There are only two types of messaging: the kind that gets read and the kind that gets ignored. There’s really no in-between.
That’s why it’s critical to create a messaging strategy that resonates with your target customer. Think of your messaging as a lighthouse in a sea of noise, guiding prospects towards a solution to their problems. You need to stand out and show how you can help.
It doesn’t matter how technical your product is. There’s an opportunity to make a deeper connection with your customers through your messaging. Here are some of my favorite ways to do it.
Talk about real customer problems
Have you ever read website copy for a product or service you were interested in and felt like it was written just for you? Like it read your mind? That’s great messaging — it calls out things the reader is already thinking. It positions you as a real solution to their problems.
Before you write anything, you need to consider where your customer is coming from. What are the challenges they’re facing? How does it make them feel? What else might they have tried to solve this problem? Your messaging should reflect these things, in your customer’s own words.
For example, Sagacity Golf is a tech company offering sophisticated pricing and forecasting tools to golf courses. I spoke with their target audience to understand the challenges they faced. The real problem everyone kept talking about was how they regularly panicked about “whitespace”, or unbooked tee times. So we called that out in the messaging:
As a product builder or marketer, you know your product inside-out. You may feel like you know the problems it solves inside-out, too. But your customer will have a different perspective — and really, it’s their perspective that matters when it comes to your messaging.
Clarify the core value of your product or company
OK, this one may sound, like, duh! Of course your messaging should show the value of your offering. But I’ve found that many, many companies struggle to articulate their value proposition to the outside world–or even align internally around it.
(Here’s a test. Get your team together in a room and give everyone a paper and pen. Ask them to write down the #1 value your company offers customers. Read the answers out one by one. How consistent are the answers? If they’re kinda different, you need to align around your core value.)
I worked with news startup Scroll to make their value proposition is clear and concise. It’s focused on one thing — no distractions — instead of several things, which makes it easy to quickly understand what Scroll is and why it matters.
A value proposition is your promise to customers. It should quickly tell people the #1 value they can expect to receive from your company.
Bring in the emotional benefits
There’s a common saying: “People buy on emotion and justify with logic.” Think back to your last big purchase and see if this rings true for you. Buying is emotional (yes, even in B2B).
And yet, most B2B companies focus wholly on the logical stuff: the features, the stats, the business case. Of course these things matter. But they don’t capture people’s attention.
I don’t care how technical your product is — there are emotional benefits to using it. Less hassle and headaches. Looking good in front of your team. More satisfaction at work. More time in the day. More confidence.
These are the kind of emotional benefits that spark people’s interest because it’s about them personally. And we all want to become better.
I worked with Outreach, a sales enablement platform. They offered sales performance reporting that enabled sales managers to have more productive coaching sessions with their team. We called out the emotional benefit to managers:
Make it plain and simple
“One should use common words to say uncommon things” ― Arthur Schopenhauer
This is one of my mantras. If you’re an innovative company bringing something new and different to the market, you need to use common, everyday words to talk about it. Or else people just won’t get it.
Lots of B2B messaging falls into the “tech talk trap” — full of technical jargon and buzzwords to talk about their product. You know, words like scalable, seamless, frictionless, end-to-end, platform…
Here’s why tech talk is a problem:
- It’s all about features, not value…people won’t stick around to figure out the value.
- It’s complicated and hard to understand…people tune it out as noise.
- It makes you sound like everyone else…people assume you’re “just another solution.”
Replacing tech talk with language anyone can understand is a gamechanger. It makes it easier for customers to understand your product and fall in love with it.
Your messaging is for your customer
Many people get stuck with their messaging because they don’t know how to explain their product. They struggle to find the right words for their technology or differentiation.
But your best message isn’t about your product — it’s really about your customer and how they could change for the better. If you approach your story from that point of view, you’re winning.