You’re scrolling through social media and you see an ad. The image catches your eye right off the bat: A weathered leather-bound journal sits open, a pen in the spine, next to a steaming cup of coffee amidst the soft glow of a ruby-red candle, all atop a craftsman walnut table.
Now you’re interested in the headline:
“Relax According to Your Standards. Relax According to Redford.”
Redford’s website slowly loads, and you’re interested in buying a journal or a candle—or even a table. When the site finishes loading, you discover they don’t sell tables, candles or even journals—they sell luxury ballpoint pens. Did Redford’s marketing team simply slap a headline on the first Canva image that popped up from the keyword “cozy-productive-luxury”?
More Than a Headline
It takes more than a vague headline pasted over a graphic to communicate with an audience. To propel a brand—to really “land” with customers—we need clear messaging that quickly communicates what we do or sell. And our tools are simple: words and images. Redford’s ad may have an intriguing image, but is their messaging clear enough?
How to Nail Your Messaging
For writers and marketers everywhere, the old saying rings true: “Clarity, clarity, clarity.” If your message is unclear, your audience—your customers—will be lost.
Consider applying these actionable tips to nail your messaging:
Write clearly: Aim to keep your messaging clear and error-free. Writing tools, like Hemingway and Grammarly, are excellent for clarifying your writing. By just writing more clearly, you will engage your customers more with your business. A customer confused by unclear messaging is less likely to engage with a brand. But a customer who understands what they’re reading is more likely to take action.
Not a confident copywriter? Hire one! M Agency provides excellent, effective copywriting services. But if you want to handle the copywriting yourself, then use the techniques of copywriting. And learn to be a good, helpful salesperson through your copy. Try picking up a copy of Robert W. Bly’s excellent “The Copywriter’s Handbook.”
In our opening example ad, Redford wants to sell a ballpoint pen. But their headline is unclear. The product is not clearly stated. Rather than confusing messaging about relaxation, they would be better off with a headline like the following:
“Redford Ballpoint. Write Like No One Else. Write with the Gold Standard.”
Clarify your “why”: Your why is a critical part of your messaging. Make clear your purpose, or your mission, and your message’s impact will improve dramatically. Do you realign smiles? Communicate your why to your customers so they can join your cause, or your story. Are you driven by the belief that the owner of every smile deserves a healthy, beautiful smile? If that’s your why, then let that guide your messaging. Consider the following examples:
“For almost 30 years we’ve been setting the standard for orthodontic care in Tacoma, so you can smile bright with health and confidence.”
The messaging is clear—we know they’re offering orthodontic care—but it could be made more effective by clarifying the reason they ever started their practice, their why.
“Every person deserves a bright, healthy and confident smile. That’s why we set Tacoma’s standard for orthodontic care 30 years ago and will continue that tradition for the next 30 years—and more.”
We know now that they don’t simply want money. They have a mission and a purpose. If our want or need—to have a healthy and straight smile—matches their why—that everyone deserves a healthy and straight smile—we’re more likely to connect and resonate with their brand.
Clarify your offerings: Can you clearly and specifically summarize the services you offer? If not, you could be losing customers. Do you offer wealth and risk management, and retirement and tax planning? Financial planning can be confusing, so clarify it. Consider the following:
“With us, your finances are in trustworthy hands. We help clients ranging from retirees to business professionals—we do it all. And we resolve to protect and nurture your investment as we would our own.”
They clearly sell “financial services”—maybe they’re a bank, an advisor or a tax preparer. It’s not clear. We know their target audience—retirees and business professionals—but we don’t know what they offer. Be more specific and avoid complicated jargon.Try something more like this:
“With us, your finances are in trustworthy hands—from wealth and risk management to retirement and tax planning, and more—and we resolve to protect and nurture your investment as we would our own.”
When you’re specific and clear, your audience won’t question what’s being offered. Make your message clear, and the reader—someone who’s deciding whether they need your product—will know exactly what you’re offering them.
M Agency’s Brand
Above all, M is committed to helping you become unforgettable. Our team of strategists, designers, and copywriters can help you clarify your messaging in all your marketing channels. From headlines that get results to sales pages that convert—simply click here to get started.