This is part 1 of a 2 part Marketing Communication series.
Marketing is about sales.
It’s about telling customers who you are and what you offer. It’s designed to place your services firmly in the public consciousness and convince potential buyers that they have a need and you have a solution.
Marketing is about promoting your business to the outside world and getting people to buy in.
But what if that isn’t what marketing is all about? What if, instead of focusing solely on the desired result of our marketing efforts, we look more closely at what marketing actually does.
Because in the end, marketing does one thing,
it’s about one thing, it enables one thing: communication.
When we write our headline on our website, we are communicating.
When we send out email campaigns, we are communicating.
When we air commercials, design lead generators, speak one-on-one with prospects, deliver our elevator pitches, and recite our one-liners, we are communicating.
There are three things you need to communicate about your business:
What you sell
How it benefits your customer
How to buy it
What You Sell
Simple enough, right?
And yet, how often have you gone to a company’s website and asked yourself, “Wait, what do these people do?” Worse yet, have you looked at your own site and found yourself asking that same question?
In a day and age where seemingly every lemonade stand has their own site, there’s a great pressure to “stand out” from the competition. In trying to stand out, though, too many companies fail to communicate clearly.
We have seconds - literally - to grab our customers’ attention when they first visit our site. Make sure it’s obvious what kind of business you run and what services you offer.
Also known as the “value proposition”, this is your company’s chance to effectively stand out from the crowd. The objective is to state in easy-to-understand language how your service will improve the customer’s life and help them win the day.
If the headline (stating what you sell) goes like this: “At Main Street Cycle Shop, we sell bikes that move you,” then your value proposition might say, “Our bikes are custom-fitted to give you a comfortable ride, and are priced to fit your budget.”
Two tangible benefits laid out right away.
Once again, you must speak clearly, so choose your words carefully. As StoryBrand Guides, we’re fond of saying, “Be clear first, then be clever.”
How To Buy
This piece of info seems obvious. You’d be shocked how many companies leave their customers hanging when it comes to what you want them to do.
The good news is that this might be the simplest - yet most crucial - fix of all.
If you’re running an e-commerce site, put in a big, easy-to-find button that says, “Buy Now!”
If your service is a bit more involved, put in a (different) big, easy-to-find button that says, “Call Today!”
If you have a process customers need to walk through, lay it out in simple steps. Be careful, though, too many steps and you run the risk of being confusing. Try to limit it to the three or four major phases customers typically go through.
But Wait, There’s More!
So far, we’ve been talking exclusively about using your marketing to effectively communicate with your customers. And yet, there’s a whole other group of people you need to talk to, and your communication with them must also be clear and easy to understand.
Stay tuned for Marketing as Communication - Part 2 - Making Believers