When I talk to established business owners, they usually know exactly who their client is. They work with them day-in and day-out. They can tell me what their name is, their favorite color, what side of the bed they sleep on, their kids’ names, and anything else I need to know about them. But, when it comes to developing a message that will appeal to their customers, they often become frozen, awkward, and unsure of themselves…. Or even worse, they just start talking about themselves and forget all about their customers altogether. In this article, you will learn why your messaging isn’t working, how to clearly communicate your value proposition and how to be confident that you’re speaking the right language to your customers.
Why Your Messaging Doesn't Work
If I’ve said it once, I’ve probably said it a thousand times… your marketing is not about you as the business owner. Your logo shouldn’t reflect what you like. Your brand colors shouldn’t be your favorite color. Your tagline shouldn’t be the very words that speak to your soul. No, your marketing is about your customers. Your logo should reflect what your ideal customer likes, what colors they prefer, and your tagline? It should reflect the way they describe the problem you fix.
This is the very reason we recommend strategy as the first step of the Promotion Path so that you know exactly how to position your brand to attract your ideal customer. So that any step we take after that is in the right direction.
The reason why many businesses’ messaging doesn’t work is because it’s about themselves. Ever been to a website that starts out something like this, “Acme, Inc was founded in 1877 on a foundation of integrity, family tradition, and honesty. We make our handcrafted gadgets with real wood from the Arctic and…” ….In all honesty, who cares? That language is about the business, not the customer. Your messaging should quickly and clearly identify that you understand the problem your customer is facing and that you’ve got a solution.
Instead it should sound something like:
- “Know Your Numbers Every Month” - Account4’s (a bookkeeping and payroll service)
- “Intensify your Nonprofit’s Impact” - Leaf Spring Consulting (a nonprofit consulting firm that helps manage the business stuff so nonprofits can focus on their mission)
- “Helping Couples Build Deeper Relationships” - Infinite Clarity (a Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist And Leading Certified Enneagram Coach)
These clearly speak to the pain point of the customer and how the business helps.
How to Clearly Communicate Your Value Proposition
I’m honestly pretty embarrassed to share this in a public forum… but I’m going to. Marketing fluff just doesn’t work. Your customers don’t believe your claims of grandeur. They don’t believe that the mattresses you sell are the softest in the South. They certainly don’t believe that you have the highest quality window installers in the United States. So claiming these things doesn’t benefit you - in fact, it lowers the trust factor.
So what does work? Offering facts. Rather than filling your website with poetic and flowery marketing language (or corporate-speak as I call it), just tell them what you do. Offer statistics, the clear perk they will benefit from, and share the process of how you do things differently than your competitors in plain language. I’m talking things like “100 5-star Google reviews,” “carrying 178 brands of mattresses,” or “proven to cost 22% less than the competition.”
Now when I say perks, I’m not talking about offering a free Yeti cooler with an installation of any AC unit. I’m talking about the actual perks of your service. How will they benefit from working with you? LCommunicate those benefits in a clear bullet point list and you’ve got a value proposition.
A good example of a value proposition sounds like this:
“Manage Your Finances in Less Than 1 Hour a Month
- Get a cover sheet every month that alerts you to any potential issues, things to watch, or concerns.
- Explanations are provided with each report to ensure you understand what the numbers are telling you.
- Know where you stand every month - no playing catch up at the end of the year.
- See where your money is going at a glance with all the reports you need every month from balance sheets and profit and loss statements to convenient accounts payable reports”
Account4 understands that the biggest pain point for their customers is the time that it takes to keep up with books and payroll. So they addressed it clearly in their value proposition.
How to Be Confident You’re Speaking the Right Language to Your Customers
Now that you know why your messaging isn’t working and how to clearly communicate your value proposition, we’ve got one more topic to discuss: talking in the language your customer talks in. I’m sure you’ve heard it before - you should parrot what your customers say. Yet, we go off and think we have to give them a Yetti cooler to get them to buy from us. All they want is to know that you understand their problem and that you can fix it for them effectively.
The easiest, most effective way of doing this is to simply talk to your customers. Listen to the words they use. How do they describe their problem? Forget your industry’s jargon, and pay attention to how your customer talks. Not only will using this language help your message connect with your customers on a deeper level, it will also help boost your findability online (helloooo, SEO!) You want to be found when a customer searches for you and using the words they are searching for is the best way to do it!
So there you have it! Transitioning your marketing message from you to your customer, clarifying your value proposition to facts, not claims, and speaking your customer’s language is the key to success in marketing. I hope these three tips will help you better understand why your marketing isn’t working so you can successfully make adjustments to scale your business faster.