After reading this paragraph, you might wonder what car mechanics has to do with email marketing lists, but all will be revealed later. I was researching an article on servicing classic cars and was shadowing a mechanic replacing a steering box. He had placed the components he’d removed on a bench I was standing by. He asked me to ‘pass the Pitman arm’.
Jargon includes a number of types of words and specialist terms for items fall within its remit. To those in the know they are a helpful shorthand as can be shown when the mechanic had to rephrase his request as; “It’s the arm third from the right.” That turned out to be his right and not mine.
For email marketing copy it can be very useful but, used in the wrong situation, it can ruin a campaign. Look at GDPR. Everyone knows what it means except those who do not. If you are sure your subscribers understand the term then run with it. However, if the product is aimed at those just starting out in their business, it could well make them close the email.
This demonstrates the prime rule of jargon use: include it because of readers’ needs and not yours. It is all very well cutting the wordage to the bone, but your email’s offer must be understood. I felt the need to reinforce that you should read on at the beginning of this article as I was afraid you might think, ‘Pitman arm? It’s nothing to do with me.’ If you’ve misjudged your segmented email marketing list then that’s the campaign wasted.
Jargon can be all but essential. Take return on investment. In an article it is simple enough to include ROI and explain it with (return on investment) after it. However, that’s three words, and 23 extra characters. If you know your subscribers will understand, then the acronym is the way to go. If not, then cut down on its use. Alternatively, just use returns.
Don’t be afraid of using simple language. If fact, you should embrace it. The truism ‘no one ever lost an email marketing campaign by aiming it too low’ is a good one to follow, but jargon can convey complex meaning in a word.
Latin use in law, there solely to confuse some suggest, is the ultimate example of jargon. It irritates most people, although those whose role is to translate laws into English can idle away and be thought of as clever. The odd thing I found is that my conversions were often no longer than the original as well as being clearer.
My mechanic had made an assumption regarding my knowledge of technical language. When I looked bemused he realised his mistake but then had another problem. He could have opted for, ‘It’s next to the steering damper’ but decided I was beyond hope. He wanted the Pitman arm there and then.
It’s the same for email marketing. You need to choose the precise wording that will appeal to the specific segmented email marketing list you are using. Getting it wrong will affect your ROI.