Or Delivering Your Marketing Message Clearly and Distinctly
When it comes to marketing, there is a lot of talk about the importance of branding. The terms “marketing” and “branding” have come to mean almost the same thing. Branding is about identifying and differentiating your company, product or thing in the marketplace, and building trust with your customers. It involves images, descriptions, attributes and symbols which convey the essence of your company, product or service, development of a “personality” in the marketplace using appropriate logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols and sounds representing the company values, and building trust with customers through the way products and services are presented and delivered. Branding can cover a whole lot of things.
Right now I would like to focus on clear and effective marketing communications. “Disambiguation” of your communications, you might say. Whether it be a printed brochure, PowerPoint presentation or a Website, here are ten ideas to improve your marketing communications.
1. Identify and develop a niche for your products and services. Be the expert or the superior solution for your potential customers. To speak effectively and directly to potential customers, make sure those customers are easy to identify and definitely need what you offer. And pick a niche for which you have a passion, and which will make your marketing pitch natural and sincere.
2. Be remarkable! What makes a thing remarkable is often not related to its function, but to its style, design, pricing, authenticity, free accessories — or perhaps your personality! What really sets you apart in the marketplace? Include features and benefits which resonate with your audience, and create an emotional need for it. Be remarkable.
3. Be authentic. Offer something unique, but totally believable. Building trust, especially for products and services which require the customer’s investment of time and money, is essential to effective marketing. Make all of your marketing messages consistent in quality, tone, design, promise and style. Make it real.
4. Use a bold headline. Make a bold promise or pose a question they can’t resist reading more about. “Three Reasons Our Customers Come Back for More.” “Our Method is So Effective, We Put a Patent on It.” “How to Get The Best Deal on Products You Use.” These headlines create interest in learning more. Test different headlines and measure the results. Sales leads or responses would be a good measure. Small changes in a headline can make a big difference in whether the rest of the message gets read. To make your message as compelling and persuasive as possible, test and improve your headline.
5. Direct your marketing message to a specific customer. Your message should be focused on the needs of that specific customer. Your message must be compelling and appropriate. Address their emotional needs as well as practical needs. Keep it simple, but direct. Make your points quickly. Make your story engaging. Remove unnecessary words and phrases which do not add information or value. Convince your customers this is the only product or service for them in fewest words possible.
6. Design your marketing piece for “good enough” results through appropriate design and color. The purpose of your marketing piece is to influence your readers, not to win a design award. Use colors and design which effectively convey the message you are delivering. Your marketing materials need a sophisticated and professional look which matches the personality of your company, product or service. It is important that your materials are done well, appropriate to the message, but focus the reader’s attention on the qualities of the company. Showcase the products and services offered, not the design itself.
7. Use testimonials from satisfied customers. Choose customer testimonials which might overcome specific barriers to the customer purchasing from you, comment positively on quality, value, customer loyalty and timely delivery. I use testimonials for specific types of projects I want, such as Websites, copywriting, brochure design or publication design. Featuring one of each lets the reader know they can trust me to deliver on a variety of projects. Testimonials help establish your authenticity.
8. Include a “call-to-action” and make it stick out on the page. Put a headline over it, such as “It’s easy to enjoy the benefits now.” Make your call-to-action about the customer and how he or she can benefit now by making the purchase now. (Consider also giving them a choice of alternative actions, such as “call for a free resource guide,” or “join our mailing list.” Ask your customer to make the purchase, or take an action which may lead to continuing your relationship with the customer.) Use active verbs: join now, buy now, only two items left at this price. Review all of your message so that it is building toward this call-to-action. Warm colors inspire action.
9. Use a powerful tagline. In the recent Presidential election, the Obama campaign used the tagline “Change We Can Believe In.” This tagline worked in a variety of ways: it differentiated the campaign from the incumbent; it was inclusive with the words “we can believe in;” it was reassuring that a relatively unknown politician could be believed; it “asked for” participation from the reader; and it was broad enough to encompass a variety of issues and qualities. A tagline for a company, product or service should be broad enough to encompass all of its qualities, make your customer part of the experience, reassure the customer if there are barriers to the purchase, and differentiate the company, product or service from all others. If a tagline can work that hard, good results are assured.
10. Proofread, and have others proofread. Look for spelling and punctuation errors. Vary punctuation: don’t use all semicolons, em-dashes and ellipses to separate thoughts in a sentence. Break up paragraphs which slow the reader down. Use punchy headings. Highlight features and benefits. Delete any words which don’t add to the meaning. Make sure each sentence makes a point, but makes it quickly. Break up complex sentences. Make your copy error-free and a joy to read.
There are ten steps to delivering your marketing message clearly and distinctly!
Jim Hance Graphic Communications helps small businesses develop effective marketing tools such as brochures, publications, presentations, trade show exhibits, email newsletters and Websites. Call Jim Hance at 619-203-0522 for an free evaluation of your project.