Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Effective Messaging

Are you providing relevant information, or just making noise?

By Laura Iles - Sr. Consultant, Integrated Insight

Lately I’ve been on a mission to reduce the influx of marketing in my inbox. Every company I interact with asks for my email and social media connections and phone number for texting and calling. I’m deluged with marketing campaigns and at this point, it’s just so much static to me.  Now I’m working to separate the wheat from the chaff, and not many firms make the cut.

So how do you make your message stand out against the background noise of your competitors?

Stay on topic.

There are other critical factors of course, but you’ll lose the game before you begin if your messaging is unfocused. I’m continually astonished at the number of campaigns that do not follow this rudimentary principle.

Your firm is in the business of providing a particular set of goods or services, and your communications should focus on providing information relevant to those goods or services. Your messages do not need to be all things to all people. The fastest way to lose the interest of your customers is to dilute your message with irrelevant information.

Case in point:
After a recent car service, I was signed up for the monthly email newsletter from the dealership. Thinking there might be a useful maintenance tip or a coupon inside, I opened the email – only to find the following headlines:
  •  Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet
  • Investing 101: Where to Begin
  • Great Accessories for Your Touch Screen

 A quick online search of previous newsletters revealed the following gems:
  • Why Your Body Needs Iron
  • Movies about Parenthood
  • 5 Great Superhero Video Games
  • Fresh Ideas for Organizing Your Closet

 Confused, I clicked through to the closet organization article.

“Pick a Saturday and devote it to your clothes closet... Gather what you don't wear and donate it to a charity.”
“Organize by type.”

This newsletter comes from a company that I pay to maintain my vehicle. It is unclear to me why I’m receiving articles on investing and healthy dieting and organizing my home.

Needless to say, I’ve since unsubscribed.

There were other articles of more relevance mixed in of course: New Vehicle Previews and Environmentally Friendly Maintenance Tips. But by then I’d lost interest. The newsletter was too cluttered with topics that were irrelevant and obvious space-fillers.

This firm would have done better to cut the extraneous and send a shorter newsletter, with a focused message. As consumers, we are all overwhelmed with emails, social media campaigns and advertising messages. To cut through the noise, your marketing offerings need to be concise and relevant.

Consumers agree to be on mailing lists because they want to hear what your businesses has to say about the product or services. Customer communications are not intended to be a newspaper, nor a magazine, nor an advice column. Diluting your message reduces your credibility.

Shorter is often better.  Provide information  of value, ideas that are relevant to your customers, and eliminate the superfluous – your target market is far more likely to listen.

1 comment 1 2 :

  1. yet another un-intended consequence of content quantity over quality...