Marketing Message Strategy: How to Be Likable, Memorable, and Trustworthy
What makes a marketing message strategy powerful?
What can you say in your advertising to make buyers remember you, trust you, and even feel excited about the idea of working with you?
I’ll give you a hint: you won’t find the answer on your competitor’s website.
When my own team proved to be really strong in the area of marketing, we created our own marketing company. That enterprise gave me the unique opportunity to discuss messaging strategy with a lot of entrepreneurs.
These small business owners would hire us to revamp their website or manage their PPC campaigns, and more often than not, they’d show us what their top competitor was doing.
“Just do it like this,” they’d say. “It’s working for them.”
The Other Guy’s blue collar humor seemed to be working, so they figured they should do the same. Or they wanted to mirror the tone of urgency… or formality… or the constant reminders about eco-friendly processes.
If it was working for the company that dominated the market, shouldn’t they be learning from that?
Learning from it? Yes. Copying it? No.
Here’s what you need to understand when it comes to crafting a marketing message strategy:
Your successful competitor’s marketing can provide meaningful insight into effective messaging structure (Do they lead with their virtues or the customer’s needs?) and meaningful user experience (What information and communication options do they provide?).
It can even illuminate a few things about what your target buyer values.
But the biggest question you should ask yourself when looking at your competitor is this:
What are they doing to show us who they are?
What Buyers Really Want to Learn From Your Marketing Message
When you know the secret to an effective messaging strategy, marketing gets a whole lot easier.
A lot business owners—especially in the home services industry—can make themselves crazy trying to identify their edge. They already know that there has to be something different about them… something that sets them apart.
But the work and equipment is more or less the same from business to business.
When everything is the same, it becomes harder to show the customer how you’re different from any of the other options. And that gets even harder when you get hung up on being not just different, but better.
Suddenly, your ads sound exactly like everyone else’s as you swear that you’re faster, more affordable, more skilled… whatever.
It actually doesn't have to be that hard. It's not about being better... at least, not exactly.
It's about being you.
Focus on your story.
There probably (hopefully) are ways in which the service you offer is superior to someone else’s. Maybe you actually do have the fastest response times or the most advanced technology.
But the question that really connects with the buyer is not what you offer but why you offer it.
You see this at work in advertising all the time.
Olive Garden values family togetherness and that’s why they offer endless salad and breadsticks… so you can sit and enjoy yourself for a long time with the people you love.
Honda wants to be helpful, and that’s why they’re happy to take you for a test drive, answer your questions, and give back to the community.
911 Restoration wants to give devastated property owners peace of mind by revealing the Fresh Start within the disaster… and that’s why we provide urgent, compassionate restoration services.
You may be skeptical about the actual motives of major corporations, but their messaging still sets them apart, because it tells you not just what you’re buying, but who's selling it.
And I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the business owner’s story is especially relevant to you on a local level.
How does seeing the owner’s story on the back of a menu influence the way you experience your meal in a neighborhood restaurant? How does it feel to go to the dry cleaner’s and see a picture of the little league team they sponsor on the wall? Let’s say your mechanic is passionate about educating and empowering customers to care for their cars better—does this take the edge off a little when he raises his prices?
Buyers care about who you are and what you’re about because it tells them a lot about the kind of service they can expect. It also helps them feel good about where their money is going.
Crafting Your Own Marketing Message Strategy
To design a solid messaging strategy, start with your story. Ask yourself:
- What do I value?
- What inspired me to start my own business?
- What challenges have I faced along the way?
- What are my unique strengths?
- How is my perspective on this industry different from everyone else’s?
- What’s different about the way we approach customer service?
- What unique services do we offer, and why do we offer them?
- What am I passionate about?
- If someone hires us over our competitor, what’s going to be different about their experience because they chose us?
Actually write your answers down. Review them. Discuss them with your team.
Then drill down to the core message—the one that communicates your values, your mission, and your character.
When you know that, frame all your advantages in that light.
You’re not fast because you’re fast; you’re fast because you love your community and want to keep it strong.
You’re not affordable because you’re trying to stay competitive; you’re affordable because everyone should be able to live in a house that feels like home.
You’re not an expert because you have 20 years of experience; you’re an expert because your dad taught you that the best way to show you care is by giving the best of yourself.
You get the idea.
Now go back to that competitor’s website or ad or brochure or whatever. Who are they?
And how are you different?
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Tool: SWOT Analysis Tool
Free Video Series: Creating a Business That Makes an Impact
Book: Marketing to Humans