How to Craft Messaging that Cuts Right through the Noise
Hey you! Yeah, you!
Want powerful messaging that captures their attention? Then read on.
It’s not enough to merely connect with your audience. If you want maximum impact, learn how to craft effective messaging that cuts through the noise, expands your reach, and deeply resonates on a subconscious level with your audience members.
Too many companies employ what we call “dictionary marketing”. You arrive on their home page, and they simply tell you what they do.
With any B2B purchase, though, the buyer is typically going to review at least five or six options. If you’re using dictionary marketing, you wind up being a “me-too” brand in a sea of sameness. You lack differentiation. You lack a unique selling proposition (USP). As a result, your marketing falls flat and you wind up wondering why your marketing has hit a frustratingly unyielding plateau.
By crafting a message that cuts through the noise, you separate yourself from the pack and better enable your business to win their attention, win the click, and win the sale.
Interested in crafting a stronger marketing message? Read on for 12 methods to up your messaging game.
It’s All about Them!
Help them achieve their goals and solve their problems. Too many companies focus on themselves in their website and marketing. They focus on their company, their technology, their proprietary process, their history, their founder, etc.
Instead, focus on your audience. When individuals arrive at your website, they are self-interested. They want to know, “What’s in it for me?”. Know their problems inside-and-out, and then show them what’s possible. Highlight what they can achieve by working with your business.
When you show them their future state, you trigger mirror neurons in their brain. This means that when you help them see their future, the same exact neurons are triggered as if they have already achieved this vision. (Think of the impact of before-vs-after photography.) This is an effective way to get them to feel the power of your offerings and solutions.
Use “YOU” Language
What’s the most powerful word in marketing? “YOU!”
Is your messaging full of “me” language, focused on your own business and products (e.g., “our products”, “our services”, “our company”, “our technology”, “our teams”, “our commitment to quality”, “our history”, etc.)?
Or, are you instead using “you” / “your” language, focused on your prospects?
Here’s an exercise you can do today. Go to your website and review the copy. Is it full of “you” language? Or is it more internally-focused? If you want stronger results from your site, update the messaging by making them the center of attention.
Define Your Audience Segments and Personas
When talking with prospects, you should customize your message based on who they are. Define your audiences through documented audience segments and personas.
You are then able to craft powerful messaging to each segment and persona, based on their specific goals, challenges, and frustrations. This is far more powerful than trying to speak to all audience segments in the same voice, diluting your message to each unique persona.
Customize Your Messaging for Varying Stages of the Customer Journey
What your prospects need at the beginning of the customer journey is far different than in the middle or end of their journey. So customize your messaging accordingly.
Map the customer journey, and define the messaging that’s relevant and will resonate at each stage of the journey.
At the beginning of their journey, they will be looking for high-level information along with a lot of education.
As they progress through the various stages of their journey, they’ll be looking for more specifics. They’ll want to understand your differentiation in detail.
Towards the bottom of the funnel, they’ll value competitor comparisons, ROI calculators, and other mechanisms to help them make a final decision.
When your competition zigs, you should zag.
A highly effective way to make your messaging more powerful is to think laterally and surprise your audience. If your competition is talking about their “comprehensive” solutions, go narrow and specialize. If they boast of their many years in business, point out how your innovations have enabled you to leapfrog their capabilities more efficiently.
Use marketing jiu-jitsu to cut through the noise, and focus on areas they’re ignoring.
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Read Stratabeat CEO Tom Shapiro’s book Rethink Lead Generation, and learn how to apply lateral thinking to generate a flood of new leads. Buy the Book
Emphasize Your Differentiation
Too often, companies craft their messaging to point out what they do (“dictionary marketing”), rather than how they do it differently. If your prospect is comparing your offerings to competitors, it’s necessary to differentiate. Otherwise, you’re leaving things to chance and you’ll lower your conversion/close rates.
Clarify your differentiation. It’s critical.
And when defining your differentiation, make sure it’s solidly defensible. Too many times you’ll see businesses come up with a differentiator like “Our differentiation is our people.” And then when you ask them to describe the executives, managers, and practitioners at competing companies, they can’t because they don’t know anything about them. Their claimed differentiator is toothless. So make sure your differentiation is robust and powerful, and that you can back it up with tangible examples.
Answer Their Specific Questions
The psychologist Alfred L. Yarbus conducted eye-tracking studies, in which he showed each study participant a painting. Prior to revealing the painting to an individual, though, he would ask them a question. Based on the specific question asked, the person would consume the painting differently.
For example, if Yarbus asked how old the people in the painting were, the individual would look at the faces in the painting. If he asked about the social status of the people in the painting, the individual would look at their clothing instead, and would NOT look at their faces.
Your prospects are actively looking for specific information based on the questions running through their minds.
Do you know the specific questions running through your audience members’ minds as they hit your website, or blog, or other marketing touchpoints? Without answering the specific questions they are asking themselves, you run the risk of speaking into the void and increasing abandonment rates.
Use Social Proof
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini highlights the power of social proof in influencing others’ behavior.
Social proof, or “informational social influence,” is the concept that people feel more comfortable taking actions that they see others taking in similar situations. In a buying situation, people look for cues of what others have done. This may take the form of online reviews, or customer testimonials, or case studies. It could take the form of followers on social media, mailing list subscribers, or media coverage. In essence, seeing that others have already taken an action gives people the reassuring sense of “permission” to take the same action. It de-risks the situation.
Back in the early days of email marketing, Constant Contact tested various marketing messages. At the time, they guessed that a message focused on ROI would be most effective. Yet, the testing revealed that highlighting the number of customers proved to generate the greatest marketing results. So, the company transformed its messaging across the board to highlight its number of customers, and new customer acquisitions shot through the roof.
Simplify Your Message
Another method for crafting strong messaging to cut through the noise is to simplify your message.
Too many companies try to cram too much information into their messaging. This often makes it clunky to read and difficult to digest.
When Apple came out with the marketing message “Think Different”, it said it all. Even with more technical offerings, simple tends to be more effective. When Oracle writes, “Cut Your Amazon Bill in Half,” it hits you harder than a paragraph of technobabble.
With Stratabeat, we write “Amplify Your Awesomeness”. We could talk about the powerful results we get through our SEO, content, and website services. Yet “Amplify Your Awesomeness” says it all, and says it with greater impact.
Evoke an Emotional Response to Cut through the Noise
The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio conducted studies of people who had damage to the part of the brain that triggers emotions. In other words, these individuals couldn’t feel emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, etc. What he uncovered was that these individuals had an extremely difficult time making any type of decision, including purchase decisions. This is because they couldn’t feel strongly enough about any option, and so they endlessly waffled.
Reverse engineering this, what Damasio uncovered is that emotions are essential to decision-making. If your messaging is not evoking an emotional response from your audience, you’re making it mentally difficult for them to engage with you.
If you want to cut through the noise and drive them to action, evoke an emotional response.
Make It Memorable
The neuroscientist Carmen Simon has said that if you want your message to be remembered, disrupt the pattern. Your brain is a pattern-recognition system. It strives to predict what’s coming next. This is part of the old brain’s fight-or-flight response mechanism. If your brain can detect a pattern and predict what’s next, it’s more likely to tune out and your mind is more likely to wander.
Complementary to Simon’s findings, the neuroscientist Gregory Berns conducted studies that found that the human brain is hardwired to LOVE being surprised.
With this in mind, craft messaging that’s punchy and includes an element of surprise. For example, see how Shopify’s Let’s Make You a Business marketing campaign made its messaging cut through the noise and easy to remember:
- Your mom should be your first customer, not your only customer
- Let’s make your mom’s “famous” recipe actually famous
- Let’s make you that thing you thought of 3 months ago
Create a Compelling Offer
Another way to cut through the noise is to create an irresistible offer. This is an offer that your target audience just simply cannot refuse.
To craft this type of offer:
- Speak to the results they’ll achieve.
- Use easy-to-understand language.
- Clarify the time frame.
- Excite them. Evoke an emotional response.
- Ensure the offer is worth many times more than the cost.
- Remove risk such as through a free trial, test drive, or proof of concept, etc.