Our words matter. They should communicate our values, beliefs, and culture.
Know who you’re speaking to and what you want to say.
Use everyday language.
Keep it personal and natural.
Know that less is more.
Avoid legal jargon and out-of-date corporate prose.
Always edit and read back to yourself.
Avoid legalese as much as possible. Speak in language anyone will understand in a conversational tone as if you were talking face-to-face.
Say things in as few words as possible. Strive to make the complex simple. Don’t waste the customer’s time with unnecessary copy.
Repetition is often more effective than the argument itself. Speak consistently across all mediums, from TV to banners to web and email.
Constructing an argument
For compliance: If we ever miss a deadline, we'll pay the fine for you.
Running a business is hard enough...
Relate to the user’s primary needs as well as their emotional state. Directly address those needs in a way that aligns with their emotional state.
Match excitement with enthusiasm and worry with concern.
We’ll manage your important filings...
This is basically the premise of the argument, how we solve for the customer’s need. It should be stated explicitly with minimal elaboration.
The premise itself should be a strong incentive for consideration.
We’ll pay the fine if we miss a deadline...
Outline the order, manner and length in which facts are communicated to support our solution. Treat it as a PowerPoint presentation where you have full control over the flow of information that convincingly substantiates a solution.
We’re moving away from the old, tired corporate tone.
Rules of language
Instead of speaking technically, we're using technology to help our customers have faster and easier access to legal services. We're building a bridge between the intimidating legal system and the homes of everyday people.
We're confident, trustworthy and stand next to people through their complicated legal needs. Let's talk about how we want to move forward when speaking to customers.
Refer to ourselves as we or us, not LegalZoom.
Using “we” or “us” gives our language a conversational voice and source.Why choose LegalZoom?Why choose us?
Refer to customer as you in copy. Refer to customer as me in actions.
In copy, we’re the ones talking, so we would naturally refer to the customer as “you.”
In actions (such as buttons), use “me,” because the customer is taking ownership of the action.
Say "when" Not "if" or "whether."
Talk in the definitive as if the customer has already decided to do something.If you’re ready to start your business...When you’re ready to start your business...
Say "we will" Not "we can."
Continues the concept of definitives, unless restricted by UPL (Unauthorized Practice of Law)...we can help you get up and running....we’ll help you get up and running.
Say "speak with" Not "speak to" or "talk to."
“To” subtly suggests a one-way communication. “With” suggests a conversation.Speak to an attorney...Speak with an attorney...
Say "representative" Not "agent" or "specialist."A specialist will call you back. ...A representative will call you back. ...
Customer care emails should be short and to the point. Don’t start an email by thanking them for their order or for choosing LegalZoom. In the body of the email, we should either respond to their question (for an inquiry) or get right into the problem (with a problem email).
Avoid using “Sincerely” as a closing for a customer care email. "Best regards” is preferred (more friendly, our brand attribute). Avoid separating out different teams. LegalZoom should have one voice/one persona. Use "The LegalZoom Team."SincerelyBest regards
Subject lines: use one if reaching out to the customer. Subject lines should inspire action, so they should be direct and clear.
As a general rule, we want to speak in positive terms. But there are simple guidelines where negative language is acceptable.
The negative fact IS NOT already in the customer's mind.
"If your company misses a required filing, you can incur significant penalties and face automatic dissolution by the state."
When we bring up a negative fact that the customer is not already thinking, this is generally not acceptable because we're adding undue worry where none existed. This is usually used as a scare tactic.
The negative fact IS already in the customer's mind."Starting a new business is hard enough with so many questions to answer and decisions to make."
When we bring up a negative fact that the customer is already thinking, we're simply relating and sympathizing with the customer. If they know that we understand them, they'll be more receptive to our solutions.
The negative fact IS NOT but SHOULD be in the customer's mind."A legal guardian is an adult designated to care for a child in case both parents die before that child reaches adulthood."
When we bring up a negative fact that the customer is not already thinking but should, we're educating them with important information to make a more informed and wise choice.