Messaging 101

Focusing Your Message

Starting a business isn’t easy, but I don’t have to tell you twice. Business owners are passionate and want to change the world. Unfortunately it is hard to convey this to customers and this passion can even muddle your messaging, turning away clients.

This is where Messaging tact comes into play. Your messaging needs to be clear, concise, and offer value to your target customers. This goes for messaging on your website, emails, and any other customer facing marketing collateral you use.

If you find yourself writing content or social media posts about your sales process, your bottom line, or anything that’s not directly expressing how your product or service effects your prospects time or money, don’t expect it to bring leads.

In the next few sections I’m going to review how to create messaging that is clear, concise, and that adds value. Before I get into it, I want to leave you with a warning. You will see big, successful companies who do not have clear, concise, and value adding messaging. You will see companies with clever puns and snappy slogans. This is not you, at least not yet. Many big companies do not have to follow these rules if they already have massive brand awareness and a well established customer base who already know their value proposition by heart. But if you’re a small business, and you need to grow your customer base, these tips are for you.

Know Your Target Customer

Everyone is secretly looking to improve their lives. You’re prospect customer may think they’re just looking for a product or service, but really they want to change their lives. And this is good news because your product can do that!

  • Saves time-your customers can spend that time elsewhere
  • Saves money- your customers money can be spent elsewhere
  • Simplifies a complicated task- that’s one less stress your customer has to worry about.

Learn your target customers’ goals, struggles, and dreams. Then figure out how your product/service can help.

What’s Your Main Message?

Everyday people are bombarded with advertisements and therefore Messaging. This means that if you want something that sticks, you need to have a message that is crystal clear about its benefits to your target audience.

The best way to do this is to understand your audience and choose a concise message that they will remember. Your main message should be bold, definitive, and offer to change your target audiences’ life for the better.

Here are some good examples of companies with concise, value-adding messaging:

  • Uber- The Smartest Way to Get Around
  • Slack- Be More Productive at Work with Less Effort
  • Digit- Save Money Without Thinking About It

Also notice that these slogans offer to change their customers’ life by hitting key common goals. Value propositions that save time, money, and effort, are always a good bet.

My post on the book, Made to Stick, highlights some techniques for making your messaging memorable.

What’s Your Supporting Message(s)?

Okay the hard part is done. You’ve come up with a great key message that speaks to your target audience’s needs. Now you need to come up with some smaller supporting messages to back up your main message.

I suggest thinking of 3-4 messages that support your one Main Message. These points should be the themes of your website, in your pitch deck, webinars, and content. I suggest making your main message the first thing people see when they come to your website, and your back-up messages the headlines of the other sections of your site.

Sticking with the Uber example, here are some of the Back-Up Messages on their website:

  • Helping businesses move ahead- Uber helps businesses succeed
  • Changing the Future of Transportation- Uber is suggesting they are thought leaders in the world of transportation
  • Help Keep Each Other Safe- Uber is attaching its brand to feelings of safety and team work (good idea since their business model is taking rides from strangers)

Other factors that will help make your Back-Up Messages memorable are to:

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