How to Define Your Brand's Marketing Messaging
Marketing messaging is incredibly important, but it can also be a bit confusing and hard to pin down. We, as brand leaders, know what we stand for. But are we accurately and effectively communicating that to the people we serve?
Sometimes, yes. More often than not, no.
So how are you going to make sure that your marketing messaging not only resonates with your audience, but converts them? Start by knowing your audience well
Know who you serve and know them well
We all have customer avatars, right? The problem with those is that they are imaginary people. People we’ve created in our minds. Maybe even people who look like us. They are who we think we should serve, not necessarily who we actually serve. It’s important to get to know the real people who purchase from your company.
Start with your avatar. Your guess is probably the best guess. But as you start making sales, start talking to those people who buy. Send them emails or even book calls. Do the market research to learn more about who they are (age, gender, location, annual income, job title) and what pain points they need solved in their every day.
Need help with your market research? I got you.
Craft an effective mission statement
Especially when we’re in the beginning stages of something, we get all fired up. We say to ourselves, “I’m on a mission to serve these people by doing this!” And then sometimes those people respond with, “We don’t actually want that.”
I learned this from StoryBrand with Donald Miller: you are not the hero of this story. Which is why I now firmly believe that you can’t craft an effective mission statement without thoroughly understanding your customer’s pain points and what they need from you to solve it.
Here’s my mission statement: My mission is to help early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.
The more I learned about startup founders, the more I realized that they were willing to invest in their growth, but their budgets were finite. Not every marketing strategy would work for what they were trying to achieve, so we had to get creative in how we allocated resources. A huge thing for these founders is that they have been burned by marketing professionals before, so my mission is always to work with integrity.
What important aspects of your customers’ pain points can inform your mission statement? Does it make clear exactly what you do?
Find your blue ocean
I’ll be the first person to tell you that every market is completely and irreversibly saturated. With the advent of digital marketing, it’s become even more difficult to stand out. But standing out is ultimately what makes people buy, so you’ve got to find your blue ocean and convey it through your messaging.
Let’s, again, use me as an example. My “blue ocean” consists of two things: I work with early-stage startups and act as their marketing director. There are a myriad of marketing consultants out there and even more digital marketing agencies. I’m filling that space in between where brands want a personalized experience but also want a team member to execute on the plan.
Furthermore, I don’t work with your average, every day business owner. There are plenty of people serving in this space. What I do is unique and specific to the startup sphere.
Do what makes your business model truly unique? Is it the audience you serve? Is it the materials you use? Is it a service you offer that’s not out there yet?
We’ve all got something that distinguishes us. Find yours and make it clear in your messaging.
Ditch the professional tone and get real
Over the years the view of what professional is has slowly begun to make a pivot. In my mind, when people are trying too hard to sound professional, they’re often just sounding stuffy and unrelatable.
You’ve got to speak the way your customer speaks. They need to hear themselves in you.
So first of all, get real in your messaging. Use contractions, short sentences, funky grammar. Authentic that shit up.
Second, don’t try to tell them how amazing you are. They don’t care. Instead, use your language to show them that you understand their pain points and have solutions to help them be amazing.
Know that your messaging is a living thing
So once upon a time you had a blank slate. Just an idea with no message attached to it. Then you started to sell and you had to tell the people something! Just because you decided on a certain message 5 years ago or even 5 months ago doesn’t mean you can’t update it if it’s no longer in alignment with your brand or your audience. There’s absolutely no rule that you can’t evolve.
Messaging is a living thing, so let it breathe and adapt as it needs to.
The takeaways on this one are pretty simple: it’s always about the customer, never about you. You’ve got to get clear on who you serve before you can create messaging that speaks to them. When you’re trying to connect with them, be authentic, be raw. And lastly, if you find your messaging isn’t converting or it feels stale, change it.
Meet the Author: Shauna Armitage
Shauna is a Marketing Director or Fractional CMO helping early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.
As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women doing the same. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and four kids while drinking Coca-Colas. Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.