Messaging is one of the most fundamental and important aspects of your marketing department and is critical to your company’s ability to differentiate itself from the competition. So why is it that so many B2B companies get it wrong?
Of the millions of companies in the US, only a small percentage of them effectively communicate with the market. This represents a huge opportunity for companies like yours to perfect their messaging. Businesses that are able to put in the time and effort to effectively position themselves and to communicate their value to customers will stand out from the crowd. You'll attract the right prospects, increase conversion rates, and closed-won deals.
To help do all that, download our free messaging template. Read on to learn more about why messaging is so important and how you can use our template to drastically improve your messaging.
Our messaging framework template pushes you to look at your messaging from a few different perspectives. To do this, we use seven different exercises that give you and your company a holistic view of how to position your company, speak to what your prospects care about, and effectively communicate the benefits your company can give them.
To effectively communicate your company’s messaging, you need to nail a few things:
Knowing these three things about your company allows you to create a basic Pain, Claim, Gain message for your company. The Pain, Claim, Gain framework is a fantastic tool to effectively communicate your solution's benefit to customers. In fact, we use it with all of our clients to simplify and solidify their messaging so that it is concise, impactful, and speaks directly to their target audience. (To learn more about the pain, claim, gain method take a look at this blog.)
In general, we recommend that you talk about your target audience and not about your company. However, every company needs a good “about” section that tells prospects about its backstory. What was the idea that caused the company to be founded? What problem does it exist to solve? Why were you successful? Why is your team successful now?
This is also a great opportunity to show off your company’s mission statement or “ethos.” This section should be aspirational and future facing, showing viewers where your company is going, not just where it has been.
How do you want your company to come across to prospects? Many companies think a lot about what they want to say to their audience, but often don’t think about how they want to say it. Cultivating a great brand voice involves tying it to your company’s mission statement and core values and deciding how you want to embody those values in the way you communicate.
To do this, we recommend doing a high-level branding exercise with your executive team. This forces you to position your brand into “who we are”, “who we aren’t”, and “who we want to be”. It also helps you to prioritize brand attributes until you’ve settled on a clear brand for your company that makes it unique and will power your brands actions long into the future. (For more information on this exercise, check out this blog and for examples on great company values, take a look at this blog.)
This is where the rubber hits the road for your messaging. Your company’s value propositions build upon the previous 3 sections of your messaging framework to give specific, tangible statements on why your company is the perfect solution for your target audience and why it's better than the competition. It’s important to force yourself to choose the top 3-5 value props your company has to offer. This forces you to narrow down your positioning even further and really focus on communicating a few key advantages to prospects.
What's more, you need to support these value propositions with “reasons to believe.” These are copy descriptions of how each value proposition directly benefits your target audience. Here, you need to be able to clearly articulate the benefit you provide to customers in as little as 10 words or as many as 100+. It is also very important to attach your value propositions to specific target personas. This will allow you to create direct, targeted messaging for each one, across your value propositions, and will leave no question about what messaging can be used for what persona. (Here’s a great blog on how to write a great value proposition. You can also learn about how we utilize personas here.)
It is vitally important that, while you are crafting your messaging, you take the time to study your competition. After all, how are you going to stand out from the crowd if you don’t know what they’re saying? Take this opportunity to research your competitors’ websites and find out what benefits they’re communicating to prospects. Where can you beat them? Where should you avoid competing with them? Once this research is done, take a look at your competitive messaging landscape to see if you can find any gaps. Are there any areas that none of them are talking about? If so, and you’re able to fill that gap, it's an extremely effective way to gain customers. (To learn more about how to conduct competitive positioning, take a look at this blog.)
From your competitive positioning, you can build out your company’s positioning statement. A position line is a concise sentence or phrase that defines your company for employees, customers, prospects, investors, and the world at large. It is intended to summarize your mission, describe the products or services you offer, or capture the practical or emotional benefits to the end user. While it is just a sentence, it’s important to spend the time to get it right. Use the positioning statement to put a flag in the ground on who you’re for and why you matter to them. (Look at this blog article to learn more about how to create a great positioning statement.)
Finally, take your positioning statement and make it customer centric by creating a brand promise. You can do this by taking your product's main value propositions and translating them into the benefits they provide your customers. This allows you to quickly and efficiently convey your company’s impact on customers in a way that you can easily incorporate in marketing and sales materials, as well as in elevator pitches and presentations. Like the positioning statement, this is just one sentence, but it is critical to spend the time to get it right, as it will become the basis for the rest of your company’s marketing communications going forward.
There you have it! Accomplishing these 7 steps will give you a holistic marketing messaging strategy that can be the one source of truth for your company. To help you with this journey, we have created a document to help you organize your company’s messaging elements. Use this template along with the steps described in this blog to create a beautiful, organized messaging document.
You can align sales and marketing on key features, benefits, and positioning vectors. You will have created a template that allows you and your team to easily copy and paste content into marketing and sales materials. This will increase your team’s productivity while keeping the standards of content extremely high and consistent. Use this to boost production of landing pages, social media posts, blogs, and more, and to help your inbound and outbound machines to reach their full potential.
Creating a great messaging framework for your company will take time, effort, and dedication. It can be difficult to devote the necessary time to complete one, especially when there is pressure to move fast (as there often is). However, developing this foundational element of your marketing department will pay huge dividends in both the quantity of material that you can produce, and its effectiveness in converting prospects into leads and leads into customers.