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Focus Your Marketing Message

The messaging you use for your brand matters. It tells your audience exactly what your business can do for them, why they should care, and what they should do about it. Without a clear message, you’ll have a hard time getting clients to purchase from your business or even remember who you are.

The message you create for your business is your chance to convey the fundamentals of what your brand is all about. If you don’t determine these fundamentals yourself and clearly communicate them to your audience, you risk letting someone else out there decide it for you. As Deb Gabor, Founder and CEO of Sol Marketing stated, “It’s brand or be branded.”

Below are the basic characteristics of a good marketing message. This is what you should aim for as you create your own brand’s message.

  • A good marketing message is aimed at your target audience. If you want to sell effectively, you can’t sell to everyone. You need to narrow your focus. If you haven’t identified your ideal client (AKA target audience), you’ll want to do that first. We wrote a guide to walk you through it.

  • A good marketing message requires clarity. When you get clear about who it is you’re serving, how you’re serving them, and why, the rest will fall into place. Confusion doesn’t sell, but clarity does.

  • A good marketing message is focused on solutions. It’s not about just selling services. It’s about providing solutions to your audience’s problems. Your clients don’t care about the features of your services, but they do care about how your services can help them solve the real problems they face each day.

  • A good marketing message needs to be sincere and honest. This should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway for good measure. You have to follow through on your word. If you make a promise to your audience, you need to make good on it. When you do what you say you will, your clients will trust and rely on you.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the steps you can follow to create a good marketing message for your brand.

Craft your message

Here are the parts of your marketing message you’ll want to create.

The problem

If you’ve successfully identified your target audience, you should also have identified the core problem(s) that audience is experiencing. Choose one problem to focus on. What’s the main problem that most of your target audience will resonate with? What obstacle is keeping them from achieving their goals as it relates to your service? This should be the main problem your business helps resolve.

This isn’t to say you can’t talk about other problems your clients experience. But you should have one main problem in mind to focus on most of the time. We’re aiming for clarity, so choosing one main problem simplifies and clarifies your message.

In your marketing copy, you’ll want to identify this problem. It could be as simple as stating “We know how hard it is for small business owners to successfully market their business to reach new customers and generate leads.” Or “Local retailers often struggle with lacking time or expertise to consistently execute marketing campaigns.” Say something that lets your audience know you understand the problem they face.

We start with identifying the problem because your client is the main character, not your business. If you start out by introducing yourself, talking about the history of your business and how it came to be, or describing what you sell, your audience will not be interested. Talk about your clients first. Show them you understand and empathize with their problems. Then they’ll be more prepared to listen to what comes next.

The solution

Next, you’re going to identify the solution to your target audience’s problem — more specifically, the solution you provide. You know you offer what they need, but they don’t know that yet. Here is where you’re going to tell them.

State what you offer clearly and concisely. Make sure it ties back to your audience’s problem that you decided on in the last section. For example, “At XYZ Agency, we’ll help you develop and execute a marketing strategy tailored to your business goals.” Or “I’ll help you do digital marketing right by executing a customized plan.”

Keep your language simple so your audience will understand. Don’t use technical terms or specialized language that might confuse someone who isn’t as informed about your industry. Make sure it’s crystal clear what solution you’re offering so they’ll be ready to take action.

The action

If you want a prospect to take action, you have to ask them to take action. Your audience can’t read your mind. If you don’t tell them what you want them to do to start working with you, they won’t do it — even if they’re interested in what you have to offer. And if you’re too soft when you do ask them to take action, your invitation will probably go unnoticed. Your audience is bombarded with a ton of information every day, including plenty of marketing tactics from other brands. If you’re subtle about extending them an invitation, it’ll easily get overlooked. That’s why we need to aim for bold invitations. A bold call to action is hard to ignore and that’s what you want.

Decide on one action. When a prospective client is interested in doing business with you, what’s the one thing you want them to do to get started? Should they call you? Purchase your service? Book a consultation? Fill out a contact form? Make sure it’s a clear, simple step that’s easy to understand.

A weak call to action is unclear and passive about the action a person should take. You don’t want to confuse your prospective clients because a confused prospect isn’t going to take action. Here are examples of weak calls to action:

  • Learn more
  • Consider giving us a call
  • Curious about us?
  • Our process
  • Get started

On the other hand, a strong call to action is direct and understandable. It exudes confidence and creates a clear process the person should follow. Below are examples of strong calls to action:

  • Shop now
  • Call today
  • Buy now
  • Download the checklist
  • Schedule a consultation

Identify the one action a client should take to begin working with you and repeat it often. Don’t worry too much about seeming pushy. Your most interested prospects want to know you’re ready to do business with them and expect you to provide a clear path forward. If they’re not quite ready for it, they don’t have to take the next step. But you should still ask them so that when they are ready, you’re there extending a clear invitation.

The result

In this section, you get to talk about what will result after someone takes action and does business with you. How will their life be changed for the better? What success or milestone will you help them achieve?

In Marketing Made Simple, Donald Miller writes that when determining this part of your message you should keep asking yourself “which results in …?” to get to your final answer. A marketing agency may want to say their clients’ final result is a good marketing campaign. But by asking the question “which results in …?” they might be able to clarify the result even further. Miller states you “want to get all the way to the end result your customer will experience. And you want that result to be tangible.”

Make sure the result you describe directly ties back to the problem you decided upon earlier. For example, this could be “so you can grow your business and reach new people,” “so you have more hours in the day to focus on what you do best,” or “so you stand out online and get more leads.”

With this result identified, you’re ready to bring your marketing message together.

Then bring your message together

Once you’ve crafted your problem, solution, action, and result, combine these sections into one brief statement that nicely summarizes your business. See below for examples.

Example 1:
We know how hard it is for small business owners to successfully market their business to reach new customers and generate leads. At XYZ Agency, we’ll help you develop and execute a marketing strategy tailored to your goals so you can grow your business and reach new people.
Call to action: Schedule a free consultation

Example 2:
Local retailers often struggle with lacking time or expertise to consistently execute marketing campaigns. I’ll help you do digital marketing right by executing a customized plan so you have more hours in the day to focus on what you do best.
Call to action: Call today

Once this statement is complete, you can reuse it across your marketing collateral for a consistent message. Having a clear problem, solution, action, and result will help you keep your marketing focused and easily understood.

Think of this statement as your base message. From there, you can remix and remake it as necessary to fit your needs for each piece of content you create. You can slightly modify the wording or rephrase things for a little variety. (Though changing it too much may make it difficult for your audience to recognize or understand your brand! Consistency is best.) Or you can build upon your base message by adding additional sections to further explain your offer and value.

Here are ideas of other sections you can use to expand upon your base message:

Value proposition

Tell your audience why they should do business with you instead of someone else. Will what you’re offering save them time or money? Is it easier to use than the competition? A better experience? Less hassle or fewer headaches? Try to answer the following question: “what do you offer and why is it better?

Process steps

Before a prospect commits, they’ll likely want to know what your process entails. If the process sounds complicated, they’ll be hesitant to start and will end up putting it off. Therefore, they might never get around to taking action. To prevent this, you want to reassure them that working with you is simple. Try to limit your process outline to 3-4 steps to keep your audience from getting overwhelmed. In reality, you might have an elaborate process with many more steps, but you’ll want to consolidate it for your marketing message so your audience feels confident they can complete it hassle-free.

Here’s an example:

  1. Schedule a call
    Get a free consultation to see how we can help you take your business to the next level.

  2. Create a strategy
    We’ll create a custom marketing strategy tailored to your business’s goals.

  3. Grow your business
    With the right strategy and tactics, you’ll stand out and win new customers.

Expertise

Communicate how you’re uniquely qualified to resolve your audience’s problem so you can establish trust with them. What is it about your experience or accomplishments that means they should choose you over someone else in your industry? You could use a statement such as “For the last 10 years, we’ve helped small business owners expand their digital marketing” or “I’ve served over 100 happy clients since 2001.”

Segments

If your target audience has multiple segments, you might find it best to create several versions of your message to address each one. How you’d market your brand to a small business owner may be different than how you’d market it to a corporate CEO. Identify the main problem each audience segment experiences (if there are any differences) and then craft the rest of each message version around each segment’s unique qualities.

And put your message to use

Use it everywhere

Once you’ve crafted your brand’s message, you can reuse it across your marketing collateral again and again. Every time you create a piece of content, you can find ways to incorporate this language to create a consistent message for your brand. This goes for content you use on your website, social media, emails, blog, webinars, case studies, presentations, videos, business cards, podcasts, digital courses, slide decks, etc.

It might feel repetitive to you, but we promise it doesn’t feel too repetitive to your audience. Research shows it can take 6-8 touchpoints with a brand before someone arrives at a place where they’re ready to make a decision. This means repetition in your marketing is a good thing because it will remind your audience who you are and what you’re about. You want your audience to not just remember your business’s name, but also remember (at least generally) what it is you do. That way when they need help in your area of expertise, you’re the first one they think of. So repeat, repeat, repeat your message. Make your calls to action clear and bold, and when a prospect is ready, they’ll take you up on it.

Adapt it for individual campaigns

If you’re launching a new service or other offer, you can adapt your base marketing message for that particular campaign. Think about the specific problem that launch is addressing, how you’re solving the problem, what action a prospect should take to get in on it, and what the result is for the prospect. Then use that messaging across all of your launch collateral.

For example, if you’re starting a campaign to grow your email list, you may be able to leave some parts of your base marketing message alone, but you’d probably need to change your call to action for the campaign. If normally your main call to action is “schedule a consultation,” for this particular campaign you’d want to change your call to action to “sign up” instead since you want your audience to enter their email to join your list.

Overall, remember that when it comes to a good marketing message, how clearly you communicate your message matters. Creativity or cleverness is nice, but if it comes at the expense of clarity, it’s not effective. Write for clarity first. Then, if necessary, add a touch of creativity, cuteness, cleverness, or humor if that resonates with your audience. But if that extra touch detracts from how well your message might be understood, remove it. A clever line won’t generate sales if people don’t understand what you’re offering or why they should care.

Once you’ve crafted a clear message with your audience in mind, you’ll know you’ve found success when your ideal client reads the message and feels like it’s been written just for them.

There are plenty of ways you can approach focusing your marketing message, but we’re fans of the StoryBrand framework. If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into clarifying your business’s message, the book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller is a helpful guide. It’ll walk you through refining your message using the power of story so the right audience can understand and respond to it.

Or, if you’d like something a little less time-intensive, download our brand messaging worksheet below. It’ll take you through the basics of refining your message so you can elevate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You don’t have to be a marketing or copywriting expert to use either of these options — any business leader can put this into practice.


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