In today’s crowded world of content, it can be difficult for small businesses to stand out.
We all know a powerful headline when we see it because it grabs our attention. Powerful headlines compel us to read more. Powerful messages will resonate with the kind of people who'll get most value from the product or service offered.
The best headlines are the ones that make me realise I have a problem I didn’t know about before. And this product or service will solve that problem for me – how can I go on living without that product in my life! These headlines stop me in my tracks and compel me to find out more about what is on offer.
And powerful headlines are not universal. A headline that makes one person take notice might not interest someone else, because the message isn't relevant to them.
So where do these powerful messages come from? Do advertising agencies have a magic elixir that gives them divine inspiration?
No. Powerful headlines are created using a systematic process that starts with deeply understanding what is important to your audience.
1. Deeply understand your customers
In a huge consumer-goods company, this means a lot of expensive marketing research. Fortunately, for most small businesses (like the ones I work with) they already know their customers pretty well. They often know them much better than they realise.
If you haven’t already, create a customer persona or avatar. Write down all the things that are important to that person and their attitude to your industry and your product or service category. Put as much detail as you can to create a rich persona that you can understand and speak to. You might find my checklist useful.
2. What are their pain points?
Once you have your customer’s values and attitudes down, now think about their frustrations. What specifically is the problem that you solve for this person? And why is it important (to them) that this problem is solved?
These questions aren’t always easy to answer and it might be useful to get a marketing consultant who can coach you through uncovering these answers.
3. What will spark someone to look for what you offer?
A lot of people stop here. They talk about the problem and the solution and that’s it. I recommend clients go one step further, and think about the situations that might spark a realisation of that need.
For example, for a branding agency, the problem they solve is that their client is embarrassed by their business logo and marketing materials. The spark is when they go to an exhibition, see their stand next to all their competitors and realise their stand looks rubbish in comparison. The client might have been aware that their brand wasn’t great but it was only when they arrived at the exhibition when the scale of the problem became clear.
Another example is a tailored CRM software company who solves the problem that off-the-shelf software won’t do what their client needs. The spark is the moment the business owner needs to get some specific data out of their CRM to inform their marketing, but the user interface won’t allow them to sort the data in the way they need. They waste hours going round in circles and then give up.
Sometimes a spark might be a conversation that prompts your buyer to realise something is a problem. Sometimes it’s when they’re asked a question they can’t answer.
Here’s one of the sparks that might trigger a business owner to realise they need my services: someone asks them if the marketing campaign they’ve just run worked and whether they should do it again. In that moment they realise they don’t know if it delivered ROI and they have no way of knowing whether they should repeat it, run it with some amendments or cancel it completely.
What is your buyer’s spark?
It’s easy to ignore general messages. A spark (some marketers call it a ‘trigger’) is essentially a mini story and our minds love stories. When we hear a story that matches our values and experience, it will resonate in a way we can’t ignore.
Make a list of all the sparks you can think of and start to weave them into your marketing. It’s amazing the difference it makes.
Need more help
I'm running a workshop on 11 March 2020 that will take you through exactly this process to give you marketing messages that will cut through the clutter and grab your audience's attention. Book your place here.
If you can't make it to the workshop, email me to book in a free 30-minute phone consultation. I look forward to hearing from you
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