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How Would Your Prospects Rank Your Messaging?

Susan Gold

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Have you ever taken the time to step back and consider your own marketing messaging? Do you tend to talk all about your process, or maybe your credentials? Or do you focus on the number of years you’ve been in the business–sharing your long, involved journey through a career that adds up to the total expertise you offer today?

I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. But I’ve also come to learn that there’s a different—and better—way to look at things, and that’s through the eyes of your prospects.

Simplify Your Why

The fact is, your prospects need different information from you to become interested in your services, something that is rarely provided. I’d argue that too many businesspeople assume that their prospects already know what they do, why they’re better than their competition, and the value they bring.

Guess what? They really don’t.  And we all know what happens when you “assume.” The road to eventual success is littered with companies who thought “if we build it, they will come.”

Most marketing messages are meant to create interest, not close the deal.

What’s the goal of your marketing efforts? Generally, it’s to:

  • Generate curiosity.
  • Nudge your prospect to want to learn more.
  • Create a desire to go deeper into the website to learn more about products or services offered.
  • Demonstrate expertise via blog articles, publications, success stories, client testimonials, and case studies.

This exploration is often done in seconds, or maybe minutes if interest is created.

Your LinkedIn profile and the content you’ve posted should also demonstrate “social credibility,” which in turn creates another experience with your brand.

But how do you get your Ideal Prospects to go that far? The answer is straightforward: you need to meet and connect with them where they are.

Commiserating Over Pain Points

In my last blog, I talked about the importance of Pain Messaging – how targeted Ideal Clients express their issues, pain points, and struggles that you’re here to resolve.

Speaking to prospects from common pain points in their industry, or size company, makes a strong connection, particularly when the pain is particularly painful. The more emotion in that struggle, the greater the engagement. But once you’ve connected with that pain, what do you do with it?

First and foremost, confidently speak to the impact you have on that pain. Notice that I didn’t say HOW you impact it. Your process is not relevant to the target when you’re trying to engage with them, at least initially. When you want to close the deal – that’s when the decision maker wants to know exactly— product or service and methodology – what they are buying, what to expect, and what will happen next.

When you’re in the “creating interest” phase, you want to be crystal clear on your prospect’s struggle and speak to the impact you have on those issues.  

Test Drive Your Messaging

To show you what I mean, here’s an exercise: Be Your Own Prospect – Rank Yourself.

Forget you’re the owner of your business.  Ignore what you know about what you do and how very good you are at it. I know it’s hard, but if you’re going to get your message to your Ideal Client in an effective way, you need to see your business the way your prospects see you.  

Follow these 4 steps:

  1. Review your website. What is the first thing a prospect sees when they get to the home page? Is the initial messaging about them or about you? Now let’s get even more specific: what’s “above the fold” (from the old newspaper days—the headlines you see before you unfold the paper) on your site? Is it 50% about who you are targeting? That 50% gets you a B ranking; 75% or more gets you an A.
  2. Review your Linkedin profile summary. Do you mention your client’s pain points within the first three sentences? Rank that an A. Somewhere, eventually in the summary? Give yourself a B.
  3. Review your Linkedin posts. Do 50% or more of your posts talk to your client’s pain points? You get an A! Do 75% or more focus on how awesome you are? That will be a hard B (and it should be a C, but we’ll let that one slide.)
  4. Assess completely. Now objectively rank the following:
  • Webinars
  • Articles/blogs
  • Client testimonials

If your content mentions relevant pain points, and in the case of customer stories, the impact you’ve had on them, give yourself an A for each. If you missed that important information—all together now—you get a B. 

You get my point in this exercise (hopefully). To effectively reach your Ideal Client, you need to show them you understand and connect with the challenges they are having.

Unfortunately, you have to battle the headwinds of too many providers who’ve come before you with vague promises, and those poorly kept.

Okay, so if you’re not an A or A+ in putting your prospects’ pain points front and center of your messaging, how do you make that shift?

Case in Point: A Real-life Messaging Example

Let’s consider an Accounting Firm that is updating its website. Currently, the messages above the fold talk about their locations, the geography they serve, and the menu of services they provide, such as tax preparation, tax planning, bookkeeping, accounts payable and receivable, and business management.

Factually accurate, but sounds like every other accounting firm you can find across the US, right?

Hidden in the About Us section are some interesting tidbits about consulting for start-ups, liquidations, and equity structuring. This is an opportunity to bring the pain messaging to the forefront of the website, right up top “above the fold,” articulating the specific challenges that start-ups have, such as “getting the books set up correctly supported by efficient systems and procedures.”

Or consider a company liquidating assets that “needs to cover assets to cash or other assets and settle obligations with creditors.” This accounting firm would then include messaging regarding the impact they have on clients by saving them time, money, tax exposure, and potential legal problems because of their experience with these types of client issues.

Sharing specific points that differentiate the company from its competitors helps the prospect understand upfront how they are different.

This could be a specific process or approach that has been developed from years of efficient and effective client work. “Productizing” this specific process by giving it a product name and clear description formalizes this special knowledge and lends more credibility to the company.

Deeper in the website, client testimonials and case studies would support this high-level messaging and go into further detail on the challenges, the approach the accounting firm took, and the results for the client.

The Prospect’s Perspective

As you view your messaging as a prospect would, you can engage on a deeper level, giving them information that helps them decide if they want to learn more about you. Using Pain, Impact, and Value messaging delivers information that engages the right prospects to want to learn more.

For more on messaging and marketing, be sure to follow me on Linkedin.

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