As we get set to close the books in 2021, it’s impossible not to reflect on what a wild ride it’s been since the beginning of 2020 and the onset of the pandemic. That’s two years now that we’ve been seeing metrics that no one could have predicted. These metrics have changed how we develop strategic messaging, maybe forever.
Due to the changing social climate, the rules of the digital marketing game have been altered with regard to how we communicate with our target audiences. In many ways, brands have had to strategize how to regain trust, as sentiments have shifted and trust became nothing more than a five-letter word.
3 Key Points to Remember When Developing Your Strategic Messaging Plan
All of the above has made creating a strategic messaging more challenging as these circumstances have made it more difficult to get your message across and truly reach your audience. You’ll need to explore new approaches and innovative methods for engaging your target audience – and regaining their trust.
Done correctly, an effective messaging strategy will…
- help your target audience identify your brand and what you have to offer
- establish outcomes they can expect from your products and solutions
- establish why you’re different (and better) than your competitors
- target your ideal customers
- bring clarity to your digital marketing strategy
To achieve these desired outcomes, it’s imperative that you define the “Who, What, and How” of your strategic messaging. Let’s begin by looking at the “Who” part of the equation.
Understand & Define Your Target Audience
Figuring out exactly who your target audience is, is the most important step when ideating a strategic messaging plan. Are you wondering why defining your target audience is so important? Well, as the old saying goes, if you try to sell to everyone, you’ll wind up selling to no one.
This notion of casting as wide a net as possible when it comes to your messaging strategy is simply not the way to go. The opinion that concisely defining your target audience places limitations on your efforts because you might be excluding possible buyers is false. You are merely focusing your efforts on those who are most likely to buy from you and allowing for the creation of a more focused plan. The less ‘mess’ in your messaging, the better.
The most effective way to define your target audience is by developing buyer personas. To do this effectively, you need to consider two major criterias – demographics and psychographics.
Demographic information refers to details such as:
- company industry
- job title
- company size
- target markets
This information not only helps you speak more succinctly, but it also helps marketers adjust product features, preferences, buyer behaviors, and even distribution strategy.
When it comes to psychographics, you’ll dive a bit deeper in an effort to uncover what motivates your buyer and ultimately drives them to buy. With psychographic information you’re looking at factors like
- company pain points
- desired business outcomes
- business goals and objectives
Considering this information ensures that your messaging strategy speaks more to buyer challenges and goals.
When you combine demographic and psychographic information, you have a complete and accurate buyer persona. This persona will allow you to paint a very clear picture of what actually motivates your target audience to buy.
Differentiate Your Brand with Value Proposition Messaging
When it comes to defining the “What” of your strategic messaging plan, the focus is on determining what kind of information you will include in your messaging. When making that determination, you must consider the unique value proposition of the product or service you’re providing.
This is where the rubber meets the road, when buyer needs and seller solutions are in perfect alignment, or in marketing parlance when the revenue happens. Making sure your value proposition is the baseline promise you’re making to your potential customers, and that it is clear and concise, is key. And that your strategic messaging is focused on the customer and addressing their needs.
When you examine the value proposition landscape, it’s shocking how few companies get this right. To achieve this level of strategic messaging:
- Create Messaging that Differentiates Your Brand. Creating clear and compelling messages that communicate your value proposition and differentiate you from competitors is perhaps your best opportunity to engage your target audience. When identifying your unique value proposition, it’s important to be distinct, concise and compelling. It’s your elevator pitch, in simple, yet engaging language and will allow you to position your brand as the best.
- Express your products and solutions using their key benefits and outcomes or use cases. It is so important for your target audience to immediately understand what outcomes your products and solutions will deliver. And that they see those outcomes in terms of their own challenges. Publishing case studies alongside your use cases / outcomes is very powerful.
- Address Your Target Audience’s Pain Points. There is perhaps no bigger indicator of messaging success than how well it addresses an audience’s pain points. Identifying and uncovering pain points is important as this information will help you position and tailor your message address to their specific challenges and needs. The brands that consistently alleviate pain points typically stay on top.
- Implement an Effective SEO Strategy. One of the most important steps in developing your messaging is implementing search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. It’s easy to get a bit lost trying to hit the bullseye on the constantly moving target that is Google algorithms.
Don’t compromise the value of your message chasing the SEO holy grail. Use SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to help you ensure that you are using the right keywords to reach your audience. And remember not to keyword stuff. Fit them in naturally to maintain the integrity of your message.
Develop a Distribution Strategy to Bring Your Messaging to Your Target Audience
Now that you’ve created the blueprint for your strategic messaging, your mindset is shifting to “How” you will deliver your message. Done blindly, this is where the strategic messaging plan goes to die.
There’s more involved in distributing your message than publishing it on the web. When a great message meets effective distribution then, and only then, have you developed a successful messaging strategy. To take your distribution to the next level, there are a few digital marketing strategies that should stay top of mind. These strategies include:
- Improving your website experience to ensure your messaging is easy to find and easy to digest.
- Utilize a variety of marketing channels to meet your target audience where they are.
- Be consistent with your distribution efforts by continuously engaging your audience.
- Use various types of digital content to distribute your message over and over.
Remember, your messaging strategy will only wind up being valuable to those who see it. Don’t let your message become that tree that fell in the forest. You remember, the one that didn’t make a sound because no one was there to hear it.