Clarity, in terms of marketing, is how well your brand’s overall message is received by potential customers and is a major factor that can be the difference between whether or not you land a sale.
The golden rule of messaging is this: when you confuse, you lose.
Clear messaging is vital to the success of your business and is the key to winning sales and gaining a loyal customer base.
No matter what your business entails, providing clear messaging to consumers through your marketing is an absolute must.
In this article, we will explore the importance of clear messaging in gaining customers.
Plus, we will discuss the signs that may indicate a messaging problem and provide advice on how you can clarify your own message using the StoryBrand Framework, developed by StoryBrand.
The Importance of Clear Messaging
When discussing the term “messaging” in relation to marketing, we are discussing the ways in which a business describes its usefulness and value to potential customers through a marketing strategy. The problem is that it is easy to miscommunicate a business’ value if the business or marketing team itself does not have a clear objective or narrative they are trying to achieve through their messaging.
A marketing message is often the first thing a potential customer will see about your business or brand, and that initial impression is crucially important – especially considering it only takes around 90 seconds of viewing for a consumer to make a subconscious judgment.
Here are some of the other main advantages of clear messaging:
· Gives consumers an immediate explanation of what a business has to offer
· Gives a business the opportunity to stand out
· Provides a base framework for the rest of a marketing strategy
· Builds trust within a customer base that results in returning customers
There are a number of factors that go into whether or not a business’ messaging can be considered clear. However, the main factor is if the message has an obvious focal statement that plainly describes what the business has to offer and the value it provides.
According to Lumen Learning:
“Messaging translates a positioning statement into a set of convincing “key message” statements. Marketers use these statements to develop materials for marketing communications such as ad slogans, advertising copy, social media posts, press releases, presentation scripts, and so forth. Messaging documents are a blueprint for what all the other materials–and people–should communicate.”
There are a number of ways your message can become convoluted and unclear, thus resulting in marketing tactics that yield little to no results. Here are a few examples of how messaging can go away:
· Too much emphasis on the cleverness of messaging, resulting in misleading or misrepresentation of a business.
· Not enough focus on a central message, thus not giving consumers an easily understood idea of what a business offers.
· Too much information, causing the consumer to become bored or uninterested.
Ultimately, having clear messaging is going to help your business to gain more customers and make more sales. It is majorly important to remain conscious of how transparent, understandable, and focused your messaging is in order to ensure you maintain the utmost clarity for your customers.
Signs You Have a Messaging Problem
So, you understand the importance of clear messaging but still feel your business may have a messaging problem. There are a number of signs to look out for that are indicative of unclear messaging in need of revision. These include:
· Financial Strain: You have spent enormous amounts of money on marketing but have seen little to no positive results or success.
· Lack of Uniqueness: Your clients and customers cannot tell what makes you different from other businesses in your industry – your business is blending in with the rest.
· Self-Orientation: You talk more about yourself than your customer’s problems – good messaging should focus on how your products or services can solve a customer’s problems.
· Poor Storytelling: You fail to invite potential customers into a story that is compelling and relevant to them, thus losing their interest.
These four indicators of bad messaging are critical to pay attention to, as they are the most likely to influence how a potential customer perceives your brand and business.
Financially, if your current marketing strategy is bleeding your bank account but yielding no success, it is vital to make immediate change rather than continuing to pour money into a strategy for messaging that simply isn’t working.
According to Donald Miller, founder of Business Made Simple and StoryBrand, it is important to not make your customers expend energy trying to decipher exactly what you and your business are offering to them. Consumers do not want to have to think about what a business is saying to them – they want a clear and concise statement of exactly what is being provided.
Furthermore, while creating this clear and concise message, you must keep in mind the aforementioned factors of uniqueness, self-orientation, and storytelling. This means you need to craft your marketing messaging to not only be short and to the point, but also to stand out from the competition.
By focusing on the customer’s problems rather than only talking about yourself, you can build a better story that the customer can then better relate to, while also emphasizing the ways in which your business can meet the customer’s needs better than other competitors.
Donald Miller explains that the customer should ultimately be the focus and hero of the story you are telling. He further states:
“When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenges. Positioning the customer as the hero in the story is more than just good manners; it’s also good business.”
How to Clarify Your Message So More Customers Will Listen
When it comes to clarifying your message, there are some important considerations to keep in mind about the focus of your messaging and how it can be improved. There are a few key components to achieving clarity, some of which we have already discussed such as the importance of uniqueness. Here are the other components of clarity in messaging:
· Focusing on a Target Audience: The very first step in any plan for clarifying your messaging needs to be an analysis of your customer base – specifically, who they are, what they want, and what their problem is. After you have identified and assessed your customers, you must now craft the story you plan on telling to these customers.
· Choosing a Niche or Theme: Focusing in on a specific audience will also be likely to require an established niche or theme that your business fits into. Choosing a niche or theme can also help you to further narrow down and specify your overall messaging.
· Connecting Emotionally: Ultimately, your marketing messaging is a call to action for potential customers to buy your products or services. In order to have an effective call to action, there must be an emotional connection that drives the customer towards the action you want them to take.
Although it may be easy to understand that your business needs clear and focused messaging, actually achieving this may be a bit more difficult without guidance – enter the StoryBrand Framework.
The StoryBrand Framework, created by Donald Miller, provides businesses an effective framework for marketing and messaging that are essential for businesses and brands to adopt. This is one of the quickest ways for a business to clarify their message and experience growth.
- Identify what your customers want
Who calls you? Who buys from you? What are people looking for when they buy from you?
- Identify what your customers’ external, internal, and philosophical problems are
For External ask these Qs: What keeps people from doing this on their own? What gets people getting what they want from your competitors?
For Internal ask the following Qs: What frustrations do your customers experience as a result of the external problem? Or, Are people anxious, stressed, afraid, or overwhelmed with the problem they’re experiencing?
For Philosophical ask the following Qs: Why is it wrong that your customer is facing these external and internal problems?
Think about these in terms of should/ought/deserve.
- Be the guide, not the hero
Your customer is the hero. Naturally, as a guide, you need to establish empathy and authority.
Effective guides establish empathy through a clear empathetic statement that speaks to the external, internal, and philosophical problem.
A good guide doesn’t change–they’ve already transformed, so they can speak back to the issue with confidence and authority.
A strong guide is one that establishes authority. This one is simple to understand, think social proof such as testimonials, case studies, customer reviews, or logos of clients you’ve served.
- Give customers an easy plan to do business with you
What are the three steps your customers have to take, to overcome their conflict and experience success?
- Provide an obvious call to action
You would think this is simple. But surprisingly many businesses fail to offer a compelling call to action. This is your “Buy Now” button; “Learn more” is not an effective CTA.
- Identify the stakes and how your product helps to avoid them
This is critical. As a brand with a solution to a customer’s problem, it’s your responsibility to help your potential customer understand how your business will help them avoid failure.
Answer this: what will happen if your customer doesn’t engage, what are they doomed for?
- Help customers to imagine what success looks and feels like
This is where successful brands shine. They help their customers transform and visualize what success will look like after having engaged with their brand.
This could be communicated through images on your site of happy people using your product or services.
These principles are the driving force behind the success of StoryBrand’s framework, and when properly executed can be the driving force behind the success of your own business. The framework can be used to clarify messaging on everything from websites and emails to sales funnels and advertising.
Without clear messaging, your business marketing is likely to confuse or cause disinterest within potential customers, leading to the loss of sales and growth. By implementing a strategy to clarify your messaging, such as following the highly effective StoryBrand Framework, you can improve your sales conversions magnificently.
Remember that the customer is the hero of this story, and your brand or business is the guide. To achieve clear messaging, you must focus on the problems of the customer and what they want – and don’t forget: if you confuse, you lose.