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How 2 get ppl 2 buy stuf (or not): A tale of two corporate communications

Academics represent the majority of my client base, which means this time of year is my busiest season. As most professors wrap up their teaching year and turn to their research and writing, I'm happy to step up that side of my work.

But at the same time, my mind has been on corporate communications lately, and how they can make or break a sale. Consider this example from my own recent past...

As I began packing up to move house soon, I contacted five well-known cleaning firms (all chains) about a final pre-move clean. Three didn't get back to me in time to provide their services, which is a problem in and of itself. Two of them responded as follows:

Company 1:


Full pro clean takes 2 ppl, £200+vat


Company 2:

"Hi Catie, A full clean of the property you mentioned will be £225 + VAT. Please let me know if you have any questions, perhaps about the price, availability, or maybe even why we're the number one choice in the area for this service? I can confirm the date you've selected is currently available. If you'd like to get this booked in all I'd need is your confirmation to complete the booking. Just a few ways how you get more with (our firm):

  • Everything done in one day

  • Includes our FREE 72-hour guarantee

  • Detailed invoice/receipts provided showing exactly what we have done

  • Want proof? Check out our outstanding reviews.

I look forward to hearing from you."

Guess which company I went with?

I'm fully aware that because of the nature of my work, I probably put more emphasis than the average customer on a company's communication strategy. I know there are customers out there who would simply see the two prices, think of the extra £25 in their pocket, and pick Company 1—not me. Personal experience has shown me that unprofessional communications often signal an unprofessional approach, period.

"What's the big deal?" some consumers would argue. "Company 1 got straight to the point and answered your question, AND they're 12% cheaper!"

The problem isn't one typo or even the abrupt nature of the email: it's the whole message that it sends, from the lack of common greetings to the use of abbreviations. This isn't a text to a friend, it's a corporate communication that's supposed to convince me to hand over £200—and to me, it spoke volumes about the kind of business it came from. I just didn't want to take the risk.

Conversely, Company 2's email was courteous and convincing. It highlighted the reasons I should choose this firm, and most importantly, it expertly urged me to follow through with the purchase by implying that the slot may not be open if I waited too long because this is a busy (and thus successful/in-demand) company.

Unsurprisingly, countless studies (not to mention living examples like Starbucks) show that companies can benefit hugely from targeting customers that value other things, like quality, over price. And naturally, the more quality matters to your business, the more important it is that you embody quality in every detail. Sure, a cleaning firm charging £200 might still get a decent client base with "ppl" but what about a wedding photographer who wants to charge £2,000? Or a real estate agent charging £15,000?

The more you claim that you're worth, the more you need every aspect of your business to support that claim. That's not to say that companies with low-priced products can't benefit from improved communications too; I chose my $5/month VPN based largely on the company's stellar emails and website.

Fortunately, even if engaging writing isn't your strong suit, a copywriter can put together a comprehensive portfolio of communications materials that pays for itself in no time. Contact me today about improving your company's website content, email templates/responses, and other materials. You'll increase your conversions and sales, and your employees will have more time to devote to the main business activities that they do best.


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