Great Marketing starts by knowing your customer. Here I'd like to share some thoughts on how software startups can do this effectively.
Why crafting your messaging upfront is vital to your growing company.
Companies in their growth stage tend to be eager to showcase immediate, tangible results or ‘quick wins.’ They want to see a beautiful website, online ads, outreach campaigns, a new logo, new brand colors—you name it—all to make the experience feel "real."
One thing that is often overlooked is messaging. Most companies downplay the importance of finely tuned messages crafted for specific audiences, defaulting instead to generic messaging that merely explains their product, service, and features.
Crafting and creating the right messaging is important for the success of your business. Not only is it important to help customers align with your brand, but also to help them make critical decisions.
Make sure messaging maps well to the product adoption curve
All companies go through the product adoption journey. Without hitting home on the messaging for the appropriate stages of that journey, you could be missing the mark with whom you're talking to. The messaging for a company targeting early adopters will be vastly different from one who is targeting the early majority.
The former would most likely be focused on targeting this audience’s need to feel special by building an exclusive community or by being the “cool kid on the block” with a new product. In contrast, messaging to reach the latter would be focused on "this is proven, come join the crowd."
When messaging is not appropriately developed, customers lose a sense of trust and belonging. They won't align with the brand and are less likely to put their time, effort, or dollars into it.
For instance, appealing to early majority customers (those who value trust and an established, reputable brand) with a message that says “sign up to be one of the first to try x” probably wouldn't fare too well. Therefore, by allowing your messaging to resonate with your customers, you will yield stronger engagement leading to more MQLs willing to hop on a conversation as you’ve appropriately tickled on their heartstrings.
To learn more about segmenting your customers and developing appropriate messaging, take a look at How to segment your market to get to product-market fit fast.
Messaging affects critical decisions
Appropriate messaging also affects critical business decisions. Say a B2B SaaS company is thinking about whether to display pricing on their beta site. Professionals invited to try the site may wonder if it’s a true beta experience or a bait and switch to push them to purchase. They may feel confused or, worse, cheated.
It may feel natural to put pricing on your website. But in hindsight, you may find that mixing pricing information with an invitation to beta test your service could deter customers from signing up for your product. Getting the messaging locked down early on can help avoid simple mistakes like this.
By doing so, you will not only be able to avoid confusing your customers, but gain clarity in your strategic decision making for the direction of your company.
Showcase value to customers
Often we find companies talk a lot about themselves; "Our product does X" or "Our service does Y." This isn't necessarily wrong, but there are better, more effective ways to deliver your message.
It’s natural for people to want to know “what's in it for me?” Customers want to know what kind of value your service will deliver. A quick, easy fix for most messaging would be: "Our product does X, so you can do Y” – or better yet – lead with the benefit, “Cut down time by X% instantly with product Y. Our state-of-the-art Z allows you to do so in mere minutes.”
By adding the benefit to the sentence, customers are able to better understand the direct outcome they can receive from your service. They’ll feel a more immediate connection to your offering and ultimately move closer to purchase.
Remember, you only get one shot at making a first impression. By not nailing down the appropriate messaging for your audience early on—and not expressing a message in terms of a benefit they can relate to —you could be missing out on converting early customers.
Developing the right messaging is no easy task, it takes time. Don't cut corners or rush it. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, or better yet conduct customer interviews to truly see what they think.
Research forums like Reddit and Quora to find what the community is saying. Go through review sites to see what your existing customers say about your business, or better yet, interview them (learn more here). Talk to members of your team to see what they think. Putting the time into messaging today will lead to better, more efficient results on all your marketing efforts.
To help you in developing messaging for your company, check out this blog for a Free SaaS Messaging Framework Template.