We’re sure you’ve been enticed once or twice to buy a product or service through an ad or social post that just spoke to you. Whether you realize it or not, the power behind this enticement came in large part from the messaging that was used.
The power to resonate with the audience and push them to conversion is what will differentiate strong sales messaging from weak ones. Your sales message is the core of your sales and marketing tactics and is, therefore, integral to success.
There are some key components of successful messaging to keep in mind when you craft your own content.
#1 First, What is a Sales Message?
You may have the best product/service at the best value, but guess what? If you don’t have a clear and compelling sales message, your product/service will die in disgrace.
Your sales message, in a nutshell, is the solution to your customer’s problem. Your sales message is not your product but is the words you use to talk about your product. Ideally, it will be informational, motivational, emotional, persuasive, and ultimately close sales.
You must get it right: for it will be the recognizable, overarching theme of your company’s communication, perception, branding, and marketing. With that in mind, your sales message should include the following to clearly and effectively engage with consumers:
- Acknowledge a problem that your product/service can solve
- Propose your product/service as the solution by giving examples, statistics, customer insight feedback, etc.
- Clearly define your calls-to-action and guide the consumer into a sale
#2 How to Develop Strong Sales Messaging
With the three key message elements in your sights, let’s look at how to craft them into a strong, effective sales message. Always approach your marketing from the consumer’s point of view and not your own. What are your audience’s goals, desires, and needs? Speaking to their end goals, desires, and needs will resonate powerfully. Messaging that tells product details will not. And if your audience doesn’t think they have a need, it then becomes your sales message’s job to create one! Here’s how…
Sell Through Story
Did you know that we all think in stories, whether we’re conscious of it or not? It’s how we problem-solve. It’s how we relate. It’s how we are entertained. Our brain is hardwired to think in story loops of beginning, middle, and end. To frame your sales message in a creative story form, think of it this way:
- A character (your audience) encounters a problem (his life is not complete or fulfilled without your product/service).
- A guide appears (you) to show them how to solve their problem (your product/service).
- The character and guide (you and your potential customer) together solve the problem through a plan and then a call to action (buying your product/service).
Open a story loop in their mind with your sales message, and then close the story loop with a “and they all lived happily ever after,” but only with your product or service.
Sounds easy right? Yes and no. As you begin your marketing journey into the land of “Once upon a time…” remember that—like any good book, play, movie—you have to keep your audience engaged. A meandering, confusing sales message will have people abandoning your story before the ending, just as you would abandon a movie with a meandering, confusing plotline.
When crafting your message, be sure to keep the following elements crystal clear in your mind:
- What does your audience (character) want/need?
- Who or what perceived conflict stands between your audience and what you both want (a sale)?
- How will your brand become both the guide and the solution to your audience’s problem?
- What will your audience’s life look like with your product/service (positive spin) AND without your product/service (negative spin)?
Sell Through Perceived Value
Another vital element to developing a strong sales message is by adding to the perceived value of your product or service. Beyond the item or service per se—what is the emotional, social, and philosophical value of what you offer? This is where your sales message can soar! Don’t be afraid to tug on those heartstrings and even use gentle emotional manipulation to burrow your sales message, not into the head, but the heart of the consumer.
Beyond your “sticker price,” what are you adding to your customer’s life emotionally, philosophically, socially?
- Emotional value—freedom, peace-of-mind, sentimentality, beauty, fun
- Philosophical value—socially-conscious, biodegradable, interest-earning, charitable, long-lasting, group-connectedness
- Social value—clout, status, exclusivity, caché, attractiveness, recognizability
#4 Integrate That Sales Messaging
Now that your sales message is clear in your mind try to boil it down to a “one-liner.” Your one-liner should be what you and your whole company can state at a moment’s notice to any potential customer. (It doesn’t have to be one sentence, but shouldn’t be more than two or three.) Always include the following:
- The Problem
- The Solution (and call-to-action)
- The Result
“We understand the struggle of (…), and provide relief from (…) with our easy-to-navigate (…) so that you can be more energized, productive, and successful at (…). “
The next step is to deploy your sales message in your cross-channel communication. Consider the following ways to utilize it on your website, your ads, your social channels, and in your emails.
If your business doesn’t already have a slogan or a tagline, consider if your new sales message could work! You may have to employ the talents of a wordsmith to keep the sentiment, yet make it shorter. However, give the consumer some information to associate with your logo will be the best marketing money you’ve ever spent.
- If you already have a slogan or tagline that appears with your logo, be sure to at least place your sales message somewhere “above the fold” (what can be seen on a website before you have to start scrolling).
- Startling new data tells us that users spend only 5-15 seconds on your homepage. During this time, they are deciding if they will trust your website as a guide or solution to their problem; so, make every pixel around your sales message count! Web development matters. Fonts, images, layout, color palette—first impressions are everything.
- Make your sales message clear and make it visible! Do not make the consumer search for it, because… they simply won’t. As we said earlier: it doesn’t matter if you have the best product/service. If the consumer never knows about it or is somehow confused by your message, they won’t be interested.
If you have the luxury of snagging a 30-second radio or television ad, make the most of it. But don’t make it cute. Make it clear. And better yet—make it a story.
- Use customer testimonials as the basis for your story.
- Use before-and-after imagery/experiences to tell your story from start-to-finish.
- Tell a brief story of your process and—most importantly—the ease of the process for the consumer.
Social media can seem a bit more challenging because of character limitations or the general lightness/social quality of the interactions. But consider this your place to shine! Use your social channels to humanize your company, give you a friendly voice, position yourself as the guide on the consumer journey to happiness.
Be sure to underpin your social media messages with your sales “soundbite,” but don’t use it in such a way that you become marketing white noise to your target audience. Consider rotating your posts with the following to keep them fresh:
- Use customer-experience photos
- Highlight upcoming promotions, sales, special events
- Post employee photos, company outing photos, manufacturing photos, “Our Process” photos
- Share How-To/Tips-For/Step-To… short videos if possible
- Snag a social media “influencer” to promote your brand
- Scatter in current event posts (show you’re connected, but never get political)
Email marketing is still one of your best tools to get your sales message into the minds of consumers, and this is where you can tell the best stories in long-form (so to speak). Remember, 5-15 seconds is still your guide for capturing your audience. Some ways to vary your marketing, keep your customers engaged, and ensure your email doesn’t end up unread in the trash folder are these:
- Feature customer stories whenever possible.
- Showcase employee stories as they relate to your brand.
- Highlight local events your business has sponsored or participated in.
- Partner with your community/neighbors/local businesses to potentially widen your customer base.
- If you have the bandwidth, be sure to send out “just-because, feel-good” emails that will delight and keep your customers more likely to open your next email.
No matter what the theme of your email, be sure to include your sales message in every email: after all, repetition is the key to learning. And you want your potential customers to know exactly what you are offering to make their life better.
Remember: you are competing against endless consumer noise. Your sales story has to be compelling, but it also has to be clear. As Storybrand exec and marketing guru Donald Miller tells us over and over: “If you confuse, you lose.” It may take numerous attempts (and possibly a few marketing failures) before you can boil down your sales story into a soundbite; but once you do, you will be amazed at the consumer response.
Storybrand. What Makes StoryBrand So Different? https://storybrand.com
Shane Snow. How Stories Change Our Brains. https://shane.substack.com/p/how-stories-change-our-brains
Inc. The 7 Components of a Brilliant Marketing Message. https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/7-components-of-a-brilliant-marketing-message.html
Medium. 6 Ways to Alter Perceived Value to Improve Your CRO. https://medium.com/@NikkiElizDemere/6-ways-to-alter-perceived-value-to-improve-your-cro-ft-objeqtecomm-2cb901ca31d
SWEOR. 27 Eye-Opening Website Statistics: Is Your Website Costing You Clients? https://www.sweor.com/firstimpressions