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7 Tips for Getting Your Marketing Message Right

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7 Tips for Getting Your Marketing Message Right

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: March 22, 2012 Updated: May 4, 2012

How do you describe your business to the world? What words sum up your brand identity and what you have to offer? Are you clearly explaining your business value?

It takes a little time and thought to get your marketing message right, which is why so many small businesses fall back on their “About Us” page or product descriptions to describe what they do and for whom. The problem with this approach is that this message is always about the business itself, and not about those you are trying to connect with – your customers.

Getting your marketing, positioning, and brand statements right is an essential step to building your overall business identity.  In marketing circles, it’s called the “marketing platform,” and here are some tips to help you get it right.

1. 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. This blog offers some tips on how to explore this process:  5 Ways to Find the Right Niche and Target Market for Your Small Business.

2. Think About Pain Points, Challenges, Needs 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 plumber, 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!

3. Tell People About your Product - Succinctly

Products are a key part of what you do, but they are not everything. Your product or service 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. So consider all these issues in light of what they mean to your customer. What’s the “so what” factor? What benefit does it realize for them?

4. 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.

5. 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?

6. 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.

7. 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.

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About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Thank you for this. Having a small home based business it has been tough getting everything just right so that things can really take off for us. By reading this it gives me some insight of things I can change and see if it works better!
Well written and to the point. I especially agree with your opening paragraphs. It's not about you and what you want to tell people, it's about what the client/customer is looking for. They don't care if you invested in an expensive piece of equipment...they only care about how that equipment will solve their problem.
I think this article shares great tips for how to create a successful marketing message. It can be so difficult to narrow down our message to get to the heart of the conversation. As a small business owner myself, I think the tips that have helped me the most are to have a thorough understanding of your market and to use your message consistently.
These are very good points. One issue though is the cost of advertising, it seems to work better for big business that way because they have economies of scale. Is there an advertising technique in which small business has a competitive advantage?
Thanks a lot for sharing. Do you have any video for the same? Please let me know if you have a video channel where i can subscribe your videos.
Thanks a lot Caron for sharing these tips. I am a small businessman and considered myself as a beginner in marketing. I think you have done an amazing job in explaining how to get the message correctly. After reading your article, I have updated my About Us page to make it more clear. Thanks!
nice share , thank you..
Like the idea about have three different sized elevator/sales message. Having them worked out and ready in advance will keep your promotional pitches consistant and succinct. Guess that's tommorrow's project.

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