For many small businesses, constructing a simple, compelling marketing message can be a daunting task. Whether it’s ad copy, email marketing, direct mail, online content or the myriad other communications channels available, the real message is often diluted in the marketer’s attempt to make the product or service appeal to an overly-broad audience, or appear more feature-rich. The end result is often a confused buyer who, presented with too much information or too many choices, will simply decide not to buy. In sales and marketing, simpler is almost always better. Simple, however, doesn’t mean simplistic. Today’s consumers are very savvy. They tend not to respond to hard sell and deceptive tactics. What they want is a straightforward message that identifies their need for your product or service and one compelling reason why they should buy from you instead of your competitor. In short, what they want is clarity. If your message can provide clarity, you’ll likely seal the deal. Here are some ways to ensure that your marketing message provides the clarity your prospects seek
Focus on Why
Chances are your business sells basically the same products or services as your competitors. So why did you start your business in the first place? Was it to offer better pricing, better service after the sale, more features? In the 1970s Apple Computer identified itself as the first truly personal computer, an alternative to what it portrayed as button-down business machines from other manufacturers. It was a simple message that worked. Your business has an equally compelling story. Find it and tell it.
Focus on a Single Word
Instead of long-winded descriptions of what makes yours the best widget on the market, focus on a single word that speaks volumes about your business. During the 2008 presidential campaign, a little-known freshman senator from Illinois adopted the slogan “hope and change.” The Obama campaign’s slogan was later shortened to simply “hope” and featured on the iconic red, white and blue offset lithograph by artist Frank Shepard Fairey. What is the one word that best describes your business?
Focus on a Single Difference
Most of your competitors are likely saying basically the same thing about their products or services. Instead of following the herd, tell your prospects the one thing that makes yours stand out in the crowd. Simply being different can create a buzz that gets results. In the 1980s, Wendy’s Hamburgers convinced consumers that its sandwiches were the better buy by asking the simple question “Where’s the beef?”
Consumers often become overwhelmed and confused by too many choices and ultimately choose to do nothing at all. Instead of offering multiple options to choose from, give your prospects the best option and back up the claim with a few simple reasons. During the economic meltdown in 2008, a number of automakers found that they were actually losing sales by offering so many options. What they had thought was a selling point was actually driving prospects to buy from competitors who offered fewer options. Detroit’s Big Three automakers went beyond eliminating features. They eliminated entire brands. The result has been more sales, higher profit margins and a healthier industry overall.