Last week, we addressed the need for a segmented database. Once you have that, it’s time to determine your message. Before you start writing blog posts or sending out e-newsletters, you need to decide on the “voice” of your messages. Is it going to be very professional or more casual? Will you be speaking in the first or third person? Will it differ depending on the audience? These are important things to consider before you even begin writing.
To make these decisions, you must first understand your brand. People often think that a “brand” is something that’s important for consumer products or big corporations like McDonald’s or Apple or any of those instantly recognizable logos that come to mind. But every business has a brand, whether they think they do or not. If you have customers, if you have people who are willing to give you money for something, you have a brand. A brand is like a promise. It’s everything that people know in their gut about your company—what they know they will get when they do business with you. It is what differentiates you from your competitors in the minds of the people you want to do business with.
So when you develop messages—LinkedIn posts, advertisements, press releases, email marketing, job postings (those are incredibly important right now)—keeping your brand foremost in your mind as you create them will help you to achieve consistency even though you are crafting the language to appeal to specific audiences.
One way you can flesh out your brand in your mind and use it to craft messages is by using the marketing tool called a SWOT analysis. You’ve probably done that at some point—and if you haven’t done it recently, we’d encourage you to do it especially as we enter a post-COVID 19 world, because so much about the marketplace has changed. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, the letters stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Your brand message should primarily emphasize your Strengths and Opportunities, and as much as possible, downplay your Weaknesses and Threats.
Quick example: Say your biggest strength—your differentiator, your uniqueness—is that you’ve been in business in your field longer than anyone else. You have massive experience. An Opportunity could be that you are incorporating new product lines so you can serve new customers. Perhaps a Threat is that other companies can afford to sell more cheaply than you. When you sit down to craft a message, you’ll want to keep in mind words like “respected,” “valuable,” “experienced”—because you want to attract the attention of people who value the same things you value (customers AND employees). You don’t want people who need products fast, cheap, and in bulk. That’s not you.
So get clear on your brand and what you have to offer, and WHO you want to attract. Then you can tailor your messages to your target audience while still maintaining some consistency.
Finally, a message needs to be about what matters to the person RECEIVING it, not the person sending it. If you are introducing a new product to the market, that’s a great thing to communicate. But the message needs to be about what problem it solves, and how it can make people’s work easier or their lives better. Get out of your own head. Your innovation and how smart you are for coming up with it—that’s not as important as how the product will be used.
This is especially important in the post COVID-19 market. People are helping people. Your products are helping people. I’d bet that everybody reading this has been creating something or doing something that is service-oriented over these last couple of months. That’s where the world is right now, and that’s the tone in the market. So keep that in mind. Why does what your are doing MATTER? If you talk about that, people are going to want to hear what you have to say. Next week, we’ll discuss What’s Worth Saying.