Sending the right message about your company is similar to getting dressed for an important interview. The right message for you will depend on your identity—your vision and core values—as well as the practical services you aim to offer and to whom. You’re making an impression that’s aesthetically clear but also fulfills a practical purpose.
Messaging is also like your resume—most companies only get a moment’s glimpse for a potential client to decide whether they’re interested in more.
And prospects can’t get to know you if your message about who you are and what you offer is either untrue, unclear, or far too general. Potential clients need to quickly know whether you match their interests and can address their concerns.
How Do You Know What The Right Message Is?
Know your identity
First, be authentic. What do you offer that other similar companies do not? If you cannot answer this, and answer it quickly, it’s time for some company soul searching. Every organization has a niche, by being in a slightly different context, being made of different people, and having a different startup story than any other company, no matter how otherwise similar. That is what’s going to make you stand out and attract the right clients.
Understand your origins
Often, what sets a company apart is what lies in its roots. Did your origins spring from a desire to meet a regional or community need? Did your founder break off from one way of doing business to try something new? Your story is the background for your messaging. And some of your marketing materials—such as your brochure, website, or logo—may even wisely include explicit references to this backstory. Clients appreciate and trust the human side of a company, and appreciate the long-term to an organization whose “bigger picture” they can grasp and trust.
Look into your future
Identity is what energizes your company toward the future. Is there some industry frontier into which you’re moving? Is there a new technology you’ve been early to adopt? Or are you beginning to hit an unexpected sweet spot in who you serve or how you do business?
There may also be identity aspects that you’re still in the process of building. Whatever they are, be clear. Whether you’re great at serving Asian markets, accommodating parties with specific ethical concerns, hitting your stride as an innovator in high-risk management for 30-somethings, or leading in long-term investment strategy—you should reach deep to know precisely what makes your company tick, and map where you want to go.
There’s a bonus here, too. Being clear on vision and identity not only means you can develop more sharply targeted marketing, but it also includes an aspect of “come with us” messaging to clients. This is who we are; this is where we’re going invites clients and prospects to build a relationship with you, and not merely purchase your services.
Get realistic and specific
Companies who don’t understand their origins and their goals cannot adequately clarify and specify their message.
Messaging goes wrong when it is untruthful, exaggerated, vague, or lapses into industry jargon. Messaging mistakes can indicate to potential clients sloppiness, lack of professionalism, insecurity or uncertainty about identity, or even being out of touch with your audience. They can also simply indicate a difficulty in expressing your identity. One of the number one rules to help here is this: get specific.
There are two extremes in error. “We’re the best! Come find everything you need here!” may work on a billboard in a town with only one financial adviser, but “Finding the efficient frontier for your best options in diversification” might not work either, because even though it’s specific, it’s so technical that it loses relatability. In either case, what are you providing? Savings? Safety? Meeting of long-term goals? Investments for quick returns?
Attract your audience
And to whom are you providing? This is going to mean you do not offer everything to everyone. Therefore, how you shape your messaging must reflect that. The famous insurance slogan, “You’re in good hands with Allstate,” for example, is clearly not marketed to graduate students, cosmopolitans, or high-powered professional singles. They understand their audience and have a very clear idea in mind of how to match their services with a target group. By narrowing your message, you may sacrifice some acquisitions, but you will find more of the clients for whom you are the right match because you’ve been as specific and honest as you can about what’s important to your company, what your track record stands for, and what you aim to provide.
With your target audience clearly in your mind, you must make sure your words and images are speaking to them, and staying consistent across all channels. Your message helps prospects to understand what you stand for and prepares them to expect something very specific from you. And this needs to match what they’re hoping and expecting to find in a company who can help them achieve a personal desire. If you understand what your target audience wants and needs, and what appeals to them personally, you’ll have insight in how to craft your marketing message to speak to them rather than to an imagined “general” clientele.
Your message represents you. When it’s time to get it right, call Range, a Deluxe company. For years we’ve provided on-target, multichannel marketing services for industry professionals. Speak with a consultant today and let us help you reach your target audience.