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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 empathize with your target audience’s state of mind and encourage them to decide 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. An excellent place to start that learning is to ask about the emotion they felt that made them in that made them want you. Learning about your customer’s emotional response when they decided on your business instead of your competitor will give you insight into what your competition is not offering what you are. If you would like more information on how to do this, I recently wrote an article about the best ways 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 emotional reactions are two different concepts. If you are looking for a divorce attorney, you need a divorce. However, every person that needs 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 emotions. On the other hand, your customer may not “need” your product, for example, a Rolex watch. There’s no urgency. However, there is a status and perhaps showmanship, among others.

The takeaway is you need to understand what is going through their minds. What emotion 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. Please 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 your competition are saying the same thing, it becomes a competition of who can shout louder. No business can be all things to all people. Even though they may say, do they genuinely demonstrate it? Where does their messaging not line up with their execution? It’s in these misalignments that you can take advantage of and 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 like you and perhaps 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?

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 no business can be all things to all people, as I said before. Some excel in price and some in customer service. Apple is an excellent example of people paying a premium for what are commodity devices. They used emotion 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, it becomes a competition to shout louder. It would help if you said something different. Let’s go back to our example of 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 people want to stick it to their spouses. On the other hand, there are plenty of couples who don’t want to stick it to their spouse. These couples want a clean break. 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 competitors. In the left column, create things that your competition does. You want to make a note, 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 mainly focus on price. Maybe they focus on both price and customer service. Don’t go into crafting a message 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 mentioning 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!