In advance of Hallowe’en I joined a freaky quiz night on Friday the 13th. The perfect day in Western superstition for some ghoulish games.
The questions were all Hallowe’en related and sooooo hard. It was like Trivial Pursuit, professors edition.
Do you know the name of the narrator in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video? Step away from Google!
Luckily we had wine and snacks so the quiz answers became incidental to the evening’s enjoyment and possibly more ridiculous as time went on.
Our best round was the anagrams, making sense of something already there. Once we knew the theme you can unpick the puzzle. Without the theme and a few heads working together, our willpower would have been severely drained.
The problem is though, I see so many businesses testing their potential buyer’s willpower and intelligence.
Complicated phrases known only to industry insiders, a maze of a website with no clear structure – the visitor is left in confusion. Where do they go? What’s the next step? Why on earth were they here in the first place?
If you’re doing the same, you’re scaring your customers away like a wailing banshee on a dark night.
Bad writing is one way that your message gets distorted, sending your prospective customers running into the arms of a more coherent competitor.
And to a British visitor, bad writing often equates to that common variant of foreign English. Denglish, Franglais, Svenglish, whichever language it’s mixed with the result is the same.
At best the meaning is clear despite the awkward phrasing.
At worst it’s insulting and confusing.
So let’s unpick the message and guide your British buyers to their first purchase. I’ll unravel the anagrams and create the safe space they need from all the ghoulish English floating about on the web.
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