Your marketing message is one of the most important tools in your marketing toolkit.
But in my experience of working with clients on their messages for years, most self-employed professionals don’t have effective messages.
What is an effective message?
One that generates interest and response. Period.
You may not realize it, but marketing messages are used everywhere.
On your website
On social media
But when you place your marketing message online, it can be very hard to test it and know if it’s getting the reaction you want.
The best way to do that is by speaking your marketing message to prospective clients.
And what you’re looking for is what I call a “that’s for me!” response.
Before you can test your message, you need to create one. It’s pretty simple. This is a time-tested formula.
“I help X people or businesses get Y result/outcome.”
Essentially you have two key elements in your marketing message – who your service is for and the main result or outcome your service delivers.
Here’s an example of just mentioning your result or outcome.
“I help growing businesses get their employees more engaged and productive.”
And if that’s a desirable result/outcome to your prospective client, you’ll get an interested response and perhaps a question or two.
But I promise you, very, very few people deliver a marketing message that way.
More often than not, they talk about their process or how the result is delivered.
“I help X people or businesses get Y result, by using my Z process.”
If you talk about your process, approach, or methodology too soon, you weaken your message.
Here’s an example of mentioning your process too soon.
“I help growing businesses get their employees more engaged and productive with our proprietary Engagement Works training program.”
Now, instead of the focus being on the result they get, it’s on the service you offer. It’s now about YOU, not about THEM.
We forget that the law of WIIFM (What’s in it for me?), like the law of gravity, is always working.
If you are talking about what’s in it for them (results and outcomes) you have their attention and interest. When you start talking about yourself and what you offer, attention and interest lags.
But how do you know your marketing message is working? Can you test it?
One way is to talk to a lot of people, using your message this way and gauging their response. Then fine-tuning your message over time.
The other way is to run it past a number of friends and associates and get their reaction. This way you can zero in on the effectiveness of your marketing message much more quickly.
Problem is, nobody will give you their reaction. They will give you their opinion instead.
They’ll say something like, “Oh, you need to make it much longer, with more details and all the services you offer. (No, you don’t.)
Or, “Watch out for that word productivity, it gives off elitist overtones of manipulation and dominance.” (WTF?)
So, when you ask for reactions, you’ll usually get opinions that will only tend to confuse you.
Try this instead:
“I’m going to tell you my marketing message. I’d like you to give me your ‘three-word-reaction.’ What I mean by that, is just give me three words that express your immediate reaction to my message, whatever it is.”
Just three words. No opinion, conversation, or free consulting.
So, the three-word-reaction might be…
That makes sense.
I don’t understand.
That’s very cool.
Don’t need it.
Tell me more.
That sounds confusing.
And look, if they give you a few extra words, no problem. The point is, those three words will be a genuine reaction to your message.
Three of the above were positive reactions and three were indifferent or negative reactions.
I can’t tell you how many people use a marketing message for years that gets an indifferent reaction without them ever realizing it. And that’s not good!
So, by running your message by a few people and getting their three-word-reaction, you can immediately tweak it a little and try it again until you get some kind of “that’s for me” reaction.
I need to warn you, however. Most of us don’t want a reaction. We want praise and validation.
“Oh, that’s such an interesting, clever message.” (As you swell with pride.)
That doesn’t help you at all. That’s an opinion. It’s useless.
No, ask for those three-word-reactions and you’ll start to get some real insight into what generates attention and interest and what doesn’t.
Now, call your friends and run your message by them. I promise you’ll get a lot of value out of this.