In my last post I talked about the importance of the right messaging. This post will cover what makes good messaging. To jump straight to the bottom line, we need to remember that the purpose of marketing is to “get someone with a need, to know, like, trust — and buy from you” (slight modification of the Duct Tape Marketing definition). That means your marketing needs to:
- Directly talk to the need/pain/concerns/hot buttons/ of the prospect.
If the prospect cannot quickly see why this product will be of value to them, then “boing — thank you for playing!” The prospect will move on without reading what you have to say.
Remember too that the prospect will also be exposed to the messages of your competition which brings us to the next rule of good messging:
- Help the prospect understand how your offering is better than alternatives.
If you can’t tell the prospect how you are different from your competitors then they will evaluate you on the only criteria they have available which is price. Being able to differentiate your product or service is how to add value and therefore charge more. Without that you have a commodity!
Some of my clients sadly tell me that their product or service is indeed no different from that of their competitors but when I talk to their customers I hear a different story. I hear things like, “they promptly return my phone calls” or “they save me money” or “they wash and detailed my car!” (financial planner). How is your product or service different?
The next, but related rule:
- Avoid tired phrases
Many companies copy the same messages of the other companies in their industry. They use phrases like “top quality”, “free estimates”, “professional”. It interesting but for the most part, prospects expect that you “have experience staff” or if you are an optician that you provide “contact lenses” and “vision exams”. You don’t need to say so –really. Use the space for something a little more unique.
- Be easy to understand
You don’t have that much time to get the prospect’s attention so if they don’t get it quickly — you lose.
- Have consistent messages in all your marketing tools and be consistent over time
Depending on the length of your sales cycle, your prospect may see your marketing materials over a number of months. To be effective you have to keep repeating the same messages because it will take a while to sink in. Keep in mind the top few things you want your prospect to remember about your company. And make sure you have the same messages in all your marketing materials. Your brochures should say the same thing as your website which should say the same thing as your on-hold message. That’s not to say you won’t go deeper in some tools than others, just that each tool should reinforce the others.
Next time — how to deploy your messaging and the magical messaging quality checklist!