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how to create an effective marketing message

Attention spans are at a historic low. With mere seconds to engage your audience, how do you as a small business do it? Much of your success will depend on your marketing message. What is a marketing message, why is it important, and how do you create the best for your small business marketing strategy?

Let’s find out.

What is a Marketing Message — And Why Is it Important?

A marketing or brand message essentially allows you to control the narrative around your brand and products. This message tells people what your brand is all about and communicates your value — in other words, why they should care.

These messages are meant to be simple, straightforward, and compelling. Most of them are around one sentence long, making them easy to remember. Take, for example, Spotify’s message, “Music for every mood” or TikTok’s “It starts on TikTok.” Both are short and tell the audience why they should care about their product.

But this takes work. The best examples of brand messaging don’t magically appear.

And a warning: If you don’t create a strong and compelling brand message, people will create their own narrative about your brand. And likely won’t fit into your brand vision. That’s why it’s important to grab the reins and create a message that resonates with both you and your audience.

And once you have a brand message, it brings your whole team together on the same page.

You have a cohesive brand that people recognize no matter where they are — reading about you on social media, in an email, on your website, in print.

All of this comes from taking the time now to carve out a winning marketing message.

Now that you understand what this message is and how it serves your overall small business marketing strategy, let’s look at how to craft your own.

How to Create the Absolute Best Marketing Message for Your Small Business

1. Know Your Audience Well

Who is your marketing message for?

Much like an actual message, without a recipient in mind it won’t make sense.

Say you’re looking to target potential customers. Who is most likely to purchase from you? This is where attention to detail is crucial. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get you started:

  • Does your audience live in a particular country or region of a country?
  • Do they work for a large corporation or small business?
  • What department would most benefit from your product?
  • Would the end-user purchase your product or would a CFO, CEO, or someone else do so?

But you want to go deeper than mere surface characteristics. Think about pain points or problems prospects face. Ask yourself…

  • What would motivate them to choose your product?
  • Are they facing a specific problem?
  • Do they already use a similar product that isn’t as good and may be more expensive?
  • Are they frustrated with an issue where you can help?

You might even think of more details apart from the answers to these questions.

Write down as much information as you can. As you keep doing this, the hazy image of your audience will come into focus. When your picture of your audience is clear, it will be easier to craft a brand message that resonates.

2. Determine Your Unique Selling Propositions

Now that you know your audience, it’s time to answer the perennial question: Why should they care about your brand?

We call this your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. It’s what makes you different (and better) than your competitors. This could be a specific feature that you offer, your price point, your unique expertise.

To get a good sense of your USP, identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With this in hand, you can appreciate where you stand vs. your competitors and what you offer that may excite your audience.

3. Keep It Simple

As we said, you’re dealing with people’s particularly short attention span nowadays. The simpler you make your marketing message, the more memorable it will be and the more likely to hit the mark.

Work from your knowledge of your audience and your unique selling points to create one-sentence messages that describe what you do in a short and compelling way.

Once you have between five and 10 of these messages, sift through them and start paring them down.

Then step away from these messages. Leave what you have for 24 hours and come back to it with a fresh mind. Do these messages still resonate? There may be some that lose their luster during that break, while others take on a new shine. Tweak as needed.

4. Test Your Message

As much as you and even your team work on crafting the perfect message, there’s still only one way to know how your audience will actually react: Test it.

One great way to test is with a small sample of your audience. For example, offer a few of your current, trusted customers a discount on their next order in exchange for their honest feedback. Interview them, present them with your message, and ask them pointed questions about it. Look for similarities in the feedback to sense how your overall audience will perceive it.

You might find things that need to be changed or fine-tuned — and that’s a good thing! The more you can perfect and refine your message during this time, the better. That means that when you go live to your entire audience, you’ll be more likely to score.

Concluding Thoughts on Your Small Business Marketing Message

In small business marketing, few things have as much power as your marketing message. Audience attention spans are at an all-time low — so it’s imperative your message capture attention and whet appetites to learn more.

Once you have a solid brand message, it’s showtime. You begin to use it. You’ll weave it into your marketing channels, such as social media and your website. You’ll also be able to use storytelling and other powerful tactics that will bring your message alive.

Now it’s time to get started.

We’re eager to see your amazing marketing messages. Feel free to share them us — we would love to see them.

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx, author, coach and marketing and branding authority is the founder of Thriving at 50 Plus, a coaching program that helps baby boomers find more purpose and meaning in life. Wendy over the last 30 years has helped many business owners and executives become well-known, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™. Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets.

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