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3 Steps to Crafting a Message that Separates You From Your Competition

It is not surprising that we make most of our decisions based on emotions. On occasion we use logic but that is just not how human nature works. When developing a digital marketing strategy, we can use this to our advantage by crafting messages that empathizes with your target audience’s state of mind and encouraging them to make decisions to take action based on emotion. Using empathy to address that emotion makes the message even more powerful. I’ve broken down how to gather the information you need to craft a message that will win over your target audience and make them into customers.

Step 1: Learn What Your Competition is Not Learning.

Your customers are your customers for a reason and there are probably similarities in their reasons as to why they chose you. A good place to start that learning is to ask what state of mind did you put them in that made them choose you. Learning about your customer’s state of mind when they chose your business instead of your competitor will give you insight into what your competition is not offering that you are. If you would like more information on how to do this, I wrote an article recently about the best ways to identify to identify your target market. In that article I write about how to identify similarities and in particular, their state of mind when they purchase your product.

I want to emphasize that need and state of mind are two different concepts. If you are looking for a divorce attorney, you are in need of a divorce. However, every person that is in need of a divorce attorney has a state of mind that leads them to that decision. The decision to choose one attorney over another depends on which best empathizes with their state of mind. On the other hand, your customer may not “need” your product, for example, a Rolex watch. There’s no urgency in their state of mind however, there is status and perhaps showmanship among others. 

The takeaway is you need to understand what is going through their minds and what is going to have them take action. The best way to do that is to interview customers who have already purchased your product or service. Don’t get hung up on physical qualities like gender, age, etc., but dive deeper into what’s going on in their heads. What was their feeling when they made the purchase and held the product in their hand? What did they feel when they left your office? You can use these emotions to start to craft a message that will attract others who want to feel the same way.

Step 2: Say What Your Competition is Not Saying

If you and you competition are saying the same thing, it then becomes a competition of who can shout louder. No business can be all things to all people, even though they may say they are do they truly demonstrate it? Where does their messaging not line up with their execution? It’s in these misalignments that you can take advantage. This is where you need to start crafting your message. For example, let’s say you’re selling bikes. 

Amazon, Walmart, and Target all sell bikes. So do you. They probably sell the same models as you and probably a few dollars cheaper as well. How are you competing with companies that spend more money advertising in one week than you make in a year? You say what they aren’t saying. Where do you excel? What can you offer that they can’t? This leads us to the final step.

Step 3: Do What Your Competition is Not Doing

Even a company like Amazon has areas you can exploit. For example, if you have a physical location where a customer can touch, try and take home all in one visit, you have an advantage over Amazon. Think about this, Best Buy is still doing well even with an Amazon dominated market. You can do the same.

Your competition may have cornered the market, but like I said before, no business can be all things to all people. Some excel in price and some in customer service. Apple is a great example of people paying a premium for what are really commodity devices. They focus on the user experience and on the quality of their products. They evoke an emotion and state of mind when you purchase their products. They used these emotions to develop a loyal following and it made their company one of the largest in the world.

As I wrote earlier, if you and your competition are saying the same thing then it becomes a competition of who can shout louder. You need to say something different. Going back to selling bikes. The big box stores sell bikes. You can go in, get it off the shelf, wheel it through the store, pay for it with some milk and Pop-Tarts, and shove it into the back of your car to bring it home. There is so much that you can do to deliver a better shopping experience. The same goes for a service business. You can do things differently and perhaps more effectively. Take for example, a divorce attorney?

Every divorce is different. Some want to stick it to their spouse and there are plenty that advertise that they will get you what you deserve. On the other hand, I’m sure that there are plenty of couples who don’t want to stick it to their spouse. These couples just want a clean break and not go through the hassle of “this is mine” and “that is yours”. Their state of mind is quite different. It’s about finding that niche and exploiting it. 

Final Thoughts

In crafting the right message, you need to do a little bit of homework. You need to research your customers and your competition. Here’s a tip: make a spreadsheet and at the top in the columns list your competition and in the left column create things that you want to make note of. For example, positioning statement, tag line, services, ad placements, and social media exposure. When you do this, you can see everything at once and you can also see where you can exploit the gaps in their messaging.

You may learn that they aren’t very active on social media or that they mainly focus on price. Maybe they focus on both price and customer service. In any case, rather than going into it willy-nilly and throwing a bunch of crap up the wall and seeing what sticks, you have a plan to exploit where they are weak. I think I’ve said it twice already but it is worth saying it again, no business can be all things to all people but I want to add that if they try to be all things to all people, they are going to fail at some things, and that is where you can win!