How to Write So Your Contracting Business Clients Will Read
As a contracting business owner, you want to provide all the details in your communications with prospective and current customers. The trouble is getting them to read all of it and remember it. If clients can’t get the relevant information from a proposal, email or estimate, they might take up a lot of your time asking for details you’ve already given them. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve to smooth out your writing. Try this advice to make sure everyone reading your communications can find what they need.
Keep It Simple
The best professional communications will include everything the customer needs, and nothing that they don’t. You don’t want a future client trying to practice reading comprehension as they sort through the information you’ve given them. Instead, make sure you answer all the pertinent questions:
- Who are the parties involved in the job?
- What is the project?
- Where will the work happen?
- When is the job scheduled?
- Why is the project needed?
- How will each task be done?
- How much will it cost?
It doesn’t have to be structured like a child’s birthday invitation. But if you break it up this way in the beginning, you can confirm all the information is there. Then you can make it look more professional.
Staying organized can help you avoid awkward misunderstandings. For writing you prepare in advance, give yourself the time to revise the content before you send it to a client. Keep relevant items together. Give it a last read to be sure you stick to one topic until it is done, before moving to the next one. Search online for sample estimates and other forms you’ll need to fill out at a moment’s notice. You can tweak them to suit your purposes. That way, you’re less likely to leave out important information because you were trying to provide this information on the fly.
Break Up Text
Everyone has that friend or professional acquaintance whose emails and social media posts are like one wall of text. You lose your place a couple of lines in and then wonder if it’s worth it to keep going. Instead, try to keep content as easy to scan as possible. Incorporate these elements:
- bulleted lists instead of a series of items in a sentence
- separate lines with only a few words in each
- paragraphs that are limited in length
If the content could best be described using an image, put one in. Practice this skill so the text doesn’t wrap strangely around the picture.
Highlight Important Points
As a general rule, people tend to skim through text looking for details they need before they read it in full. In fact, they may never read it all the way through, especially if it’s long, complicated or wordy. As you divide up sections, bold the titles so people can skip to the topic they need to see. Bold or highlight important numbers, prices and dates. This way, clients don’t need to keep reading it all the way through to remember information.
Make Text Accessible
These days, most of your communications will happen electronically. You want to make sure that it transfers effectively. If you will email documents to prospective clients, consider using PDF format instead of DOC or XLS. Some formats can show up with formatting that’s difficult to read when the recipient uses a different program to open it. Pay attention to readability on mobile devices, too. Try to limit the amount of information you put on a single page, so that people aren’t trying to scroll through dozens of long sentences on a small phone screen.
Throughout your business career, you will have a lot of opportunities to write for your clients. Making sure they read it and understand it can be more complicated than you expect, but these tips will help. To start building a contracting business of your own, contact CSLS today!