How to Use Laser Targetted Messaging to Attract Highly Profitable Customers
So today I want to talk about messaging. I’ve written about it before but only as part of a larger article covering a broader topic.
But the subject of messaging is so important I think it very appropriate to shift it to center stage now.
The best messaging talks directly to the reader – they believe that it was written just for them.
I remember a story about messaging when I was running sales teams decades ago. Every Monday we’d hold a sales meeting, and I would give a talk. Sometimes the discussion was expansive and enthusiastic, but if sales were down I often administered some tough love in the form of an exhortation for backsliders to lift their game.
I lost count of the number of reps who came up to me afterward, and said ‘Were you talking about me?’ My answer was always the same: ‘maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t!’ Off they went with a perplexed and concerned look on their face (they thought I was picking on them.)
Messaging can be like that.
But the point is that the best messaging should engender a feeling in the minds of your reader that you are talking directly to them. Ever had that happen to you? Ever read an article or a blog post that really ‘clicked’ with you? Say yes. So now that I’ve got your attention let’s look at some of the key points about this important topic.
What Is Messaging?
Broadly, messaging can be anything you do or produce that your customers or prospective customers will see. Your product carries an implicit message. Hopefully, it will be a positive message, for sure.
Your team are part of the messaging story. Every engagement they have with customers and prospects is about messaging.
On it goes.
But for this blog post I want to narrow the focus to one particular messaging platform – your website.
This is because people are now completely sold on the need to visit a company’s website. It’s the way business is done now. Quite often the first point of contact people will have with your business will be via your site.
So in answer to the question – what is messaging? In relation to your website, messaging is this:
- Your Brand. Including your logo and all of the aesthetic elements that contribute to the visual appeal or otherwise of your website.
- The Useability and Functionality of Your Website. Answer these questions: Is it easy to navigate? Do your pages load quickly? Do all of your links work?
- Your Content. This is where the rubber hits the road. Content messaging consists of your text and video based content, as well as supporting images. Plenty of websites look good and satisfy the functionality requirement. But the content? Oh, dear. Often it’s a case of grit your teeth and ‘count the cliches’.
Because site content is the most important element and because most site content is so mediocre, the rest of this post will be devoted to content messaging.
Why Good Content Messaging Is SO Important
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, yet few businesses get it right.
In its ultimate manifestation, good messaging can take people from being cold, skeptical and cynical to a point where they want to do business with you or your company. In other words, it will help you generate more leads, customers, and income.
On the other hand, bad messaging will turn people off. Too many websites are full of bland clichés that consumers are only too well aware of – they see them on your competitors’ sites too.
Good content can also dispel myths and negatives about your type of business while at the same time will educate and build desire. In fact, significant content can act as a catalyst for action – more visitors will take action, and make an inquiry.
So the imperative for you is to break free from the pack of your ‘me-too’ competitors and transform your website into a potent tool that educates, informs, differentiates and builds the desire to a point that visitors will WANT to do business with you.
Good Design or Good Messaging – Which Is Best?
There is a perennial debate amongst designers and content creators. Some content creators give short shrift to design; they say that content is king. On the other hand, many designers appear to be totally clueless about content messaging and (understandably) put most if not all of the emphasis on design.
Here is my take on the topic.
You need both good design and good content to make a website sizzle.
You cannot have one without the other.
When a visitor visits your website, if it is visually appealing a favorable impression will be created. However if you don’t have compelling content they will click off quickly, never to return. It’s as simple as that.
So, in a nutshell, good design will create a favorable first impression, but good content will keep visitors on your site for much longer, and – importantly – will exponentially increase your chances of them becoming a lead and doing business with you. No doubt about it.
The Fundamentals of Good Messaging
People are motivated mainly by three things:
- Avoidance of Pain. If people have a pressing problem, they’ll do just about anything to get some relief. As marketers, we need to be adept at firstly reminding them of their pain, and then offering them a solution. Bringing out the pain is more than stating the obvious. Sometimes you must go further. You do it by pressing the exposed nerve till they get to the point that they MUST have relief NOW!
- Pursuit of Pleasure. Think of all the money spent on so-called sin products and services. Talk about the pursuit of pleasure! But it’s not just about illicit activities – think of travel, a massive industry dedicated to the carnal desires of people who just wanna have fun.
- Desire For Gain. Not all businesses are about pain relief or pleasure enhancement. Some have products or services that offer the potential for gain. Gain can come in many forms, but is often about making money.
So what business are you in?
Offer a Better Tomorrow. Whether you’re in the business of giving pain relief (solving a problem), showing them how they can have more pleasure, or how to make more money, in essence, you’re offering people a better tomorrow. With that thought in mind, if you focus on the core pain points and hot buttons of people in your niche and micro niches (see below), you’re going to clean up, no question.
Identify the Micro Niches and Their Pain Points and Hot Buttons
If your business is typical, your niche is comprised of some micro niches. If you’re offering ‘pain relief’ each of the niches will have its set of pain points.
I suggest you list the different types of people who buy your product or service, then categorize them according to demographic and other criteria. Above all, list their hot buttons (what motivates them) and their pain points.
Beside each pain point write your pain relief statement. It could come in the form of a headline such as ‘How to lose 4 kilos in 30 days without giving up your favorite foods’.
When you’re creating content for your website the idea is to feature the pain while at the same time giving the reader some relief in the form of ‘good news’
I helped a life coaching business identify one of their micro niches: fat and unhealthy executives and business owners.
Then I wrote this opening statement for their About Page:
“Thanks for checking in to discover how you can revolutionize your HEALTH and your LIFE, just like me.
If you’re like a lot of people I talk to, you’re not exactly feeling on top of the world right now. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel because that’s where I was in 2002. Back then I was fat, bloated and unhealthy.
In fact, things were so bad that I etc. etc. (more pain points).”
From there we segue into a section titled Is This You?, which lists the key pain points for this group of people. We finish off the section with good news:- ‘Well today, I’ve got good news for you’ etc
By way of comparison, here was the original unimproved opening statement (written by the client):
“Thanks for checking in to discover how you too can revolutionize your HEALTH and your LIFE through my proprietary health system that completely slam dunked my own health into the category of those super healthy elite.”
A Tip. When creating copy avoid overly long sentences. Break up the text into ‘manageable bites’, and remove ALL superfluous words.
6 Techniques to Improve Messaging
- Metaphors and Analogies. Just as herbs and spices add zest to a meal, metaphors will do the same for your content. Get it?
- Testimonials. Testimonials from happy customers make a difference. The best testimonials include a pic of the client, or better still a video of them talking directly to a cam.
- Story Telling. People love stories; that’s why they watch tv and go to the movies. Do the same with your content. Customer stories, product performance stories, case histories, team member stories – they all work.
- Good Layout. If you design your content correctly, it will help encourage site visitors to stay on your site longer and read your content. Techniques include smaller paragraphs, lots of subheadings, bullet points, etc.
- Pictorial Enhancement. Use pictures to break up the copy and add visual interest.
- Video. Much underused by business owners, a video is a very potent way to communicate a message to visitors to your website. Videos do not have to be slick, Hollywood-style productions – authenticity is more important.
Examples of Potent Messaging
I look at a lot of websites. Many of them look good, some even look fantastic. But when I read the content, often I feel a sense of deflation.
For content messaging to stand out it must hook the reader and keep them riveted, so they keep reading the item.
To give you an idea of how mediocre messaging can be improved, take a look at the following examples:
An Accounting Firm
You have been operating your business for a number of years now, and you find you mainly focus on the day to day operations and are looking to inject some life into your business. You have ideas and strategies to achieve this and wish to find the right partner for advice.
Your company has been operating for years. It’s doing ok, but you’re fed up with the constant focus on day to day operations. Like a mouse on a wheel, you’re going nowhere fast and want to spend more time working on your business rather than in it. You want to take your business to the next level. But you know that will only happen when you find the right partner for advice, ideas, and a workable action plan.
A Roofing Contractor Business
We only use highly qualified roofing contractors with QBSA licensing, public liability insurance and follow the strict standards of Public Health and Safety. Our mission with every job is to source the highest quality materials from our manufacturers network and to give you long lasting results that will last for years to come. We provide written guarantee from all suppliers and offer a full five years workmanship warranty, giving you complete peace of mind.
Why choose us? Good question. Like virtually all of our competitors, we only use highly qualified roofing contractors with QBSA licensing. We also carry public liability insurance and follow the strict standards of Public Health and Safety.
But here are some other reasons why you should choose us:
5 Year Workmanship Warranty. If anything goes wrong (and it rarely does), we’ll fix it for you, no problem.
In-House Training and Compliance Program. We don’t just use any old contractor to work on your roofing job. We carefully vet each applicant and then train them to our high standards. Only after they have satisfied our strict requirements will we allow them to work on your property.
We’re On Time. We guarantee that our men will turn up on time, but if there is a delay, they will call you to keep you in the loop.
We Clean Up. A lot of tradespeople are messy. So we will tidy up every day after we finish our work.
Notice how I expanded the original version? Yes, there is more copy. More copy is often needed to build a compelling case. Too many websites lack content. A paragraph here and there is a lazy approach. Similar to a lawyer in a courtroom, we have to build a case to win over a skeptical audience. Relating this to our website if making a case requires plenty of text, so be it.
Spending Money On Ads? Don’t Waste It
Lots of business owners have an ad budget. Some still use predominately offline media, such as print ads. But companies are increasingly using online ads to get their message out. Ad platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook have snaffled up billions of dollars in revenue from business that want to get some online action happening.
But here is the problem.
If you’re sending visitors to a typical undifferentiated website, which makes the same old claims in the same old way, your conversions will drop like a stone.
I suggest you put your ads on hold and embark on a messaging audit for your website, as a number 1 priority.
Your Turn – Time to Comment!
What was your biggest takeout from this post?
If you had your time over again, what would you do differently from a messaging standpoint?
Are you satisfied with the messaging on your site?
Make a comment below!
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