Effective Messaging NOT Design Is the Way to Make More Sales From Your Website
If you want to attract more customers to your business, you’ll need to be REALLY good at this……
Messaging is more important than your logo, more important than design and aesthetic elements.
The message is all.
Think of the different ways you can message potential customers. Here is my shortlist:
- Brochures, flyers, and letters
- Print ads
- Radio and TV ads
- A website including a blog
- Social media sites
A question all business owners should ask themselves should be, ‘Is my messaging really hitting the spot with my audience?’
What say you?
If it’s a yes, you can click off now. But before you do that think about this: some business owners think their messaging is working, but when I have a look at their website I see problems everywhere.
That’s why I sometimes record a site review video so people can get an idea of the fundamental mistakes many business owners are making with their websites.
Your prospects see a lot of claims and jargon about this product or that. They’re skeptical, nervous and confused. When they land on your website they may have already seen half a dozen other sites. Do you think they may be in a mental fog by the time they land on your website?
No doubt about it!
Help Your Prospects Cut Through the Clutter
Understanding that prospects are more confused than ever it makes sense to craft a different message or narrative. You want something that totally sets you apart from the me-too bunch of similar websites in your industry.
Just as a hot knife instantly cuts through butter, you need messaging that cuts through the clutter for your prospects. When that happens your prospects will have the first of many ‘a-ha’ moments as they trawl through your site, devouring every morsel of desire building content.
6 Ways to Improve Customer Messaging
Way 1: Be Totally Clear About the Pain Points Of Your Niche
To prosper in business, at least from a marketing standpoint, you need to be crystal clear on customer pain points.
Pain points come in various forms. But one thing is for sure – customers have a problem, and they want it fixed. Like yesterday. And if you have the product or service that can address the pain, good news for you.
Before you do another thing, grab a piece of paper and write down the key problems your market wants to solve, when buying your type of product or service.
Finished? Good, now read on!
There is another kind of pain point. It’s about the frustrations people experience when dealing with your type of business. Here are some examples:
- If you’re running a trades type service business, pain points could be about service delivery. For instance, if I were to ask people about the frustrations they have when dealing with tradespeople such as plumbers, they would probably mention poor service, being late to do the work, and leaving a mess.
- If you’re running a professional business such as an accounting practice, customers might say that their accountant is not very pro-active or innovative, doesn’t return phone calls, and is poor at explaining complicated topics in layman terms.
- If you’re running a computer shop, customers might say that salespeople never ask questions, push them into a product that may not suit their needs, and fail to explain technical terms in a simple way.
Way 2. Define Your USP
What is the USP? Well, according to the dictionary, the USP or unique selling proposition is defined as “a factor that differentiates a product from its competitors, such as the lowest cost, the highest quality or the first-ever product of its kind”.
Assuming that you’re not in the lowest cost camp the objective should be to find the differentiating points that set you apart from your competitors, other than price.
It is important to note that these differentiating points do not have to be tangible. They could be more about perception than reality. Therefore, if you can create the perception of difference, that may be all you will need.
An example of this would be Coca Cola. Is this drink that much better than Pepsi? Probably not. Indeed blind tests have indicated that a majority of people preferred the Pepsi taste. But the perception is that Coke is better than Pepsi, and that’s all that matters in the marketplace.
Another example is Apple products, including the iPhone. Is the iPhone that much better than say a Samson Galaxy? Doubtful. Apple continues to charge a premium for their product because people PERCEIVE it’s better than the Galaxy, and all others besides. The remarkable thing about Apple is their brand still has enormous marketplace cache despite the demise of its charismatic founder.
A brand can bestow almost magical qualities on a product, even though there may be no tangible difference between it and a competitor product with a less powerful brand.
Think about that for a minute!
So let’s look at some elements of a compelling USP. These could include:
- Your Guarantees. How do they instill confidence and allay fears?
- On Time Performance. If that is a hot button for your market, you must demonstrate you can deliver on time, every time.
- Your Skills, Qualifications, or History. Why your service is superior to your competitors.
- Product Differentiation. Key points of difference with your products. But don’t just bore people with features – talk benefits too.
- Results Linkage. If you can demonstrate superior outcomes (ie results) for customers who use your product or service, shout it from the rooftops.
Way 3. Develop a Compelling Narrative
One purpose of your story is to articulate your USP in many different ways. But the narrative should be more than this. It needs to be an engaging read. Just as a chef enhances the flavor of a dish with some herbs, spices, and garlic you need to add flavor to your story-based content.
The story could include the following elements:
Messaging About Competence. Your website should represent the hub for your primary messaging activities. Demonstrating competence is something all business owners need to do. Don Purdum of Unveiling the Web says this about competence:
“I have a firm belief that competency is the reason why people hire and fire any business. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business-to-business or business-to-consumer company.”
Messaging About Social Proof. Social proof consists of properly formatted testimonials, case histories, interviews, comments and social sharing on your blog. See below for ideas.
Messaging That Opens a Relationship and Builds Warmth. You could include a welcome message on your home page and extend the concept further on your About Page.
Messaging That Share’s a Vision. Ideally, you will do this on your About page. Avoid the temptation to be overly flowery, but it’s a good idea to involve customers (and potential customers) in your vision. If they buy into it, they’ll become your best advocates.
Way 4. Show How Your Product Or Service Will Solve Problems and Enhance Lives
Not all goods and services solve problems. Some just make people feel good while others change lives.
Examples of the former would be a luxury product such as a diamond ring. In fact, a few months ago I won a diamond ring as a reward for sales excellence. Indeed, some people would gladly pay for that ring. Do they need it? No. But do they want it? Yes for sure.
Let’s extend this idea a little more. To be awarded that ring meant a lot to me. But in reality, the ring itself wasn’t the issue; it was more to do with what it represented – namely, recognition.
The point is that if we want to move beyond selling commoditised products and services we have to tap into human emotions such as ego, pride, the need for recognition and approval, and the prospect of a better future. When we do that, people spend more – it’s as simple as that.
Way 5. Demonstrate Competence
Competence is Important. That’s why I mention it again here. Unless you can prove it you will find it hard to position your business as an authority in your niche or industry. People want more than slogans and hype; they want proof that you and your business have the goods when it comes to giving them an excellent result.
Way 6. Validate With Social Proof
What is social proof?
Examples of social proof:
- Testimonials With Punch. Everyone knows what a testimonial is. But I want to extend the concept to what I call ‘testimonials with punch’. To create a compelling testimony, simply take your garden variety testimonial and build a story around it. Include an introductory paragraph to set the scene, the actual testimony, and then a closing paragraph. To give further oomph, you should add a pic of the happy customer. The final element is the headline. Try and come up with a catchy headline to entice people to read the mini-story.
- Case Histories. A case history is similar to a testimonial in that your happy customer is the pivot point. But of course, the case history goes into detail and shows the reader how the customer had their problem solved or their situation improved, as a result of doing business with you. In many respects, the case history is more powerful than a testimonial because it gives the reader some tangible ‘proof’ that the claims you’re making (about your product or service) can be validated.
- Interviews. Interviews can take many forms. They can be text-based or voice-based. If voice-based it could be an audio interview or a video interview. In recent years the free Google Hangouts platform has become popular with marketers; you can interview the person, whilst the Hangouts software records it. As soon as the session has ended Google will automatically load it on YouTube. Customer interviews work well, but you can also interview team members, suppliers and other people that may be of interest to your audience. You can even interview others in your industry. For instance, a year ago I interviewed a famous travel blogger, Ryan Biddulph. That interview opened many doors for me (thanks, Ryan!)
- Blog Engagement. Blog engagement is another form of social proof. If you check this blog, you will see that most blog posts attract comments. When people see this, they gain comfort and confidence. Contrast this with most other blogs that have zero engagement. Keep in mind that this blog is only a few months old. This is the difference between having a dead blog and a live one. For more on this topic check out my recent blog post on Blog Commenting and Networking.
- Social Media Shares. When people start sharing your content (e.g., your blog posts) on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, you know that things are heading in the right direction. These social media shares also serve to further validate you and your business.
So there you have it. My little report on prospect and customer messaging. I hope you got something out of it. More importantly, I want you to use it as a catalyst to get into action and take some steps to radically improve your own marketing messages.
Your Turn – Time to Comment!
When it comes to messaging and narrative creation, how effective have you been?
Does your website need more work in terms of building a compelling narrative?
Are you totally clear about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
Make a comment below!
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