In today’s cluttered marketplace, having the right message matters. As your company’s written and verbal branding, messaging makes the connection between what’s important to your market and the value your company can provide. It’s the basis for all marketing and communications and helps differentiate your brand, setting you apart from the competition. However, the process of creating powerful messaging that resonates is no easy task. So, how can your business cut through the noise and persuade your target audience to act? Here are five tips to help you craft marketing messaging that motivates.
- Build a solid foundation
A clearly defined messaging platform is the groundwork for all written communications – from website content, to brochure copy, to social media messaging and more. Now, you might be asking, “What is
messaging anyway?” Messaging is the language-centered portion of your brand’s style guide that outlines who you are as a company. It clearly defines your unique value propositions (UVPs), core messages, secondary messages, company description (boilerplate) and elevator pitch. It provides your employees and stakeholders with language that helps them describe exactly what you do and, more importantly, the problems you solve. But before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), it’s important to take the time to brainstorm the key points you want to communicate to your customers. For example, what products or services do you offer to your customers/clients? What are the benefits— not features – of each of them? How do these benefits differ from those offered by your competitors? Answering these essential will give you a good starting point to launch your company’s messaging platform.
- Keep it simple
Many businesses get caught up with industry jargon. While you may get excited by technical speak and trade buzzwords, this language might not resonate with your audience. Your brand messaging needs to be customer-centric and clearly communicate the benefits your products or services provide – as well as the problems you solve. As an exercise, take a look at your current messaging and pretend that you’ve never heard of your company before. Does it make sense? Would you want to learn more about your company after reading it? Your customers don’t have time to decipher complicated terminology. Be sure to use plain English and keep your messaging simple and easy to understand at a glance.
- Focus on what really matters
A recent study by McKinsey reveals a disconnect between the core messages that many B2B companies communicate about their brands and the characteristics their customers value most. The top three things that customers said they valued most in a business are:
- Having honest, open dialogue with its customers and the public
- Acting responsibly across its supply chain
- Having a high level of specialist expertise
The study, which looked at publicly available content from 90 public B2B companies, found that messaging from companies had little to do with these three themes. In other words, many B2B companies are focusing on the wrong message – and failing to differentiate and position themselves in the marketplace.
To create messaging that stands out, you must build and maintain trusting relationships with your customers by learning about what really matters to them. These relationships, combined with tools such as surveys and focus groups), will help you uncover what your customers care about – and give you the insight you need to address their concerns through effective messaging.
- Look at your company from within
When building your messaging platform, it’s important to find out if your brand is resonating with customers now – and if it will continue to appeal to them over time. A great place to start is by talking to your sales team. What do they find resonates most during the sales process? What questions do customers frequently ask? What are the most common problems they’re trying to solve? It’s also critical to know where your brand is now, where you see it going over the next five years – and to have a plan to evolve your messaging, so that it clearly conveys how your company addresses customer pain points now – and how it will do so down the road. These exercises will help you create targeted messaging that has longevity and closely matches your company’s vision for the future.
- Know your competition
You can’t create messaging that shines without knowing the marketplace. It’s critical to uncover what makes your company stand out before you can write effective messaging. Remember, your business can only have one message and, to inspire potential customers to take action, it must distinguish you from your competitors. Some questions to help you nail down your differentiators are:
- How does your product or service solve a customer’s unique problems?
- What does your company offer that no other business can offer?
- Why should (or do) customers choose you over competitors?
By building a solid messaging platform, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively, differentiate your company’s unique qualities and ensure that your employees can clearly explain your brand. Thoughtful messaging reflects your company’s mission and your customers’ needs – and helps you establish connections and strengthen relationships with decision makers and centers of influence and generate new, qualified leads.