How to Create a Marketing Message for your Professional Services

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Many professional service businesses struggle for not having a compelling marketing message that demands interest and attention from prospective clients. Think about accounting, financial planning,  or management consulting; the biggest challenge is getting people to understand what they have on offer.

People relate more to house painters, website designers, or tailors because, although they offer services, their services are tangible; easy to see, and understand. It is a different kettle of fish with coaching, marketing, or funds management. People hardly know what you do until you communicate to them in a simple, clear, and compelling message. Ask ten of your friends, and you might be surprised about what they think you do.  Understanding why professional services are hard to market can help you to overcome your challenges with marketing your business.

The foundation for creating a compelling marketing message

The success of your professional service hinges on a few simple business strategies. One of such strategies is finding your target or ideal clients. Whereas this is simple, it is the hardest for many entrepreneurs and small business owners. Finding an ideal client for a professional service comes with the responsibility of building a sustainable trust relationship. In essence, doing so requires developing and constantly communicating your value propositions with clarity.

A compelling marketing message need not only attract prospective clients’ interest and attention, but it also needs to translate such prospects into repeat customers. Creating such a message requires the following…

1. Know your ideal customers

The first step toward creating a compelling marketing message is identifying your ideal customers. This process is also known as ‘customer segmentation’ and requires some deep thinking.

To do so, get a notebook, or open a Microsoft Word document on your computer. Write the description of the people you want to work with as client. Here are some guidelines to consider.

Customer pains and compelling marketing message

First of all, ask yourself…

1. Who are my ideal clients? 

Your ideal clients may include, medical doctors, Apps developers, travelers, website designers, accountants, small business owners, architects, poultry farmers, CEOs, etc.

2. Where do my ideal clients work?  

Describe the industry or sector, where your ideal clients work. For example, hospital, technology, banking, insurance, retail, manufacturing, logistics, public sector, etc.

3. What are my ideal clients trying to do? 

Let us assume they are trying to improve their leadership capabilities, make more sales, grow their profits, open new markets, develop new products, start new businesses, manage teams effectively, communicate effectively, save money, avoid risk, train their children, etc.

4. What results do my ideal clients seek?

The question is about the results or outcomes that your ideal customers seek. You can figure that out by taking a closer look at “What they are trying to do” in question 3 above. We can say, for example, they are seeking to: improve performance, increase sales, grow profit, or manage teams effectively, etc.

Completing the above questions leads to creating an ideal client’s profile. With a clients’ profile in place, you can easily construct an ideal clients’ statement. Using medica doctor for example, you can say:

“My ideal clients are medical doctors in hospitals, who are struggling with leading their teams effectively.”

2. Clarify your value propositions

A value proposition describes the outcomes or ‘values’ that customers receive from using your products or services. Value propositions focus on creating satisfaction for the customer by resolving their needs or problems. In other words, value propositions are neither about you nor your business. Often, it is about customers whose needs and problems your product or service resolves. Successful marketing implementation, therefore, is 100 percent about your prospective customers, who are also the most important people in your business.

Value propositions consist of three key parts; product features, gain creators, and pain killers. Let me explain…

Product features

Product features define the basic qualities or characteristics that form a major part of products or services. They describe the functionalities of a product or service and influences the chances of their acceptance or rejection in the marketplace.

For such tangible products as Smartphones, features may include a touchscreen, long-lasting battery, wireless charging, or powerful camera lenses. On the other hand, features for services may include money-back guarantees, free advice, after-sales training support, coaching or mentoring. Great service features highlight the usefulness of services and induce your clients to buy from you than your rivals.

Gain Creators

Gain creators are positive outcomes that services offer to raise product appeal in the market. They are the exact gains, benefits, or values that customers expect from your service. Gain creators can be discovered by answering such questions as  What guarantees are you offering?What savings will result from using your service?” “What benefits will your features give?” or “How will these features improve my performance?

Pain killers

Painkillers, marketing message

Painkillers describe the exact pains, discomforts, unhappiness, or risks that your product or service eliminates. You need to understand these pains and be able to explain them to prospects in clear terms if your value propositions must succeed. Painkillers combine such qualities as having the ability to reduce risks, eliminate pains, save time, or improve productivity for your ideal customers.

A quick test for identifying your Pain killers is to answer the question… 

“In what ways does your service create savings, reduce risks, eliminate pains, and make your customers happier than your rivals?”

3. Create a compelling marketing message

A compelling marketing message describes your ideal clients, the need confronting them, as well as the solutions (outcome) your service will offer to meet the need. A great marketing message communicates ‘value,’ not ‘process.’  ‘Value’ describes the results or outcomes (the Gain Creators) to be enjoyed from using your service, while ‘Process’ reveals what you do, or how you go about delivering your service. 

A marketing message is at the core of client prospecting because it helps to communicate what you do in ways that add value. This is critical to effective marketing because if you communicate in the right way, you will get the right response. And of course, the reverse will be the case if you communicate wrongly.

How would you respond if someone asks; “What do you do?” This is a simple question that leaves holes to which many business owners and CEOs fall. Whereas the question asks about “What you do,” many business owners get it wrong by explaining their process; what they do and how they do it.

Rather than focusing on process, you will make more impact if you tell your prospect who you work with, the needs they have, and how you meet their needs.

How to create a compelling marketing message

Value proposition and compelling marketing message

As you can see, answering the question; “What do you do?” involves three simple steps. I will use the template I already created in section one above to answer the question.

First of all, focus your answer on your target or ideal clients, for example, “medical doctors.” In the second step, connect your target clients’ pains, for example; “leadership capability.” The last step is to link your outcome; for example “improved performance.”

So here is what a marketing message looks like, based on the above three factors:

“I work with medical doctors in the hospitals who struggle to lead their teams, and I help to clarify their vision, improve performance, and produce greater results.” 

When you communicate your marketing message in that manner to an ideal client, you will no doubt attract his or her attention or interest to further ask; “Tell me more.” Remember, marketing is about your clients, and addressing the clients’ needs is a great way of attracting their interests. 

After creating your compelling marketing message, you must ensure to include it on all your marketing channels including your website, brochures, call cards, letter-heads, and flyers.

Finally, the essence of creating a marketing message is to communicate it effectively with your prospective clients. You must hold yourself accountable to ensure you communicate your marketing message to many ideal clients as possible weekly. That is a great way of letting your ideal clients know about how you can help them.

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Author: Nkem Mpamah
Nkem Mpamah is the #1 business strategist for the services industry in Nigeria. Everything Nkem does is helping you to think differently, challenge your status quo, and multiply your productivity and profit. Since 2010, Nkem has been coaching and consulting for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial CEOs in the Services sector on the best strategies to differentiate, market, and develop a competitive advantage. Nkem Mpamah is the founder and chief executive of Cognition Global Concepts and creator of Business Growth Network.

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