Get your marketing right – part 1
I constantly have clients asking me about how to come up with a marketing message strategy that works for their business. And honestly there’s no template for a marketing message strategy for all business. What you must consider is what elements work for you and your business. Marketing any business can be very tricky, especially if you don’t have the foundations laid properly. Marketing builds your sales pipeline and promotes your brand so it should not be neglected by you as a business owner
Getting your marketing, positioning, and brand statements right is an essential step to building your overall business identity and here are some tips to help you get it right.
- Understand Your Target Market and Niche
If you want to connect, you have to know with whom you’re connecting. For this, you need to determine your niche. Ask yourself what you are selling and to whom. Are the benefits of dealing with your business clear and are they aligned with the needs of your target customers? Answering these questions will help you focus your messaging and play to your strengths in that niche.
- Think About Needs, Challenges and Desires
Every business, product, or service responds to a customer’s pain point: a need, a problem, a desire, or a challenge. How you address these “pain points” is critical to your messaging. For some businesses, like a builder, for example, these needs seem obvious. For others, pain points may be a little harder to define. For example, an upscale seafood bar and restaurant in a suburban community may or may not be addressing a problem or pain point. But you can certainly weave a benefit statement around the fact that it’s helping residents enjoy a taste of big-city dining right on their doorsteps and meets an emotional need for good times close to home!
- Tell People About your Product – briefly and clearly
Products are a key part of what you do, but they are not everything. Your product or the service your provide should only be a small part of your overall message. Yes, it’s what you bring to your target audience, but you are offering more – customer service, agility, convenience, reliability, experience, etc. Consider all these issues in light of what they mean to your customer. What benefit does it realize for them? Define what you do and why someone would work with you succinctly.
- Add Proof Points
A proof point backs up what you have to say about your business. Think of it as a “don’t just take our word for it” statement. Proof points include customer quotes, success stories that you write, case studies, and references. They’re important because they show how your business has solved the problems of others. A few words or paragraphs can convey the customer’s challenge, the solution you delivered, and the results they gained.
This is a great exercise because it focuses you on the customer experience. Use these as stand-alone messages or incorporate the common themes you see into your messaging.
- Figure out how you are Different
What makes you unique in your niche and to your target market? You’ve outlined your product and you know your customer, but how are you different from the competition? Try to tie those differences to perceived value – i.e. why should your customer care about what you do or provide? Make sure your logo is memorable and exciting and that your marketing material reflects what you do in a memorable way. Remember, good design and personality cuts through.
- Decide on a Messaging Platform
What you are aiming for is flexibility. You want to be able to slice and dice your messaging to suit your audience, your collateral, a promotion, or a sales pitch.
A common approach is to create 25-, 50-, and 100-word versions of your message. The shorter version can be used in advertising copy, elevator pitches, or sound bites in marketing materials. The longer versions give you more flexibility to add specific services, benefits, and value statements, backed up by proof points, about why customers should do business with you.
- Use Your Messaging Consistently
Once you have your message developed, make sure everyone is singing from the same song sheet, from your sales people to your front desk and across your website and marketing pieces. The more your customers hear it, the more likely it will be to resonate and stick.
More on Marketing and some of the most effective methods in part 2.