It takes courage to start a business and tenacity to grow it. This is true whether you are a solopreneur or a large corporation. Essential to growing your business is how you market it both internally and externally.
To avoid presenting a fractured and inconsistent brand means you have to be proactive in shaping the message about your brand. If you don’t, others will.
Case in Point
When I first became an entrepreneur nearly 15 years ago, I helped other entrepreneurs with their messaging, media outreach, graphic design, etc. Personally, I thought of myself as a PR messaging strategist, but never communicated it at the time. Honestly, I don’t think I knew back then how to clearly communicate it.
So, here’s what happened. I was introduced by a client and close friend to a group of potential clients as a graphic designer. It immediately felt wrong and that’s when the lightbulb came on. I realized…
If I don’t clarify and clearly articulate who I am, what I do, how do I do it and why my business exists, someone else will and my brand will become what they assume it to be and not what it really is.
Since that time, I’ve made it a point to get clear on the who, what, how, and why of my business and you should too. These following five tips will help you shape your marketing message so you can clearly articulate it and potential customers can easily understand it.
- Define your brand voice. Perception is reality and you’ll want to shape it by doing some internal work first. Start by asking yourself, “If my business was a person, what 3-5 words would I use to describe its personality to someone?” There is more to defining your voice, but your answers to this question is a good starting point. They will serve as your north star providing direction for what you say and establishing a consistent tone for your brand.
- Match your message to your market. Take the time to identify the problems your target audience has, but don’t stop there. Hone in on how these problems make them feel. The answers you uncover will be a treasure trove of insight to help you shape on point messaging that demonstrates you understand their pain.
- Focus on solutions. Not only do customers want to know you understand their problems, they want to know if you can solve them. So, be sure to give proof you can. Present your products or services in light of the needs they meet.
- Share customer successes. Create case studies, use cases, and white papers to share your customer success stories. Also, seek to obtain written customer testimonials. You’ll strengthen the validity of your story and increase the trust factor with those considering doing business with you.
- Don’t just say what you do. Find creative ways to show what you do. You’ve written your case study and you’ve worded it perfectly. Yet, there still seems to be something missing. You add a picture to the case study and it rounds out your story perfectly. That’s what visuals like video testimonials, demos, infographics and other creative social media posts will do for you. They will help you further shape and refine your message.
So, there you have it…a simplified strategy for shaping your marketing message. I suggest you start with defining your brand voice. Download the Define Your Brand Voice Cheat Sheet to get started.