“They didn’t brag about how far they could take me. They asked where I wanted to go.” -Vanderbilt’s MBA program
When a customer visits your website or interacts with your brand in any way, we call that messaging.
Your messaging is the actual words you use to talk to your customers. It’s how you talk about your business.
- What your website says.
- The images on your website and marketing materials.
- How you or your salespeople talk about your brand.
- Video, audio or social media advertising.
- Social Media tweets, posts, pins, snaps, etc.
We want to talk to potential customers about how great our business is, and there is a time for that, but not when your potential customer is first getting to know you.
This is a small but powerful shift in how you think about talking to clients.
You need to position yourself as a mentor or guide in the process of solving your customer’s problem. The customer is the hero of their own story, and you are here to hold their hand and guide them through to a successful outcome.
“If your customer is the hero, what’s the problem they’re facing that you, as their guide, can help them overcome?” – Donald Miller
Businesses are Losing Money Every Day
What is the cost of not getting your messaging correct?
Let’s say your salesperson is at a networking event, and someone asks her what your company does. Do you know what she will say?
Most often it goes something like this…
“Well, it’s kind of complicated. Janice, the owner, her grandfather started the company back in 1847. And now we have 3 offices. We like to tell people that we make change happen. Last month we won the award for best provider from Lattice Magazine too, so you know that we are good at it.”
The potential customer has no idea what you do.
They have no idea how your business can solve their problem.
That business card is going in the garbage as soon as your salesperson walks away.
Let’s try this again, shall we?
In January, I had a chance to speak in front a group of business owners about my business, Hook SEO Digital Marketing, except that only had 1 minute to do it.
Here’s what I said…
“My name is Matt Rouse and I am from Hook SEO Digital Marketing.
We help people who have never heard of your business go from strangers to customers, and then to fans of your business, referring others to work with you. We do this by making sure your company can easily explain to them what you do, how you do it, and how they can do business with you.
We help you speak to your customers through your website, advertising, and the actual words you use to explain what you do.
Talk to me, Matt with Hook SEO, or visit our website at HookSEO.com”
When you are clear about what you do, and how it benefits your customers, they will listen.
I am a strong believer in having both an online and offline business strategy, and in-person networking is a big part of our business. When you or your sales force are out at networking events, workshops, or just talking to another parent at Jimmy’s soccer game, how are you answering the question, “What do you do?”
When those customers look you up later and visit your social media or your website, what impression are you leaving them with?
I have looked at thousands of websites from businesses both large and small and let me tell you, the Mom & Pop shop on the corner has the same problems as the 8-figure Enterprise Level corporation.
They talk about themselves and not their customers.
Think About the Last Movie or TV Show You Watched
Think about almost every movie, TV show, or book you’ve ever read.
The “Hero” of the story, the main character, is just living their life until there is some kind of inciting event.
That event makes them have to take action to avoid an unpleasant circumstance.
“He was just an ordinary guy until the aliens invaded. Now he has to see if he has what it takes to stand up and fight for his family, and the future of planet Earth!”
They are ill-equipped and need help. They don’t know if they have what it takes to complete the task.
“Jim wasn’t a soldier, he was just a regular guy. He didn’t know if he had what it takes to go on fighting, and how would he even be able to fight back? He was scared. He knew he needed help.”
Now the Guide steps into the picture — That’s You, the business professional.
The Guide has knowledge and experience and has solved a similar problem in the past.
“That’s when Jim met Sarah, the exobiologist. She knew the one weakness the aliens had from her work at NASA. She had a plan, but Jim was going to have to muster all the strength and courage he had to go through with it and save his family.”
The Guide will give the Hero a plan that helps them gain the confidence they need to take the first step, find the solution to their problem, overcome obstacles, and achieve the positive outcome they desire… all while avoiding the uncomfortable circumstance.
The Guide has the knowledge, experience, and skills to help the Hero change their life for the better.
“The alien ship lay smoldering in the desert sand. Jim and Sarah stood quietly watching it burn, while wrapping their arms around the children. His youngest looked up, ‘Is it over, Daddy?’ ‘Yes dear, we have won the battle… this time.'”
That’s why you want to position your brand as the Guide instead of the Hero of your customer’s story. Your customer is “Jim” and your business is “Sarah”.
The customer wins the day and solves their problem and lives happily ever after because the guide helped them overcome their problem.
It Doesn’t Matter How Small a Problem Is
Any problem, no matter how small, is still a problem.
- You might clean gutters, but in the end, you could be saving the foundation of their house.
- Cleaning carpets will make Bob’s mother-in-law happy when she comes to visit, saving him embarrassment.
- Suzy wants to sell more real estate, and your “Wanna Sell a House” t-shirt helps get the word out.
People have problems, you have solutions. Those solutions improve people’s lives.
Remember these three things and you will have an edge over almost every competitor you come across.
This is business marketing gold:
- People don’t buy solutions, they buy outcomes.
- People buy with emotion, and back it up with facts.
- Potential customers need clarity. If your message isn’t clear, advertising just means you will pay to confuse more people.
We get paid to move people from a “Before” state to a desired “After” state.
In the “Before” state, the customer is discontent in some way. They might be in pain, bored, frightened, or unhappy for any number of other reasons.
In the “After” state — life is better. They are free of pain, entertained, or unafraid of what previously plagued them.
Imagine that you own a small independent insurance agency. When you quote a customer on a policy that gives them more coverage for less money, you aren’t just saving them money.
You have taken them from being unhappy or discontent to a happier place, with their problem solved and more money in their pocket than they had before.
What will they do with all the extra money your business has helped them save?
You helped the Hero solve a problem and get a desirable outcome.
You guided them away from a negative outcome, like signing up for insurance that costs more money from another carrier, or not getting the right coverage they needed to protect their family or their belongings.
They are the Hero who didn’t know how to navigate the complex world of Property and Casualty Insurance and you walked them through the process to the desired outcome.
- If you would like us to mentor you or your marketing team on clear business messaging and fixing your website to convert visitors into customers, contact Hook SEO Digital Marketing.
- If you would like a real person from Hook SEO to review your website for Search Engine Optimization and messaging issues and give you a hand-written (typed) report with actions you can take to fix those problems, check out our SEO Review Service.
- Have a negative or fake customer review that is plaguing your online reputation? Try this article for DIY review removal steps.