6 Tips for Creating Product Documentation That Talks to Your Customer
The days of pushing pages and pages of product information onto your customers are over. Today’s customers are smart, tech savvy, and connected.
A customer’s means of obtaining content went from reading bulky manuals to downloading PDFs. Nowadays, these 2 methods are becoming more and more obsolete.
Instead of static PDFs or bulky manuals, customers want searchable content they can access on-demand by pulling out their laptop, tablet, or cell phone.
The face of the customer has changed over the years and so have their behaviors. Think about it. Customers today:
- Have mobile devices
- Are in a hurry
- Skim content to locate information relevant to their situation
- Want fast results
- Are not keen on reading long manuals
Learn to Speak Your Customer’s Language.
Product documentation that speaks to the customer is documentation that will be read, valued, and referred to time after time.
Avoid jargon. Don’t use words that are unfamiliar. This will likely confuse or frustrate your audience. Use words your customers understand. While you’re at it, keep it simple, clear, and concise.
Format choice is invaluable. Present documentation in formats tailored to your customer’s needs. For example, if you know that most of your customers are visual learners, develop a 2-3-minute video tutorial demonstrating how to use the product.
Work smarter. Designing content tailored to your customer helps you work smarter. Thus, saving you precious time and money. And less money spent on documentation costs means more money to spend in other areas, like sales and marketing.
Equip Your Sales and Marketing Teams with Documentation
Product documentation is a very important sales and marketing tool. For example, medical device companies often market their products directly to the physicians who use the equipment. If the documentation provided by the sales rep aids and enhances the physician’s experience, the physician is more likely to recommend your product to other physicians as well as to the hospital making the ultimate purchase decision. Make sure your salespeople have access to and are using your documentation to maximize your ROI.
6 Tips for Creating Meaningful Product Documentation
Use these tips to help optimize the product documentation you provide your customer.
- Identify your audience before you start writing. Know who you’re writing for and how they will use your product documentation.
- Choose a delivery method that best meets the needs of the customer. Present documentation in a way that is easy to use, enhances the user’s product experience, and reduces the need for service calls.
- Use a visually-appealing format. Well-designed, easy-to-use learning and reference materials makes your product and company stand out. When designing text, include informative headings to draw the user’s attention to specific topics. Break up the information into short segments for easy understanding. Use graphics and tables to support the text.
- Write in a conversational tone and use personal pronouns. When users feel like you are talking to them, they tend to learn quicker.
- Keep sentences short and to the point. Cover only one subject in each paragraph. Keep paragraphs under 12 lines with an average sentence length of around 20 words.
- Test your documentation. As part of the review and approval process, make sure all product documentation adheres to relevant regulations and standards.
If your customers require product knowledge on demand, consider outsourcing your documentation development to a technical writing services firm that specializes in your industry.