3 Steps to Writing a Marketing Message That Works
April 20, 2017 | by David Moncur
Communication is an art, but too many people assume that since they write and communicate their entire lives, they intuitively know how to do it well. Even high-level executives inadvertently think that because they run a company, they know everything about it and exactly what their customers need to hear.
But, customers don’t really care what a company thinks of itself—they are looking to make a genuine connection with a brand. When it comes to creating powerful marketing messages that achieve that connection, most companies fall flat.
At Moncur, messaging is one of the things we specialize in and excel at, and over the years I’ve learned that there are three key steps to writing a marketing message that actually works:
1. Be Clear and Consistent
The main problems with most marketing messages is that they start in the details, use the wrong language and change based on who a customer is talking to within the organization.
Companies who haven’t yet strategized or defined their brand message up front have internal team members who communicate “off the cuff”—talking about what they know in their specific role, rather than providing their audience with the bigger picture. These team members are often so focused on sharing the benefits, features and statistics behind the brand that they forget to first establish the top-level thought that lets the audience know what they’re talking about in the first place. Without a clear setup and a logical hierarchy of information, it ends up creating a convoluted story that the customer has to piece together. Additionally, many professionals tend to talk using industry lingo and marketing jargon that doesn’t mean anything to their audience.
Start at the very top and aim to make your message conversational—using words and phrases that mean something to your customers (if you can’t picture yourself saying it to a neighbor or a friend, try again). If you set up your message the right way with a clear structure, approachable tone and careful word selection, you can start the conversation and lead the customer to the next thought—telling them everything they need to know and giving off the impression that you are letting them drive.
2. Tell the Customer What They Really Want to Hear
Many marketing messages are all about action and information, but fail to speak to a customer’s human nature. Without an ability to directly connect with a person, on a real level, your marketing messages are irrelevant and won’t break through the noise.
All customers go through their day with “pains”—issues they are struggling with, stressing over and require a solution for. These pains are a voice inside their head and if you can understand and speak the same language as that voice, people are psychologically wired to listen and respond.
How do you know if you are speaking the same language? Put your message to the “driving test”—I check to see if what I’m saying is something that my audience would naturally think while driving in their car. If the thought feels forced, try to get inside your audience’s mindset and create a message that speaks to what they are genuinely concerned or excited about.
3. Say Something Different
Today’s markets are over-crowded; there are hundreds of companies out there doing and saying the exact same things. For a customer, shopping around and finding the right company to work with can feel overwhelming.
Remember, your audience is looking for answers to their pains and making emotional choices. If you understand this and can also differentiate your company in a way that is meaningful, the customer will pick or shortlist your company over the competition every time.
Often, I find that differentiators have nothing to do with what your brand sells. A powerful difference captures more than just the facts, it evokes an experience or a feeling. The trick is to find what drives value to your customers and prove you can deliver that value.
In the end, a marketing message should be clear and consistent across all corporate communications, speak to the voice inside the customer’s head and make your company feel uniquely different than the competition.
If you take all of these thing into account, you should be well on your way to crafting a well-written marketing message that connects with your customers and ultimately helps you gain more business.