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Small businesses are in crisis… a messaging crisis. They all think they sound different, yet in the eyes of potential customers it all sounds the same.
You hear it in one-to-one conversations. When asked what they do, most play back what they are/what they literally do… I’m an accountant…. I do people’s taxes…
It also shows up on websites and brochures…. Your source for basement repair! Lawn treatments at a great price! We provide a full range of chiropractic services!
It’s the surest way to commoditize yourself. You are who your customers perceive you to be and, with this type of marketing message, you’re just selling the same thing as everyone else.
WHAT DO YOU REALLY PROVIDE?
In order to get above the fray and elevate your position in customers’ minds, you need to redefine your benefit and answer the question: What do you really provide?
A benefit isn’t the product or service you sell, it’s the value a customer gets from their perspective… And you can’t win on vague modifiers like best quality or best service. The benefit needs to be specific and relevant.
You’re not just an accountant, you save business owners time and money.
You don’t provide lawn treatments, you make yards a place of pride and joy.
You don’t provide chiropractic services, you promise pain relief and better mobility.
Each of the above examples leads to a stronger marketing message that elevates your position and spells out real value to the customer. That value enables you to build a brand that stands apart from competition and commands a premium in your market.
A SIMPLE EXERCISE TO SHARPEN YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE
Here’s a fill-in-the-blank trick to quickly uncover stronger messaging that goes beyond the “thing” you sell.
We [provide] __________,
so that you [get] _________,
so that you [feel] _________.
The first line usually prompts the most common functional answer. The second line usually prompts something the customer gets as a result that is of greater value. The third line usually prompts a higher order and/or emotional benefit.
Here’s an example for a moving service:
We carefully pack and transport each item in your home as it if were our own, so that you get everything back in place like it never left, so that you feel worry-free, peace of mind.
See how that works? Now you have great language and ideas to use as a starting point in your communications.
Try it out for your small business and start elevating your marketing message. Then don’t just communicate it, but also live up to it. Make it your mission to deliver your new promise each and every time.
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Kevin Namaky is CEO at the Gurulocity Brand Management Institute, a marketing education company that trains and consults for notable brand teams including Kimberly-Clark, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Bolthouse Farms and Gorilla Brands. Kevin is a featured instructor for the American Marketing Association, lectures at the IU Kelley School of business, and has been featured in Ad Age, Forbes, Fast Company and the CMO Council. Previously Kevin worked for 20 years in the corporate and agency world growing notable brands. Follow/connect with Kevin on LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter.