Tone of Voice Guide for Small Businesses

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Tone of Voice Guide for Small Businesses

The tone of voice your business uses is crucial. It will dictate how you communicate, how you’re perceived by your customers and make you more relatable.

But where do you even start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

What Does Tone of Voice Mean?

Your tone of voice is how a business your business speaks to your audience.

You might want to be formal, informal, funny, friendly or quite serious.

Tone of voice is built up through a number of different elements, including your choice of words, punctuation and communication style as a whole.

Having a deliberate tone of voice that you use consciously means that how you speak to your customers will be consistent across everything you do – meaning you’ll always come across the way you’d like to.

Why Do You Need Tone of Voice?

Your tone of voice is a way to portray your business exactly how you want to.

For example, if your brand values are centred around being helpful and informative, your tone of voice should reflect that.

Similarly, your tone of voice can help you to attract the right kind of target audience. If you’re going after a young audience, using slang and more casual language is likely the way to go. Or, if you’re targeting professionals in a certain industry, you might use more sector-specific jargon as opposed to layman’s terms.

Used effectively, a consistent tone of voice can build trust with your customers and target audience. It can also help to make your brand more appealing, approachable, and memorable.

How to Decide on Your Tone of Voice

When you’re deciding on your tone of voice, you should consider both how you want to be perceived and who you want to talk to. These will form a good base for what follows.

Before you start, try asking yourself these questions:

  • How are my customers used to being spoken to?
  • What type of content and media do they consume?
  • What do they expect to see from us?
  • How do you want them to perceive us?

The most important thing is to make sure how your business sounds lines up with who you are as a business.

Don’t fall into the trap of copying a brand you admire that has a popular way of communicating. It works for them because it aligns with them, it doesn’t mean it will do the same for you.

Developing a tone of voice for your business isn’t a quick process, and you might find you have to rehash it a couple of times as time goes on. That’s completely normal, your company tone of voice should develop alongside all other aspects of your business.

Where Do You Use Your Tone of Voice?

Honestly, your tone of voice should come into any type of communication your business produces. That includes both internal and external comms, such as:

  • Advertisements
  • Social media posts
  • Company wide emails
  • Interactions with customers (both written and otherwise)
  • Your website
  • Printed materials (like brochures, for example) such as social media posts and online advertising
  • Your product packaging and branding

What are Brand Guidelines?

Brand guidelines are a document that basically details everything about how your business is portrayed, from logos to colours, fonts and imagery. This often includes directions on your tone of voice also.

As your business grows, having documented brand guidelines can be extremely useful. They can be used to train new employees, and by external partners (like a marketing agency) to make sure everything circulating about your business is completely consistent.

Nailing your tone of voice straight away isn’t easy, but if you stick with it and focus on the consistency you should be fine. 

We hope our guide proves useful and please make sure to check out the other articles on our Knowledge Hub for all the best tips and tricks in the world of business.

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