Messaging, or rather the lack of it, can be the downfall of your business.
You may have thought that coming up with a winning business idea and getting it off the ground was the hard part. Trust me, that’s nothing compared with coming up with the right messaging.
Why is it so important?
Without it, your brand is going nowhere fast.
What does messaging do?
Your messaging is what you use to describe what you’re selling.
It is the tool with which you connect with your customers and potential investors. If it’s not compelling, they won’t want to learn more. And let’s face it when you bring a new product or service to the marketplace you need people to be curious enough to start a conversation with you because that’s how every sale begins.
On top of that, you want to be in control of how people see you and your offering. Without robust and compelling messaging, the market will make its mind up, which may not align with your vision.
Messaging is also the glue that holds your brand together. Your customers will encounter your brand through numerous touchpoints (online, social media, radio, print, exhibitions, POS, etc.). Each will shape their perception of it. If you don’t have a clear and consistent brand message, you’ll create uncertainty.
Why so many get their messaging wrong
The biggest problem business owners have, when it comes to messaging, it that they’re looking at what they do all wrong. To them, it’s the description and features that are important. However, buyers don’t relate to that type of message. For them, the important thing is how your product will benefit their lives.
Another issue is the proximity to the product. The business owner has used every ounce of strength he or she has to create the product. They are too close to their story and tend to assume a certain amount of knowledge that their buyers don’t have. That’s why it is vital to know your audience and understand what it is that makes them tick. Only then can you hope to create a message that resonates with them.
Creating your message
The whole point of your message is to create a positioning statement from which you can hang all future marketing.
It states who you are and the value you offer (i.e. the ‘why’ – what gap are you filling and how it will change the lives of your customers for the better) your target audience.
In simple terms, it will look a bit like this:
For [your target audience – e.g. women, children, business people, elderly] who are [characteristic – e.g. time-poor, middle-aged, looking to retire], [your company name]provides the [what you offer] with [what sets you apart from your competitors] because of [proof of your claim].
Things to remember
Now you know why messaging is essential for the success of your business. As you might expect, something so critical is not easy to achieve.
It isn’t something I recommend you do alone. Collaborate with your management team and consult your target market.
When you begin the writing process, keep away from jargon and marketing platitudes. Your language must be simple. No one is impressed by hyperbole.
Finally, when you think you’re nearly there, test it out on real customers. Asking friends and family will only give you skewed results. It is your customers whom you have to connect with, not your Gran.
As you can see, getting your message right is difficult and crucial in equal measure. It’s often easier to work with someone outside your business because they are more objective about your product and the value it brings. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your message is too important to get it wrong.
Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting