Send the Right Message

Send the Right Message

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As retailers will attest, picky shoppers are spending less and expecting more these days. And they’re carefully evaluating where to spend their money. With your website, ads, direct mail and (especially) PR under the microscope, it’s never been more important to have a company or brand message that’s right on the money.

Are your customers hearing your message?

You may be surprised to discover there’s a major difference between what a company is selling and what its customers are actually buying. Look at a product or service from the customer’s perspective. Where would Harley-Davidson be if it merely sold motorcycles instead of the lifestyle, adventure and persona being a Harley-Davidson owner represents?

Sales increase when you create a marketing message that taps into the essence of what your customers want to buy. You can get a clear understanding of their expectations through research, such as online surveys and focus groups as well as from online message boards and direct feedback from one-on-one sales contact.

Getting your message right

The core marketing message you develop must remain consistent across all your marketing channels, from your website to traditional offline media, and even into social media. That means it has to be simple, direct, and easy to remember and understand. Your core message is the essence of your brand or company. It’s uniquely your own and must clearly define the difference between you and your competitors and make your brand relatable for your audience.

Making a promise

Can you describe what your company is and does in just a few words? This is sometimes difficult for inexperienced entrepreneurs, particularly when there are complex technology products involved. But it’s essential to boil down what your company or brand provides, or more specifically, how customers or clients will benefit from what you offer. As you develop your core message, throw out the words ‘our’ and ‘we,’ and replace them with ‘you’ and ‘your.’

This type of outer-directed language is more appealing to potential customers. An effective core message communicates the benefits customers will enjoy when they buy from you. It’s not the place for a litany of product and service features. Make a promise, and let the remainder of your communications explain how you will deliver on that promise. It may take six months, a year or more for customers to internalise the essence of your core message, and it can be difficult to change perceptions once they’re established. So fine-tune your core message with an eye toward longevity and staying power to support your company’s growth over time.

Kim Gordon
Kim T. Gordon is one of the country's leading experts on the small-business market. Over the past 30 years as an author, marketing expert, media spokesperson, speaker and coach, her work has helped millions of small-business owners increase their success.