Win over your prospects with powerful messaging and design
What is your unique value proposition? What do you offer to your customers that no competitor can match? How do you develop powerful messaging and design that encapsulates this position in a clear and compelling form to help you win more business?
A value proposition compellingly defines the key reason why your company is the best choice for your ideal customer. It must clearly communicate what your company does and the unique constellation of benefits you offer compared to competing solutions. Without it, your company risks blending in with a sea of similar businesses.
Many marketers and business owners have a gut feeling of what their value proposition is. But they may not have documented it. Fewer still have tested and refined it using marketing data.
As a result, many companies’ messages miss the mark. Prospects dismiss them as irrelevant to their needs. Marketing campaigns fall short of their objectives. Sales stagnate.
Guessing at the needs of your company’s target audience is like shooting darts, blindfolded. In an uncertain market, you can’t afford to do that. You need to take a more strategic approach.
According to research conducted by MarketingSherpa, 69% of firms say they have a value proposition. But many aren’t clear, compelling and unique enough to motivate prospects to buy. Ideally, powerful messaging and design should connect your unique value proposition with your ideal prospects’ needs.
The opportunity: Connect with your ideal prospects like never before
So why is your value proposition so important?
Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes: They need to find a solution to their needs. So they do an online search. What they find is a sea of undifferentiated offerings from a multitude of potential suppliers. It’s hard to tell them apart. None of their websites seem to offer a clear, compelling and relevant advantage. That makes their selection process harder than it needs to be.
One reason this happens is that many marketers make the mistake of confusing a value proposition with a slogan or a positioning statement. For example, “We’re an industry leader for over 35 years” isn’t a value proposition. Neither is “Just do it.” Slogans may grab attention. But they don’t convey any value or speak to the uniqueness of your brand.
A unique value proposition explains the benefits of your company, product or service clearly and succinctly. In five seconds or less, your prospect should know why you are the best choice to solve their specific problem. Here are several examples of effective, needs-based value propositions:
- Uber – Get there. Your day belongs to you.
- Target – Expect more. Pay less.
- Slack – Be more productive at work with less effort.
- Vimeo – Make life worth watching.
- LegalShield – Worry less. Live more.
When you connect your messages to your value proposition, you’re speaking your prospects’ language. You’ll connect with their intent in a way that makes them feel almost like you read their minds.
An ideal value proposition should also overcome objections and answer your prospects’ key questions. Use these guidelines to craft a perfect message that resonates with your audience.
Define the questions your prospects face
How do you craft the perfect value proposition? First, you must define the challenges your prospects face, the information they need to gather and the questions they’re likely to have.
It starts first by developing a persona that represents the needs of your ideal buyer. It defines their typical challenges, needs, aspirations and goals. It helps you develop a deeper understanding of their needs through every step of their buying process.
To get into the mind of your ideal customer, it helps to realize the following:
- They’re building a set of requirements for an ideal solution that meets their needs or solves a problem.
- They’re developing criteria to compare and evaluate solution providers.
- They need to narrow down the field of options to several best-fit solutions. They need your help to show them the way.
- They want information that answers their questions quickly and clearly – information that’s precisely focused on their needs, not on what you’re trying to sell them.
Where do you find this critical information? Start by interviewing your customer-facing employees, such as customer support and sales representatives. They hear your customers’ challenges and needs firsthand every day. They’re an excellent source of input to help you develop your target audience persona.
If possible, interview a cross-section of your customers. There’s no substitute for their input. Look for patterns in what they’re telling you and incorporate their insights into your persona.
Craft a call to action that answers common questions
A significant part of your strength in messaging comes from a meaningful call to action or CTA. Your CTA should answer your prospects’ questions and give them an obvious way to move forward. After reading a piece of collateral, many prospects want to learn more. By crafting a clear CTA, you should lead them down the right path.
Messaging and design: An example
The design of a direct marketing piece and the images you choose to convey its message can enhance your brand’s ability to stand out – or relegate it to your prospects’ circular file.
This example showcases the dramatic difference design can make. Which version of the sell sheet below is more impactful at conveying this industrial lubrication manufacturer’s key message, A or B?
In version A, many visual elements are fighting for attention. It’s hard to know where to look first. The gratuitous use of red on the left side of the sell sheet and in the image distracts from the message that this company’s products are ideal for automatic lubrication. The copy approach is very product-centric.
Notice how the design of version B naturally draws your eye to the center of the page, where the main message is located – “downtime is NOT an option.” This headline is compelling and is focused on a costly problem that many plant and maintenance managers face. This headline immediately commands attention and implies that this company’s products help to solve it. Also notable is the use of visual icons to help readers understand the three root causes of bearing failure, and how automatic lubricators can extend their life.
The good, better, best approach to messaging and design
A good approach to messaging and design incorporates your company’s value proposition in its design and messaging. The copy and design of your print and digital pieces clearly differentiate your company from its competitors.
Imagine the next level, where you address your prospects’ deepest challenges and problems in your communications. They feel heard and understood, which helps you to build trust.
Now, what would the best approach look like? You’ve integrated your collateral into communication campaigns that nurture your ideal prospects down a well-defined path to a sale. You iterate your copy and design using data from your lead-generation efforts while staying true to your brand.
To develop strong messaging, start by clearly defining a compelling and unique value proposition. Remember that design is critical to ensuring that your messages not only capture attention but also clearly convey your value and reinforce your brand.
To take your marketing to the next level, connect with the needs of your deepest buyers by developing detailed personas. Let their needs drive your communication strategies and tactics.
Finally, to bring it all home, use data collected from your marketing campaigns to do an even better job of giving them what they want. They’ll reward you by coming back for more!
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