In this noisy, competitive environment it’s so important that you identify what makes you unique. What is it about your approach, perspective or even personality that allows you to shine?
This can be hard to do by yourself because we often overlook the things that make us special. They come so naturally to us that we take them for granted, we’re too humble to see our gifts, or we can’t sort through all the noise in our heads to find the big ideas.
One of my gifts if my ability to sort through the muck to help you see the golden gems that make you shine.
But it’s one thing to know what makes you unique and quite another to be able to explain it. And explain it clearly so it’s obvious and relevant to your ideal clients.
That ability to communicate clearly and confidently is essential to your success. Let me say that again. Your ability to communicate clearly and confidently is essential to your success (yes, it’s that important I had to say it twice).
So once you’ve found your golden nugget, how will you communicate it so your ideal clients instantly understand your unique value?
I worked in Strategic Communications for such companies as Coca-Cola and Visa, and consulting firms like Burson-Marsteller and Wirthlin Worldwide. I can’t summarize everything I learned in one quick article, but let me share some tips to help you communicate your message simply and powerfully.
1. Make it easy to digest
I recently read a corporate report I had written in my consulting days and even I don’t know what the heck I was talking about. Your marketing and communications should not be written like a corporate report. Keep things conversational, jargon free and simple. If you have a corporate background, this sometimes means unlearning how you’re used to communicating.
Remember that for your communications to be effective, especially online where there is so much distraction, you don’t want to have to make people work so hard. So make your content easy to digest and engaging.
Do you have a tween in your life, maybe a 12 year old child or niece? If so, run your messaging through them to see if they can understand what you’re talking about. If they can’t, it’s a good sign you need to simplify your message.
You can also ask some people in your target market to review your messaging to ensure they understand what you’re trying to convey.
2. Holes not drills
Remember the example about the hole vs. the drills? People don’t care what kind of drill you use to get the hole, they just want to know they’re going to get an awesome hole in the ground so they can get the swimming pool they always wanted. Focus on the benefits and results not the process.
I was working with a client recently who is a consultant and absolutely brilliant. She has an extremely scientific process she uses to help her clients get results. The problem is that she was so focused on communicating the process that, not only did people get lost, but they lost sight of the results she could help them achieve. We simplified her message, erased all jargon, and focused on the results. Magic!
3. It’s all about me (not)
Remember who you’re talking to and use language they can relate to. It’s about creating communications aimed at your target market, using language and benefits that are relevant to them.
For online marketing, keep in mind who is doing the searching and appeal to them. For instance, a client of mine works with small law firms. But it’s often not the lawyers themselves who are doing the searching, it’s the office manager. So her messaging should be aimed at lawyers but not so ”lawery” that the office managers don’t understand what she’s saying.
4. What’s the big idea?
Create one overarching Core Message that encapsulates what you’re all about and what you stand for. Imagine you had your target market in front of you for a presentation. What one thing would you want them to know about you and what you stand for in your business, that is meaningful to them and you?
For instance, my Core Message is:
“To be a great marketer you have to know your target market. But to build a profitable business you love, you have to know yourself.”
It’s at the heart and soul of what I stand for in my business, and I use it as a guiding force in all my work.
5. Support the big idea
Once you have your Core Message (big idea), create supporting messages to reinforce it and crystallize it. This helps you stay focused and consistent in your communications, and it gives your audience a deeper understanding of what you’re all about and how you can help them.
For instance one of my supporting messages is:
Finding your niche starts with you. Don’t just choose a target market and figure out what they want. Look within at your passions, strengths and experiences to find the solution that you’re here to provide.
6. Test and tweak
Your messaging will evolve as your business evolves and as you get clearer about your unique value. You can’t perfect things in your own head. You need to put your messaging out there and see what kind of response you get. Then be open to tweaking and refining your communications as you move forward.© Copyright 2013 Cindy Schulson