Elevator pitches / Marketing materials / Introductions / Business cards / Proposals / Letters / Websites / Social media
What do all these things have in common?
They all represent you and your business. They act as a calling card, a reference, a reminder, a point of contact for people to connect with and contact you. Get your messaging right and you’re memorable, appropriately tailored and connected to the right audience. Get it wrong and you’re simply wasting your time and money. If you’re a little sketchy on this detail, then listen up [or, more accurately, read on!].
Sometimes we can become very entrenched in our businesses [a touch of the ‘woods-for-the-trees’ syndrome]. It’s perfectly natural, business is personal – it’s our creation and betimes it can be hard to distance ourselves from what we think we should be saying about what we do as opposed to what we actually should.
Take a step back from your business; does your messaging succinctly and clearly illustrate your value-add? Do you convert a strong message to the right segments? Which marketing channels do you use to convert that message? Do you use the right mix of media? Or are you hanging around the wrong places trying to attract the right clients?
A simple equation
Want a simple way to remember effective marketing practice?
Segment + Message + Channel = Sales Output
It’s fair to say that there is some groundwork required in getting to the point of this equation however the key is in remembering it and constantly evaluating whether it is being used. Successful messaging and marketing requires targeting, clarity and customer intelligence. It also requires strategy and a long-term view. Don’t be short-termistic in your approach as you’ll suffer poor results and frustration [and plunder budgets too!].
Are you fishing where the fishes are?
Be brutal with your marketing strategy. Are you fishing where the fishes are? Or codding yourself [see what I did there?] by toying with a marketing mix which is not in any way tailored to your market segments? In the same way that you must audit your business’s finance and operational successes and failures, your marketing requires just as much attention. That’s why target and focus play such significant roles.
How you say what you say… focus on your NOSE
Pitching and introducing your offering can often feel like a painful experience, not least because many business people aren’t exactly radiating joy when asked ‘what they do’. The reality? If you can’t succinctly communicate your offering – the what, the why and the how, don’t expect to generate any interest from your target audience. It all comes down to your NOSE… Or Needs, Outcomes, Solutions and Evidence. A helpful view: what do I do? Why would it be beneficial to xx customer [being your target customer] and how it is beneficial / useful/ a solutions-provider? Don’t forget to illustrate with evidence or examples… we all like validation.
Is your business sending the right message?
The ultimate question you have to ask yourself [following the other steps], is whether your business really is sending the right message to the right people in the right places. It might sound like a simplification of sorts, but ultimately, if you can’t stand over your market positioning and the types of marketing communications methods you’re using, then you are probably going to continue wasting time and money on a strategy which just doesn’t work. Full stop.
Make time to evaluate what your marketing activities are producing – remember marketing’s role is to make selling [more-or-less] superfluous, so at the very least you should be able to validate and monitor what is working. More importantly, it’s key to understand what isn’t working and quickly reassess its worth.
Don’t make your messaging a casualty of no-review paralysis; review it regularly and ensure your business is sending the right message.