doctors speak medical jargon, plumbers speak piping jargon and you want your patrons to speak your jargon. It’s the common and distinctive language of your community.
Ever wonder how Rollerblade became the official noun, verb, and adjective for inline skates? Xerox for photocopiers? Kleenex for tissues? It’s not like they bought a license to own the industries. Those companies listen to their clientele, speak their language and naturally became household proper nouns for products anyone can manufacture.
You communicate in metalanguage on your websites through meta tags, which are small snippets of jargon that describe the site’s content. Developers hide the text in source code except when they want it to appear on search engine result “snippets.” Meta tags, also known as meta descriptions or meta elements, briefly describe to search engines how to find your service or product.
Learn and strategize with your client’s meta jargon by following the 80/20 rule. Known as the Pareto principle, it says that 80% of a company’s total sales result from 20% of its clients.
Identify the top 20% of users by perusing your website analytics. Incorporate consumer feedback as well as the audience demographic, time spent on your website and, most importantly, language. Which key words occur frequently when users search for you? Which keywords appear randomly that you can discard?
Taco Bell is “all Taco Bell, all the time. The way it was meant to be. Place an order or just check out the nacho pics. We’re not judging.” Roasty Coffee tells you how to “find, brew and drink coffee so good it would make a hipster cry.” Nike “delivers innovative products, experiences, and services to inspire athletes.”
Mirror the audience’s behavior and meet their specific needs. Where do they congregate on social platforms? Consumers should also have the opportunity to provide feedback without hassle. People will unload their feelings when offered the opportunity, and you need to hear them.
A minor change in a heading or a bold new “Customer Feedback” button works well. The audience will more likely return to that page. People like easy.
After grasping your meta language and identifying the top 20% of your users, build out your customer persona.
Customer personas are composite sketches of your ideal patron. The persona should echo the colloquialisms that you discovered when you dissected the 20%.
Building such personas helps your business to relate to your clientele as human beings. It aids in better addressing their needs and in turn builds goodwill and lasting relationships. It also helps to build strong online communities around your brand.
The desire for a sense of belonging makes us human. We all seek positive opportunities to share thoughts and ideas, as well as draw strength in numbers. The need for a common struggle and goal explains the success and popularity behind legendary online collaborations such as Linux, Wikipedia and the world wide web itself.
Brands throughout history develop cult-like followers because they become the common bond between one another. People associate with others who most closely share their aspirations, fears, and desires.
Harley Davidson inspired biker clubs throughout North America. Coca-Cola engages with its 50 million global Facebook fans in a common endeavor to get along and improve the world. Where would KISS be without its KISS Army? Probably still in basic training.
As a result of implementing metalanguage, consumers will better relate to you and better understand you through a shared dialect.
Don’t serve your consumers dry oatmeal when you promised them fettuccine alfredo with unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. Speak their language, identify the top 20% and watch communities develop around you.