It’s pretty simple really. All marketing is about two things:
1 – Your client.
2 – You.
Your client… because she is the consumer of your words and message, the purchaser of your services. You have to know this person really really well.
You…because you are at the center of your business, and your energy and who you are drives everything. This means that when you’re creating content – whether a blog post, a networking event, or a talk you give, you need to know how to position yourself and your message so that your ideal client can anchor to it.
Message? But I don’t have any stinkin’ messages.
You do. You just haven’t taken the time to get clear about them.
Just to clarify: Core messages are not your mission statement, or your company culture. They are the basis of your marketing, of everything you communicate: What are the core messages that drive what I do? What is the WHY behind anything I teach, share or do in my business?
How to discover your core marketing message in 6 steps:
I coach my Uplevel Academy clients to discover their core messages using a deep and detailed process called the “Key Message Upleveler”. Here is an overview of that process to help you begin mining for your message.
**Note to perfectionists:** (And that means all of you.) Don’t overthink this. Trust your business intuition to rise to the challenge. Don’t talk yourself out of what pops up.
These first 3 questions are about YOU.
1 – How do you dismiss what you do?
This may or may not apply to you. But you may just be harboring some dismissals if you’ve caught yourself saying:
- “I’m just a… [fill in the blank].” Just a mortgage broker, just a copywriter, just an underwater basket weaver?
- “Too many people already do what I do.”
Is there any way that you minimize what you do? If so, write them down. And recognize that buried in that dismissal often hides a deeper reason for why you do what you do.
2 – How do you work?
- What do you do or know that’s different?
- What are your unique ways of working?
- What do you bring to the table?
This piece is all about the top things that set your process apart.
3 – What does your industry say you SHOULD do?
All industries have their unique pressures and limiting beliefs. What does “everyone else” in your industry do? Examples:
- “Healers shouldn’t charge a lot of money because they’re doing spiritual work.”
- “Realtors should not limit their business by creating ideal client profiles. If you don’t take anyone and everyone as a client, you’ll miss out.”
Any rule you hear that says that your business needs to operate a certain way. As in question #1 – the reverse of this “should” may contain the hidden message behind your why. Such as, “When someone commits to her health by investing in it, she is more likely to co-create her healing and stop being a passive player.”
(These next 3 questions are about your clients. If you haven’t done any ideal client work yet, here’s an article to get you started – but don’t let that stop you from jumping in. It’s better to start imperfectly, key word START.)
4 – List the 5 biggest mistakes your ideal client is making…
Brainstorm the mistakes your client is making.
In the case of the healer above, one mistake might be that the ideal client thinks that she’ll only pay for her own health if her insurance covers it.
Again, one of your core messages might be the flip-side of this mistake. This is not about trying to convince anyone of anything. It’s just something you live by and are clear about.
5 – What misconceptions does your ideal client have of you or about your industry?
I always tell my clients to be happy when they get resistance from a prospect. Or even negative feedback. Anytime this happens to you, you just got a gift! Instead of collapsing into drama, see if you can mine the resistance for your core message.
Here are some actual examples from my clients to get the wheels turning:
- “I’ll just do this myself.” (This is really a money objection – why pay someone when I can do this myself?)
- “This is gonna take too much time.”
You may discover your message in the all-too-common mentality of prospects who want magic pills, or who will settle for bad results because they’ve duct taped their solution together in a DIY approach.
6 – What are your ideal clients’ biggest dreams? (As it relates to how you can help them, of course.)
What, in their words, do they most want?
- I want to find my soulmate.
- I want to fit into my favorite pair of jeans again.
- I want to be able to take my family on vacation every year and pay for it.
Get as specific as you can.
Now you’ve got some rich fuel to jump-start mining for the message.
Go through your answers.
Where’s the charge? What’s leaping from the page?
When you hit on something that seems central to what you do, your passion, your uniqueness – write a draft of a core message.
Notice I used the word draft.That means you want to do this imperfectly. This is deep work. It will take time. Just get it messy and imperfect on the page. And you’re on your way! If you can create 3 – 5 messages, you’ll be stunned at how much more clearly you approach your marketing and content. Now you can live it because you’ve named it! And that’s a great start!