Bridging the Gap in Vocabulary

Bridging the Gap in Vocabulary

Lemuel Galpo
Written by Lemuel Galpo
February 6, 2015

Previously, Wyatt discussed how to avoid a disconnect with our customers. Moreover, we had a look into the major things that consumers’ look for in their websites, such as consistency, pattern, schedule, and predictability. In this article we will be talking about vocabulary, both the vocabulary used by the user and the vocabulary used by  the company/website, and how the difference can create a disconnect between the two parties.

In the latest A/B testing software” href=”” target=”_blank”>Convert webinar, we have the CEO of Conversion Consulting, Wyatt Ernst, take on the topic – Speaking to the Customer with no Added Surprises. Wyatt talked about how a company’s vocabulary can differ from a simple consumer’s vocabulary. This can create problems in terms of communication and interaction. For the full presentation, you can check it out here. Now, how does our vocabulary affect how we speak to our customers?

Bridging the Gap in Vocabulary

Process of Elimination

A lot of our customers use process of elimination to discern what they need in a website. Why? A lot of times, we try using vocabulary that we personally know, but our customers do not. We assume that people know what we’re saying, but in reality they have no idea what we’re talking about. This often decreases the desire for the user to continue on.

Translating your terms to layman’s terms will often help you connect more with your customers. But, timing is also of utmost importance. Some of Conversion Consulting’s clients tried to do the approach that McDonald’s took with their McDouble. Right now, you currently know what McDouble is. However, when McDonald’s first started, they used double cheeseburger until they were big enough to plan that they could produce a McDouble.

[Tweet “If you are able to speak to your customers the way they understand, you will be able to see higher CTR”]

Conversion Consulting worked with a brand who sold diet kits. They had buttons that said ‘Triumph Kit’ or ‘Slim Shake’; and when they switch over to exactly what it was, they spoke to the customer and said, “Hey, this is a Diet Kit.” They had 9 times more desired button clicking because they began talking to their customers and not among themselves. At the company, they all knew what a Triumph Kit was. They used it a hundred times a day. They thought it was common knowledge to everyone. So when Wyatt came in to help in their conversion and saw the product, he asked them, What is a Triumph Kit? They were shocked that Wyatt didn’t know. These are the little things we need to keep in mind.

Usability Testing

The best way to find out whether or not we’re doing this is to do usability testing. You bring in people who have never seen your side before, have never talked about your business or seen your website. You can have an iPad and either go to a mall, or a university and ask someone to spend some time to tell you about your website. If they accept, you can give them specific questions and tests. It may not be the best feasibility test that you can do but you can get some great insight for just a simple research.

According to Ott Niggulis’ article Website Usability Testing: A Must for Boosting Conversions

Usability testing is the black horse of boosting conversions. If your site is difficult to use or hard to understand (means it has usability problems), it will result in poor conversions. Website usability testing helps you identify all the main sources of friction, and thus boost conversions

Product Familiarity

Another problem we often run into is how we get so familiarized with our website that we forget that we need to speak in our customers’ language. Wyatt emphasized this by showing a website where it’s unique selling point is customizing shoes. It has a banner that says “Rare opportunity to design your own style of shoes”. Searching around, he couldn’t see anywhere about the fold the banner talked about where he could go to customize his shoes. It took some time for him to find the custom products but when he clicked on it, it was not what he was looking for. This was a disappointment because the banner was selling something and then he came across something else. Looking furthermore, he found out that when you click some of the shoes, a text says that in order to design and create your personal shoe you may visit their order form page. For the site owner, he knows where people exactly need to go to get the custom shoes. However, that vocabulary was different from the customers’ vocabulary. How can you relate custom shoes to order form page? This could have lost a lot of people just because he didn’t speak to the customer. He was speaking more so to himself.

One of the best ways to fix these is to immerse ourselves in our customers minds. We can learn our customer’s language through:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing

If you learn that every click is an unwritten promise/agreement made between the site and the customer, you’ll be able to fulfill this promise and see an overall lift in your conversions. If you wish to know more about the webinar,
you can check it out here.

Originally published February 06, 2015 - Updated April 15, 2019
Lemuel Galpo
As Customer Content Manager, Lem is responsible for bringing learnings in conversion optimization and testing to the world. He is part of's growth team and coordinates all writers, editors and illustrators.
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