You know that smart and strategic marketing is critical to your business success. But one of the surest ways to waste money and weaken your brand is to recreate your marketing from scratch every time. When you shoot from the hip, you create inconsistency and confuse your target audience.
The solution is to create a Messaging Toolbox for your business. A critical component of all small business marketing, a good Messaging Toolbox will save you time, unify your marketing efforts, and strengthen your brand.
What is a Messaging Toolbox?
A Messaging Toolbox is a simple but central document that contains re-usable content that you can easily adapt to new situations. By including basic components like your Unique Value Proposition, your competitive differentiation, and your branding language, your Messaging Toolbox provides a single source that acts as version control for your marketing by aligning everything from elevator speeches to websites to ads.
Why Do You Need a Messaging Toolbox?
All businesses market themselves through multiple channels, including print and digital collateral, networking, and customer service. But often they present mixed messages, sabotaging their brand impact. If your ads have one flavor and your website another, while your salespeople convey yet another impression, your brand will be muddied.
Anchoring all of your marketing to your Messaging Toolbox will eliminate these inconsistencies. By using this Toolbox as the foundation for all marketing efforts, your brand will grow in power and memorability. Your staff will be trained to stay on message, your collateral will offer a defined and consistent image, and every networking and public relations opportunity will be optimized through smart promotion.
How Do You Create Your Messaging Toolbox?
While you may decide to add or eliminate components based on your particular business needs, most Messaging Toolboxes will include the following:
- Unique Value Proposition (UVP) & Key Benefits: Here you list the single most compelling value offered by your company – something unique and valuable that you and you alone provide. Next, you want to list the top five or six key benefits of your UVP, with a sentence for each.
- The Elevator Pitch: If you normally ad-lib your elevator pitch when you meet people, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity. Develop an elevator speech aligned with the UVP and benefits you outlined above. The idea is to casually communicate your company value in even the briefest encounter.
- Buyer Personas, Pain Points, and Your Solution: This will probably be the lengthiest part of your Toolbox. Here you want to shift your focus to your customers. Develop a chart that lists your target buyers – for example, new parents, retirees, or marathon runners. List out their goals and their pain points, and then list the solutions your business provides. When you’re done with this section, you’ll understand exactly how to approach each audience.
- Talking Points and Q&A: Building directly from the previous section, develop a list of the most common questions your buyers have about your business. Anticipate their objections and develop solid rationales to get past them. Not only can this serve as a good basis for an FAQ section on your website, but it should also be mandatory training for all of your salespeople.
- Lexicon: Next sketch out the words you want to use to define your brand. These should be used consistently in all of your content. You may also want to develop a list of banned words that your team should avoid at all costs. If you want your customers to think of your product as “high-end,” “luxury,” or “upscale,” using words like “bargain” or “economical” in your copy will undermine your message and lose some of the audience you want to attract.
- Competitive Positioning: Finally, you must execute some competitive research. Make a table of your top competitors and analyze their key messaging – then determine your points of differentiation. This will let you know exactly where to focus your promotion.
Putting together your Messaging Toolbox may sound like a lot of work. But an effective Toolbox will save you energy and money in all of your marketing initiatives for years to come. Smart branding enables you to leapfrog over the competition – and a strong, consistent theme in your marketing is the key to attracting and retaining the customers you want.