Business Growth

Done is better than perfect

So many small business owners fall into the trap of perfectionism. But we all know what happens when we get too picky — a big fat NOTHING. Perfectionism doesn’t serve us, it works against us. We become our own worst enemy and productivity and efficiency go out the window.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s great to pay attention to detail and to have high standards for yourself and your business. But when it cripples you from doing what you need to do, that’s not healthy. And your business will suffer the consequences.

I have fallen into this trap myself, and I’ve seen the devastating results it can have. I’ve had to work hard at it, but I find that the mindset of “Done is better than perfect” is nearly always accurate.

Clarify Your Marketing Message | Step 7: Success!

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Hey, it’s Sam Nelson again from Website Muscle. We’re onto the 7th and final step of this process to Clarify Your Marketing Message.

A quick recap: to make your marketing message clear, concise, and compelling, we’ve gone through these six steps so far.

  1. Identify who your customer is, and what their business goals and objectives are.
  2. Address the problem that they need your product or service for, and the frustrations they are feeling as an effect of that problem.
  3. Your company appears as a trustworthy provider of proven solutions to the customer’s problem.
  4. Simple steps that explain what it’s like to work with you and alleviate fears of the unknown.
  5. Take action, either through your main CTA (“Schedule a consultation”) or secondary CTA (“Download this e-Book”)
  6. Avoid the possibility of failure through inaction or choosing a competitor.

The last step, Success!, is where you describe what happens when a customer does decide to work with you.

This is one of the most important steps in your marketing message. We want customers to see exactly what success looks like.

Here’s the question we want to answer: How is the customer’s life or company better after working with you?

We can think about this two ways.
1. What are the tangible ways the customer will be helped?
2. How will the customer feel after working with our company?

For the first question, the answer for the customer should be something like, “I have achieved…” with their specific answer related to how you have helped their business improve. This could be based around revenue, time savings, or capabilities beyond their competitors’. All of the things that customers should be able to say after working with you should be on this list.

For the second question, your customer’s answer should start with, “I feel…” For example, in our website business, we help business owners achieve certain goals. But we also have a marketing manager customer persona who we want to have those achievements and also feel a certain way. They should feel like they have the right partner; like they’re working with a company that is aligned with their goals and objectives.

Again, you should be able to list out as many of these as you can. You can never offer too much of a vision for your customers about what life is like after working with you.

That’s the 7th step in the Clarify Your Marketing Message video series. Thanks for watching!

If you found this helpful and would like to dig deeper, please reach out to us to schedule a one-on-one discussion. We’d love to chat with you.

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Clarify Your Marketing Message | Step 6: Failure

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Hey, Sam Nelson here again from Website Muscle, and now we’re onto Step 6 of our 7 Steps to Clarify Your Marketing Message series. We’re almost there!

We call the second-to-last step the Failure step. We want to identify the things that could happen if the customer decides not to do anything or chooses one of your competitors.

We’re just listing these right now, they aren’t necessarily going directly into your marketing message. For this exercise, I think about sitting in front of a potential customer and saying, “Your decision on this matters because of these things,” which you can then list out.

We want to make sure we identify these things, because — on your website, for example — we can mention the failure possibilities briefly before shifting into the Success discussion in the final step.

A lot of customers aren’t aware of the things that could possibly go wrong. Many clients come to us after having a bad experience in which things go wrong that they didn’t even know could go wrong.

To make it clear that we have our clients’ best interests in mind up front, we present the things that could go wrong in the process. Take a minute as part of the exercise to identify those things for your business before moving onto the last step in our Clarify Your Marketing Message Series: Success.

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Clarify Your Marketing Message | Step 5: Determine Your CTAs

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Hey, it’s Sam Nelson from Website Muscle. We’re onto the fifth step of our 7 Steps to Clarify Your Marketing Message — Determine Your CTAs.

Step 5 of this exercise is to Determine Your Calls to Action (CTAs) that you are asking your customers to perform. We’re thinking about this from a website standpoint, but asking your customer to take the next step should always be a part of your marketing message.

We break CTAs up into two categories: first, the main call to action, and then your secondary CTAs.

Main Call to Action

For our B2B clients, the main call to action is usually “Schedule a Consultation,” some version of “Contact Us” via email or phone, or a download of a free demo or program.

Whatever it is, we need to know exactly what that main call to action will be and that you’ll be able to measure success. If you want your marketing to lead to more calls, for example, your marketing efforts need to be solely focused on driving calls.

Secondary CTAs

One or more secondary CTAs should also be in place for leads who aren’t ready to schedule a consultation. I’ve seen huge opportunities for B2B companies like our clients, because a lot of the time the traffic to your website isn’t ready to buy immediately.

If you look at your website’s analytics, you’ll probably see that the vast majority of people on your website aren’t contacting you. The question is, what value and information can we give them to start a relationship?

One example of a secondary CTA is an e-book that adds value for customers, which you can provide in exchange for an email address. With that information, you can start an email campaign to guide that lead toward a future conversion.

Another secondary option that could add value is a video course, or just one video with enough value that brings customers back and leads them to start a relationship. Email newsletter series also work well to keep customers engaged.

There are a lot of different ways to create a call to action that will lead potential customers to start a relationship with you. Even if they aren’t ready to schedule a consultation, they’re interested in you solving their problem.

In these circumstances, the secondary CTA should solve a problem or frustration that we identified back in Step 2. If customers have a question or are looking for a solution that your secondary CTA can solve, you’ve provided a win and significant value.

Summary

To summarize, make sure you include the main call to action and secondary CTAs throughout your marketing materials. This way you’ll have something for anyone who is looking at your website. Either they will take the next step and contact you, or watch a video, read your literature, or otherwise interact with your message.

Thanks for watching Step 5 of 7 Steps to Clarify Your Marketing Message. Stick around for Step 6: Failure.

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Clarify Your Marketing Message | Step 4: Share Your Process

Hey everyone, Sam Nelson, owner of Website Muscle, here again to help you Clarify Your Marketing Message.

We’re headed into Step 4 of this exercise. As you’ll remember, Step 1 was identifying who your customers are, Step 2 is addressing the problem they are coming to you for, and Step 3 is establishing trust and why customers should work with you.

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Before we start on Step 4, let’s take a quick break. We’ve been talking about the customer, their problem, and your company, but now we really want to think like marketers.

Ask yourself this question: if we could narrow our process down to three or four compelling and concise steps, what would those be?

Step 4: Share Your Process

Pre-Purchase Process

The first way to share your process in a marketing context is: what steps do leads take in order to become customers?

For some businesses, there is a huge opportunity to identify these steps for potential customers, because they might be confused and not know what the steps are. I always try to limit this to three steps, because three is both easy to remember and easy to complete.

Post-Purchase Process

The second way to share your process, which is often more important for our B2B clients, is: what are the steps after a lead becomes a customer? Within your marketing message, this also helps to alleviate potential fears or frustrations.

You’re telling leads, “I know you don’t know what working with us will be like, but it’s very simple. Once you become a customer, we’ll do X, Y, and Z, and that’s what a relationship with us is like.”

Of course, there are a ton of other things that you do for customers once they’re on board. But in your marketing message, you’re trying to cut through all of the other noise that businesses are inundated with day in and day out, and the way to do that is through simplicity.

You need to be able to say, “Once you become a customer with us and go through our process, you’ll be successful.”

Reflect Your Customers’ Frustrations

If you go with either the pre-purchase or the post-purchase plan, we want to make sure that you’re either talking about the business goals and objectives from Step 1 or the frustrations in Step 2.

If you know that your customer has a frustration, and part of your plan is to alleviate that frustration, that’s a successful marketing message.

Again, we want to identify three main steps, either as a customer first starts to work with you or once you’ve established a relationship and are working together long term.

Commitments & Agreements

Another big part of this plan is: what commitments or agreements do you make with your customers?

There is a lot of value in identifying what these are. You could be making a promise, or a guarantee — a lot of our B2B clients don’t offer guarantees, but they can offer value through commitments or promises to their customers.

Even if you don’t have an agreement or commitment yet, it doesn’t have to be difficult to make one. If you identify three industry-wide frustrations and build promises around easing those, customers are going to want to hear that, right?

Customers know about industry-wide frustrations because they have probably experienced them themselves. Now, when you come along and your company can stand on a commitment to solving those problems, you’re providing a unique value.

Our Example: Code of Conduct

As an example from our company, we have a Code of Conduct. We have six commitments that we make to clients, which you can see at the bottom of our homepage.

We address six frustrations that web design clients come to us with all the time, and we commit to alleviating those problems and standing by our word.

Stay tuned for Step 5: Determine Your CTAs.

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Clarify Your Marketing Message | Step 3: Introduce Yourself

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Hi, I’m Sam Nelson from Website Muscle.

We’re on to Step 3 of 7 Steps to Clarify Your Marketing Message.

The first step was identifying exactly who your customer is and what their business goals and objectives are.

In step 2, we clarified the two levels of your customer’s problem:

  1. What is leading them to search for your product or service?
  2. What thoughts, feelings, questions, and frustrations do they have during their search?

In Step 3, Introduce Yourself, we’re going to talk about your company for the first time. This part is always easy, usually because most of our clients talk about what they do a lot.

Two Ways to Introduce Yourself Successfully

There are two ways to successfully introduce yourself in your marketing message:

1. How does your company help to alleviate fears and frustrations for your customer?

You’re providing a service for the customer, of course, but you need to address how your business will deal with the pain points they have been dealing with.

2. Why should the customer trust you?

We like to use “trust indicators” on websites, which shows that you’ve “been there and done that.” Trust indicators can also include case studies, which prove that you’ve successfully served other customers before.

If I asked you what you can show to a potential customer to prove that you’ve been there and done it before, and you’ve helped somebody in the same situation they are in right now, what would you put in front of them?

Do you have testimonials from high-profile customers? Can you just talk about the names of the companies you’ve worked with to show visitors that they can trust you?

Other Trust Indicators

Case studies, testimonials, statistics, years in business, awards the experience of your team — there are a lot of ways that we can show your company’s authority.

Usually showing customers why they can trust you is the easiest part of the marketing message exercise. The first question is more nuanced because it addresses your customers’ fears and frustrations.

Think these questions through, write down a few ideas, and then we’ll move onto Step 4 — Share Your Process.

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Clarify Your Marketing Message | Step 2: Address the Problem

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Hey folks, I’m Sam Nelson, founder and owner of Website Muscle.

Step one of our 7 Steps to Clarify Your Marketing Message, as you remember, is to Identify Your Customer — exactly who they are and what their business goals and objectives are.

The second step is to Address the Problem.

Address the Problem

In our last post, we talked about the customer being on the road and encountering a problem. We want to identify exactly what that problem is.

1. What are they looking for?

The first way we do that is to ask “What is the product or service that customers are coming to you for?”

When we go through this exercise with our clients, they usually say that they do a lot of different things — different products, different services, etc. For this exercise, let’s start with the first thing that comes to mind. As we create our first marketing message, let’s talk about either your primary service or a collection of your services from a high level.

For example, we have a client that does printing services. Many different products and services are included under that heading. For their first marketing message, however, the customer is coming to them for business printing needs.

2. Thoughts, Feelings, Questions, and Frustrations

The second component, which provides the power of Addressing the Problem, is to ask “What thoughts, feelings, questions, and frustrations do customers have as they search for a solution to their problem?”

If we can answer those questions, that provides the basis for our marketing. We don’t want to fall back on saying “we’re a printing company” or “we’re a website company.”

Let’s return to our business as an example. When customers need a new website, they are looking for a web designer, but they also have thoughts, feelings, questions, and frustrations as they are searching and meeting with different companies. They might have had a frustrating experience with a previous website company that makes them wary.

We want to make sure that your marketing message speaks to those concerns. We aren’t going to jump ahead and solve them yet, but we need to identify these issues to help your customer overcome them.

Summary

To summarize, the two questions to ask when you Address the Problem are:

  1. What product or service are customers coming to you for?
  2. What thoughts, feelings, questions, and frustrations do they have while they search for your product or service?

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Clarify Your Marketing Message | Step 1: Identify Your Customer

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Hi, I’m Sam Nelson, owner of Website Muscle.

Again, one of the biggest opportunities that I see for small businesses to grow is to Clarify Your Marketing Message. The first step in our 7 Steps to Clarify Your Marketing Message is to identify your customer, which we do with two simple categories.

1. Demographics

We usually start with a typical marketing buyer persona. You need to identify exactly who your customer is. Their gender, their age, where they live, what their job is, etc.

We really want to narrow down who your customer is because this is your marketing message will be designed to speak to that specific individual. If you don’t have a customer in mind, it’s virtually impossible to create a compelling and concise marketing message.

2. Goals and Objectives

The second thing we want to identify is the customer’s business goals and objectives.

Imagine your customer traveling down life’s highway. Where is it taking them? What do they want? Where does their business fit in?

In the context of your marketing message, the customer is headed down the road and encounters a problem. Your business is there to help them solve that problem and get to where they’re going.

Identifying Our Customers

To use our company as an example, we have two main customers.

One customer is a business owner. Since we build business websites, some business owners like to engage with us directly. But we often work with marketing managers as well, depending on the size of the company and their marketing budget.

Although you would expect them to be aligned, a marketing manager’s goals and objectives might be different than a business owner’s. Business owners are usually revenue-driven. They want a website that helps them grow the company, drive leads, etc.

But a marketing manager might approach a website project with different goals. Namely, to check whatever boxes their higher-ups put in place for a new website project.

In our marketing message, we want to address these two audience segments differently. Separating owners from marketing managers in our messaging sets us up to succeed in Step 2 — Identify the Problem.

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Clarify Your Marketing Message | Overview

Hi, I’m Sam Nelson, owner of Website Muscle.

Most people think we’re just a website design company, but we really don’t see it that way.

We’ve been doing this for about 10 years, and the biggest problem that we’ve seen in our industry is that most small- to medium-sized businesses don’t have a clear message for customers. A big part of our job has become helping businesses create their marketing message.

Our 7 Steps to Clarify Your Marketing Message:

1. Identify your customer.

When I ask small business owners what they do, of them start by talking about themselves. Their services, their company history, etc. — nothing about the customer. We need to know who your customer is, and what their business goals are, for your marketing message to succeed.

2. Address the Problem.

What problem does your business solve for the customer?

3. Introduce Yourself.

How does your company relate to your customers? What authority can you provide? How do customers know that they can trust you?

4. Share Your Process.

What is the process like when a customer works with you? How does the relationship between your company and your customer start? And what is life like for them after they’ve worked with you? These elements should be clear and simple.

5. Determine Your Calls to Action.

Start with your direct call to action — for a lot of B2B companies, that is “Schedule a Consultation.” But a lot of businesses are missing out on the opportunities that come from secondary calls to action, like downloading e-books, watching videos, and more.

6. Describe Failure through Inaction.

What is the end result if a customer does not work with you? Paint a picture for your audience. If someone doesn’t work with you, describe the negative outcomes they might run into.

7. Make Success Real.

Describe all of the great and tangible achievements your customer could reach, and how they will feel after that success.

When you put this marketing framework together, it’s incredibly powerful.

We want to build websites for businesses that say more than just “here’s what we do” — we want to help you engage customers with a marketing message focused on them, the problem you’ll solve for them, and what life will be like after that problem goes away. That’s what creates a compelling marketing message.

This is the first in a series of video blogs, and we’re looking forward to providing you with the rest of the framework and hearing your feedback.

If you’d like to go through the marketing message exercise with us one-on-one, please contact us and we’d be happy to set up a time to meet with you.

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