The amount of noise in the marketplace has increased drastically. Consequently, marketing messages today must be razor sharp to cut through the noise and be compelling enough to immediately hook prospective customers.
Here are eight characteristics of good messages that get results. Incorporating these attributes into your messaging will help you get heard, be remembered and, most importantly, prompt action. Effective messaging that reaches out, grabs the intended audience, and draws them in typically contains a number of the following:
Good messaging first identifies the audience you’re attempting to reach and answers the question, “What’s in it for them?” Once you define who the audience is, state the value they can expect from your service in terms they can relate to and understand. Keep in mind that your message may have to be restated for different audiences. Don’t assume that your audiences understand the value they’ll receive — make it clear by specifically targeting your messages for each one.
Simple and Brief
With today’s onslaught of messages aimed at your target audiences, there is limited capacity for customers to remember who you are and the value you can provide. Some experts contend that humans can typically remember phrases containing up to about seven words. Beyond that, most memories are challenged. There are numerous taglines and sound bites that have been able to effectively convey a key message with a minimum of words. The California Milk Processor Board’s “Got Milk?” and IBM’s “e-Business” are great examples of how keeping it short makes it stick.
Compelling and Bold
Making a bold statement gets your audiences’ attention and allows you to stand out from the crowd. A good example is Ford’s 1980s message, “Quality is Job 1.” At the time, Ford was trying to overcome some hits to its image it had taken for quality problems. The message was extremely successful and went on to become a household slogan.
Provide real evidence that your offering has a true advantage and delivers value. Beer manufacturers have been telling us for years about their “cold filtering,” “three-step brewing processes,” and “mountain spring water” as proof of their great taste. There’s no better way to build credibility than by placing your unique advantage right in the main message. Give your audience a reason to believe your service will truly deliver value.
Send a message that they can’t get out of their heads. Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” and Sun Microsystems’ “Sun is the dot in .com” come to mind as incredibly memorable messages.
Highlights What’s Important
In addition to keeping each message brief, the number of key messages should be kept to a minimum. Beyond three key messages on a web page, or on any other marketing vehicle for that matter, it becomes difficult for readers to take away your story. Make sure the messages are contained in the title, headings, and subheadings. Often this is all the reader will have time to read. Don’t believe that just because you have compelling messages in the body of your pages that everyone will take the time to read it.
Make sure your key messages are everywhere and repeat them frequently — in the title, the headings, the bullets, and the main text. Research has shown that the average person needs to see a message 7-10 times before they are comfortable making a purchase decision. You may wish to state it a little differently each time, but be sure prospective customers walk away with what’s important — the value to them. In addition to your web pages, the same messages should appear in all of your marketing materials, including presentations, web and print ads, and videos.
Communicates Your Advantage
Placing your key competitive advantages right in your main message leaves no doubt that you’re offering something better. Arm and Hammer’s new Teeth Whitening Booster Toothpaste’s key message contained on its packaging and web site takes this approach: Placing your key competitive advantages right in your main message leaves no doubt that you’re offering something better. Arm and Hammer’s new Teeth Whitening Booster toothpaste’s key message contained on its packaging and website takes this approach: “Easier, Faster and 2x More Whitening Agent than leading whitening strips.” The advantages against the unnamed (but presumed) leaders are clearly stated, leaving no doubt to the product’s strengths.