It's the most critical question you'll ever answer if you're a small business owner. You probably know the answer, too. You're a graphic designer, you sell baby toys or you own a bookkeeping service, for example.
But if you give that answer to people, you probably won't make them customers. Heck, they may not even understand you.
What you do has nothing to do with how you should market yourself. No one wants to know what you do, not really. People want to know what you can do for them. There's a difference.
A great message tells people how you can change their life. It lets your business shine. Your message needs to be out there, everywhere, making it easy for people to understand and love your company.
So Be the Best, Right?
Most businesses make a ton of mistakes when coming up with a marketing message. They choose generic concepts that don't carry much weight in consumer perception, like affordable, quality and best.
Telling people about how good your business is really does nothing to increase sales. Everyone is the best. Everyone sells quality. No one wants to hear it.
People want businesses to pay attention to them. They want to know someone is listening and that someone can solve their problems. They want to hear that your business understands and that you have the match to their wants and needs.
That's where marketing comes in. Your message, your brand and your slogan should be able to convey to consumers that you have exactly what they want.
Straight From the Heart
The best messages trigger emotional reactions. They speak to people's hearts and souls, stirring up a feeling.
In just a few words, you can make a consumer feel emotion that goes beyond the product or service. Your brand might invoke confidence, or reassurance, or happiness, or wealth, or the envy of all their friends.
Let's say that you own a used bookstore called ABC Books. You specialize in buying student textbooks after each semester and you resell the textbooks to people who can't afford tuition but who do want to learn.
Think about how you'd market those used books. What would you tell people? What's your message? What gets them excited?
You might say that the books are affordable or almost new. They're accessible to anyone. But think about it: Do any of those words make you feel anything? Probably not.
Try this message instead. ABC Books: Making you smarter than the rest.
All of a sudden, those used textbooks take on new meaning. They're going to make you smarter and better. People will look up to you. You'll feel more confident and be envied for your brains. You might land a new job or maybe impress your date. The slogan "making you smarter than the rest" taps right into your emotions.
Who can ask for more?
Think about these three companies and their marketing messages. Think about how you feel.
- Nike: Just do it.
- Timex: Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
- Harley-Davidson: Live to ride, ride to live.
Your message has to stick in the minds of consumers. People have to associate that message with your brand and your business each and every single time. They have to not only read it or hear it, but they have to feel it deep down.
A good message solidifies the association consumers make with your business. It taps right into the emotions. And it works.