Getting your messaging right is the first step to convert leads and prospects into buyers.
It’s because your brand messaging can act as a conversation starter. You probably have heard many marketers use this dating analogy when they explain the concept of know, like & trust, which helps turn spectators into buyers.
“You don’t just ask him/her to marry you on the first date.”
If you have your brand messaging down, this serves as the first date that goes really well so that it will lead to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th date to develop know, like & trust between you and your leads.
Sadly though, many business owners don’t allocate enough time and energy to crafting their brand messaging. This became apparent through local Meetup events I host in NYC.
There are 3 types of not-so-ideal messaging I’ve picked up on while listening to the event participants introduce themselves to the rest of the crowd.
1. Too generic as for what they offer & who they are, i.e. social media strategist, accountant, SEO specialist.
2. Too clever with flashy words but unclear as to who they help or what problem they solve.
3. Only list what they sell.
There is absolutely no need to beat yourself up if you are guilty of these. Trust me, I can speak from my own experience that crafting good brand messaging for your business is no small feat.
This is why I invited Zach Messler, a.k.a. “Messaging Guy”, as the guest speaker for my May Meetup event in Brooklyn to get to the bottom of this messaging challenge we all face. He is the master of helping business owners identify what to say and how to say it so that they make a bigger impact on the world and their wallet.
When I met Zach earlier this year, I immediately liked the way he breaks down the process of crafting messaging that resonates and converts with simple steps. After checking out his website, it was a no brainer for me to have him for one of my events.
In this post, I am excited to share his framework and how you can improve your brand messaging to generate measurable results without bashing your head against the wall.
So, let’s dive in!
Why Brand Messaging Matters for Your Business
Whether your business sells product or service, having core messaging in place helps your entire marketing and promotion strategy be cohesive and streamlined. Not only does this saves your time, but it also boosts the chance of your business being “memorable” in this noisy world.
Because I spent so many years in the music business, I like to use the radio analogy that I often share with people to explain why strong messaging is important to your business. And it goes like this:
You know how you hear a song on the radio that you didn’t particularly like in the beginning? But, because the station plays it over and over again, it starts to grow on you?
Your core brand messaging can be that song.
The more you repeat, the easier it gets to focus more on communicating that message with people instead of trying to remember what it is.
By the way, brand messaging covers a broad spectrum of your overall communication about your business. So, I’m not limiting this to just your tagline or website copy or content. They are all part of your brand messaging.
I know what you are thinking.
“I think I have it down OK.”
“I have a rough idea that I’ve been using.”
OK, the million-dollar question here is, “Is it grabbing people’s attention & generating questions or comments as often as you would like?”
I know. Here is the thing. If your brand messaging isn’t doing much for your business, that’s the indicator that you need to work on it. Luckily, we have Zach on our side who shared his 3C’s of brand messaging, which will help you kick-start crafting your brand messaging.
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3C’s of Messaging According to Zach Messler
When I heard about Zach’s approach, I felt relieved because this will help you avoid staring at a blank sheet of paper. No one likes doing that, right?
His 3C’s are as follows:
As you might have heard, in business, 7 seconds truly matters. Study shows it only takes 7 seconds to make the first impression. Also, it shows people have an attention span of less than 7 seconds.
So, getting these 3C’s right will help your brand messaging stand out.
If you have been following me on social media or reading up on my posts, you know what I always say about simple concepts and framework, right? Simple does not equate to easy. So, allow me to uncover each ‘C’ of Zach’s 3C’s.
Clear (Increase & Elevate Awareness)
According to Zach, the biggest mistake business owners make here is making assumptions about how much people know about their own problems. I bet your reaction to seeing “Clear” as the first 3C’s was something like, “Duh, of course. Any messaging should be clear.”
But clear to whom is the question.
Even if you think your target audience (prospects & leads) would benefit from what your business offers, if they aren’t aware of a problem or they don’t consider they have a problem that you can help them solve, you will lose them.
That’s when you get objections such as, The “We have no budget for that” Objection. I wrote extensively about this objection and what you can do to fix it.
Eugene Schwarz, the author of Breakthrough Marketing, which is unfortunately out of print, introduced “The 5 Levels of Customer Awareness.” You can still read about the concept here: https://www.copyblogger.com/blog-selling/
1. The Most Aware: Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal”.
2. Product-Aware: Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for him.
3. Solution-Aware: Your prospect knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.
4. Problem-Aware: Your prospect senses he has a problem but doesn’t know there’s a solution.
5. Completely Unaware: No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, his own identity or opinion.
Now you realize being clear isn’t so easy.
Here is a short checklist for crafting a clear brand message:
1. Clear to whom?
2. Clear enough to grab their attention?
3. Clear about the solution?
The tricky part is getting comments like, “Ohhh, that’s great! I love that!” Then, they forget about it. That’s where the next C comes into play.
Compelling (Boost Emotional Connections)
“You know, in school, they teach you the importance of talking about benefit and how different your stuff is from your competitors. Sounds great in theory or on paper, but that doesn’t work anymore for savvy customers.”
This is what Zach said, and I agree with him.
Here, the biggest mistake business owners make, according to Zach, is crafting messages that are feature-heavy and focus on how awesome their stuff is. As I mentioned in the opening of this post, that’s what I hear the most from business owners.
Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand their enthusiasm and how proud they are of what they offer.
But the sad thing is no one cares unless your audience makes the connection between what they are currently suffering from and your offer being the best solution to eliminate that suffering.
Or, what you are offering is so compelling to their innate desire to be perceived in a certain way that they must attain it. For example, brands like Benz, Nike, Rolex and Chanel appeal to people’s desire to achieve a level of prestige, self-worth or lifestyle.
You are probably noticing that, regardless of poking at their suffering or their ego, it is highly emotional.
When it comes to decision-making, many studies show we buy on emotions and justify with logic. Not the other way around.
Now is a good time for you to take a quick look at your brand messaging to see how often you mention “what it is,” “what it does,” or “what will come with it.” If the majority of your messaging explains “what” you offer, then your messaging is feature-heavy.
So, what can you do instead?
Start by listing how your audience members describe their problems, issues and challenges. Then list their descriptions of what they want to attain or where they want to be without these problems, issues and challenges.
This is the key to crafting emotionally compelling brand messaging.
Convincing (Trigger to Make Them Take Action)
Your job doesn’t end at crafting a message that speaks to your audience’s problems and their desire to eliminate those problems. You are now moving on to encourage them to take action.
“Maybe I’m a sensitive guy, but lately, this completely drives me crazy,” said Zach.
He continued, “When someone says, ‘You need to do XYZ,’ I am almost wanting to do the opposite. It’s like the rebellious teenage side of me comes out!”
I will be totally honest, I’m guilty of this. I can’t tell you how often I say it if I’m on autopilot.
Funny thing is that I get what Zach is saying. I would probably feel the same way, yet I say that to others. Terrible.
So, now you know that is NOT the way to convince anyone to buy anything. No one wants to be told what to do. This will never change.
Then what can we do instead? There are 2 things.
1. Remind them that what they desire is attainable, and they are the ones to make that decision.
Once you figure out the 2nd C, the “Compelling” piece, this will be an extension of that effort. What’s great about it is that your brand messaging becomes seamless and this last part of convincing becomes much less forceful.
2. Provide evidence.
Now that you know we tend to justify our buying decisions with logic, this is the time to share evidence that they aren’t alone in dealing with the problem. Here are some examples you can use:
2) Stats and data (positive or negative)
3) Success stories
By the way, success stories are different from testimonials. Testimonials show how you helped them. On the other hand, success stories solely focus on how they overcame whatever problem they had.
Ideally, you want to have all of the above. Each serves its unique purpose to help your leads and prospects make their decisions faster.
As you can see, these are powerful ways to ultimately help your audience members to “own” their decision-making processes. The only thing you are doing is guiding them through their buying journey.
If you always felt like selling is something you wanted to run away from, here is your answer. By positioning yourself to be a guide for them, I know you will feel more open and relaxed about offering your solutions because you won’t feel sleezy.
No More Forgettable, Feature-Heavy Conversations
The easiest way to look at this framework is this:
Connect with your audience emotionally with clarity and back it up with logic.
Makes sense, right?
As a business strategist, I like systems that I can rely on and expect results from. If you are like me, you know spending your time and energy on your brand messaging will reward you tenfold because:
1. It makes your content creation a lot easier by creating variations of your brand messaging.
2. You’ll never have to feel drained by explaining what your business is about.
3. You’ll do less “pushing” with your new brand messaging because it will start to “pull” people in.
So, what are you waiting for? I can’t wait to hear how you are able to improve your brand messaging. Be sure to share your story!
Finally, I want to give a special thanks to Zach Messler for being such a great guest! I truly appreciate his upbeat energy and his drive to help entrepreneurs and business owners with his zone of genius.
Zach is someone who practices what he preaches & you can see that in action at www.zachmessler.com Or, you can head over to LinkedIn to see his bitesize insights that he posts regularly.
Do you have any guest suggestions for my live events in NYC? If so, please DM me over IG @maikosakaibiz or tag me on Twitter @maikosakaibiz