So you’ve been churning out content like a machine.
Your content is really good.
You know what you’re talking about.
You have honed your message and know exactly what you need to tell your readers.
But…your readership isn’t growing, your pipeline is sluggish, your email list has stagnated.
Or maybe you do most of your selling face-to-face.
You have your sales pitch developed and have sharpened it with each sales call.
But still, your sales aren’t closing.
People don’t leave feeling inspired, empowered. More importantly, they don’t leave with your product in hand or your service under contract.
Before you do anything else — think about your best marketing message. It may be a blog post, a social media message, a sales pitch, or even a brochure.
Whatever it is, think through what you say. Review your story in your mind. Think about what gets you excited about that piece.
It’s a really good piece, isn’t it?
BUT…it isn’t working.
I’m certain you’ve thought about why it isn’t connecting.
You’ve probably updated it several times. You’ve probably seen some improvement, but not as much as you want or need.
Fortunately, there are a few common problems in corporate messaging and they all have simple solutions. Once you read them, you’ll think they were common sense — but really, if you’ve never been told about them before, then there is no reason to think you’d know them.
Here are 4 common reasons why your message isn’t connecting with potential customers…and some straight-forward solutions.
Messaging Problem #1: Your Message is Unclear
You aren’t saying what you think you are. We all fall victim to this — we think we are crystal clear, but in reality, we are using buzz words and dancing around the real message.
Think about that favorite marketing piece from earlier. What are you trying to say?
No, really — say it out loud. What is your main message?
Okay…how many sentences did you use?
Use the 1 sentence rule. If you can’t get your message across in 1 simple sentence, then it isn’t clear enough.
Coming out of graduate school, my mom told me that if I couldn’t explain my area of expertise to a typical middle school student, then I really didn’t know it well enough.
Likewise, my 4th grade English teacher — Mrs. Wakefield — always told the key to good writing was KISS — Keep It Simple, Stupid.
These are all the same lesson. Boil your message down to 1 simple sentence. A good template to follow is:
[Customer] will [solve their problem] by using [my product], because…
Messaging Problem #2: You Don’t Identify a Problem
…and offer a solution.
Sometimes we get stuck talking about what we can do and how we can make things better.
The only problem? We miss the step where we actually explain the problem.
You want to be crystal clear about what problem you are solving for your customer. Or better yet, about which problem they can solve with your help.
This step builds familiarity between you and the reader. It builds trust and sets you up as an expert — as someone who has been there and done that.
You clearly know what you are talking about because you took the words right out of your customer’s mouth.
Defining the problem isn’t enough, though. You have to offer a solution. Your solution to your customer’s problem.
(See what I’m doing with this article? Outlining the problem and then offering a solution.)
Be crystal clear about the problem and the solution. Stop assuming that each of your potential customers is thinking about the same thing you are. Make it easy for them to see how you can help them.
Are you wondering how you identify the customer’s problems correctly? Do you avoid stating the problem for fear you could be wrong?
The easiest way around these issues is to just ask your customers. A good market research strategy will go a long way toward making sure that you understand what’s on your customer’s mind.
Messaging Problem #3: You Don’t Show a Better Way
In your marketing messaging, you may talk a lot about benefits and process — how things get done and what your product does. But you may not be helping your customer see how their life will be different after their purchase.
You have already built a foundation of trust by being clear, identifying the problem, and being relatable. Use that trust to show your customer a better way.
Be aspirational. People want to be inspired.
They want to see that there is a better way, a better life, an easier or more effective way. Paint a picture of what life will be like once they fix their biggest problem.
It’s hard for your customers to picture how their life will change after using your service or buying your product. You have to show them.
Talk about how your solution will reduce their anxiety, increase their profits, reduce their workload, increase their time with their family. Paint a picture of a world before and after your solution.
Can’t you picture the day when your marketing copy sets you up to blow through your sales goals and you’re free to spend time with your family or take that long-weekend get-away?
Messaging Problem #4: You Don’t Have a Call To Action…or you have too many.
You don’t tell the customer what you want them to do. Your call-to-action is either unclear or non-existent.
Are you ever scared to actually ask for what you want? Do you hope that the customer will magically buy exactly what you want exactly when you want them to buy?
Maybe you throw several offers out at once, hoping one will stick. How should your customer do what you want, when you don’t tell them — more than once — what you want them to do.
Tell your customers what you want them to do. Decide on one action that you want them to take.
Really — you want to narrow it down to one singular action. Then, give them an easy path to take that action.
- Do you want people to sign up for your email list?
- Should they call you to schedule an appointment?
- Are you asking them to buy something from you right now?
The ask you make can also depend on where your customer is in the sales cycle. For a full sales cycle, you’ll need to cultivate multiple asks along the way — ranging from low commitment to high commitment, from free to expensive.
Writing a strong message — one that advances and ultimately closes your sales — is critical to the success of your business.
A clear message — one that’s focused on your customer’s success — will pave the way for your own small business growth.
Originally published at https://phloxpartners.com on April 28, 2020.