How to choose your tone of voice

Knowing your audience is key when it comes to effective marketing. As a local optician, you know who your target group, audience and customers are. But did you know that it’s equally important for your audience to get to know you too? Well maybe not you, personally, but your brand and store and more specifically, what it stands for. Absolutely!

Getting your tone of voice right helps you to stand out from your competitors, especially in a crowded local market. By being consistent and expressing your personality you can build a trusted relationship with your customer. Now usually (and a little confusingly, if you ask us), tone of voice refers to written words. This might be web content, emails, social media, packaging or ad copy, depending on how you communicate with your customers. Once you figure out what the right tone is, what really expresses your store, then don’t forget to tap into great social media features like videos! Short stories on social media can easily display who’s behind the store, what the store stands for, why your store is exactly what your audience is looking for! 

But, how do you find your tone of voice? And how do you keep it consistent, but evolve at the same time? Here’s our top tips to help you find your store’s tone of voice, so that you can use it consistently and confidently in your written copy to support your sales:

Think about your company values and culture

Why was the company set up? What’s its purpose and ultimate aim? If you could summarize it in 5 words or less, what would you say? As an optician, why do you do what you do? What’s it like to work in your store? Why do you sell certain brands, what does that say about your store? Knowing your store’s WHY really is the start of it all. It allows you to determine how your store should “sound” and what its “personality” is like. 

And, don’t do all of this alone! When possible, speak to the others that join you in your store to get their thoughts. Learn about who your store is, before you try to work out your tone of voice. Think about how you want to make customers feel, what words describe you and how you would like customers to react to your message. 

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Think about your audience

We talk about audience so much because they’re so important! Take a look at how your audience speak to one another. How do they expect to interact with you as a brand, a store? It might be pointless using the latest social media hype if your audience is mostly over 65, or in being really formal if you’re a store that focuses on a younger audience. Do you want to come across as professional and business-like or casual and friendly?

If you really want to get to know your audience, think about getting a focus group together (that reflects your target demographic and the voice of your audience). Who are your regulars? Could you get some non-customers in too? This could help you to make sure that your words feel more natural and genuine to your customers.

How are you going to say it?

Do you need to use a lot of really specific technical terms? Or is everyday language actually going to resonate better with your reader or listener? It’s important not to alienate your audience, but equally important not to over-simplify and run the risk of patronizing them.

Are you going to be super-salesy in your content? And now that we’re at it, don’t forget about the power of language too – who are you trying to communicate to and do you need to translate content for your audience? In this multiform multicultural world, we don’t all communicate nor receive messages in the same way. Be sensitive to diversity. 

Healthy competition

There’s nothing wrong with checking out how your competitors speak to their audience. This can really help you to work out what customers expect of their optician. What are the other local opticians doing that’s working for them? And what are the bigger chains doing? This could also help you spot a gap in the market that will allow you to differentiate, to stand out. It might even help you to work out some things that you definitely don’t want to do with your content! Very valuable lessons also… 

What’s in it for the customer?

Think about your unique selling points and what you have to offer. These should be at the forefront of your content and should underpin your store’s tone of voice. What are you offering them and why should they listen? Don’t get so focused on tone of voice that you forget the purpose of your content – to increase sales and promote your store. But what do customers get, or what can they count on, when they have their eye exams, or buy their glasses at your store? 

Take feedback on board

Feedback and criticism aren’t one and the same. It’s important to listen to what your customers give back once your voice is out there. And people will definitely let you know, especially online! Tone of voice is something that develops and evolves over time, and the only way that this will happen is through listening to feedback. Sometimes you might try something that doesn’t work, and that’s ok. Try again, but whatever you do, stay connected to your audience. Statistics are great feedback too, they’ll show you what posts are hitting home, and which are definitely not resonating with your audience. Social listening matters in the online world, be open to your audience.

Last but not least, a great idea would be to develop some guidelines, examples and a house style guide to help keep that voice consistent throughout your content. For example, your logo in every picture, the same filter over every picture, consistent use of language, same use of colors, et cetera. It’s really useful when someone else needs to create content for your store too, when there’s a guide available. This way you can share this responsibility! 

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Proofreading is also extremely important – you can develop tone of voice as much as you like, but when your content is littered with mistakes it will undermine your hard work! Authenticity and genuine passion are both a really important part of communicating with your audience, and it’s important that your tone of voice reflects this. 

As a store, you can make life easier for yourself by distributing your content with an easy to use app like Embrosa. The app Embrosa (Apple Store and Google Play) provides you with beautiful and strong professional visuals (pictures and videos) by so many of your optical suppliers and brands. The app also provides text ready to post, and inspiration on what to post and when, plus general content that you can download or share directly to your social media platforms. And the latest and greatest, you can now plan your social media posts too, so when you’re not there, but you’re the tone of voice expert, you can plan ahead and make sure all the content will be in place. Embrosa will post for you! 

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As a local entrepreneur, a local optician, knowing your audience is probably one of your biggest strengths. Once you decide on your tone of voice, just go – be out there – express yourself within your community and let the audience get to know you too!

Author: Lies Timmering

Lies Timmering and the Embrosa team love inspiring brands and the local entrepreneurs that bring cities to life – their craftsmanship, passion, service, and expertise. Embrosa gives local entrepreneurs more marketing power by supporting them in telling their story to the local consumer. With their smart technical solutions, the power of content and a little bit of magic, Embrosa helps local opticians to increase their marketing impact and boost their business. Get inspired by their blogs and let the marketing magic work for you!

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