If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my 15 years in sales (mostly selling software), it’s that a lot of businesses don’t deliver a consistent, cohesive message when communicating with buyers. This can confuse prospects and customers, which may open the door to your competitor. Bottom line: When your marketing message is jumbled, you hurt your … well … bottom line.
This is especially a problem today, when messages from multiple channels bombard buyers constantly. Attention spans are at an all-time low. In fact, you only have eight seconds to capture visitors’ attention on your website … or they leave. More daunting still, you might have even less time to make an impression if, for instance, a customer is scanning his or her emails on a mobile device.
That being said, it’s absolutely possible to engage visitors — on your site, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile, your email newsletter, etc. One of the keys to creating a rewarding customer experience is building a cohesive strategy around how you want to be perceived.
To that end, I wanted to write my first post about how you can deliver consistency in the look, voice and language of your messaging across all marketing channels. When you address these three areas, you’ll improve your chances of building and maintaining solid relationships with buyers and increasing your revenue.
Why Consistency is Key
To build relationships, you must understand your target audience. This should drive how and what message you deliver on every platform. Research shows potential customers have to hear your message about seven times before they buy. The more consistent your messaging, the quicker you’ll get there.
- Who am I talking to?
- What “language” do they speak? This should influence the words you use.
- What platforms do they prefer? Consider social networks, email, website, etc.
- What motivates them?
You can answer many of these questions with insight from data gleaned from Web tracking, intake forms, website analytics and so on. Once you have all this data, you need to build a multichannel strategy that ties all of this together.
Create Visual Consistency
A good place to start is with your logo — it can pique curiosity and create instant recognition. Companies like Nike and AT&T spend small fortunes to boil their product identities down to simple, easily recognizable symbols. And, of course, Coca-Cola is one of the most recognized brands in the world, a fact that can be largely attributed to its simple logo (and the proliferation of where it’s found).
The simpler the logo, the easier it is for people to recognize it — which empowers you to deliver a consistent visual message wherever you market your brand.
But don’t stop there. Build visual consistency into your entire marketing plan. Design banner ads, email headers, landing pages and social profile backgrounds to reflect the colors and themes of your website and logo. That way, potential customers will automatically recognize your brand.
Present Consistent Messaging
Not sure what sort of messages you want to use for your brand? Start with your mission statement. This should outline your competitive differentiators in concise and to-the-point language. Here are a few of the best mission statements out there:
- Amazon: “to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
- Facebook: “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
And of course …
- Silverpop: to be “the only digital marketing technology provider that unifies marketing automation, email, mobile and social into a solution that gives marketers the ability to leverage customer behavior to drive revenue.”
Good, consistent messaging creates a feeling of familiarity when buyers visit your marketing properties. This should be reflected in your choice of words and tone of voice. Decide if you’re casual, businesslike, humorous or some combination of the three, and apply across all channels.
Consistency is especially important in social media when you’re aiming to create personal, one-on-one relationships. Contacts should feel they’re engaging with the same person, even if you have multiple employees managing your accounts. Otherwise, it’s hard for buyers to trust you. Don’t be formal on Facebook and ultra-casual on Twitter. In general, aim for a tone you can maintain across all channels.
Speak a Common Language
The words you use are critical. Everything from the language of your blog posts to your tagline cumulatively establishes relationships with customers. For example, your tagline clearly communicates to customers what you do and how it benefits them. Here are some brands that have gotten it right:
- Apple: Think different.
- General Electric: We bring good things to life.
- Nike: Just do it.
Think about what works here. These brands not only have smart taglines, but they also incorporate the spirit of the tagline in everything they do. We know Apple is innovative. We know General Electric improves how we tackle household tasks. It’s in their messaging.
Pay attention to what you’re putting out there. When you build consistency across all marketing channels — with a cohesive voice and brand appearance — you’ll build trust and pave the way for stronger engagement and increased sales.
1) Tip Sheet: “5 Tips for Humanizing Content and Engaging Recipients”
2) Video: “Personalizing the Web Experience for Every Customer”
3) Blog: “Why Humanizing Content Is Important”