Many professional services business struggle to create a compelling marketing message that demands interest and attention from prospective clients. As a result, they fail to attract high-end clients to sustain their growth. Think about accounting, financial planning, or management consulting; getting people to understand what they sell is their biggest challenge.
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 them in a simple, clear, and compelling marketing message. In fact, 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 marketing challenges.
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 a compelling value proposition, and communicating it constantly with clarity.
A compelling marketing message needs not to attract prospective clients’ interest and attention only, it also needs to transform such prospects into repeat customers. To create such a compelling marketing message requires three things…
1. Know your ideal customers
The first step toward creating a compelling marketing message is identifying who your ideal customers are. They usually are people who are very likely to buy or use your products and services. You need to identify them and pay attention to what they truly need.
To do so, you need to open your notebook and write the descriptions that defines them exactly. You can work through the example below.
First of all, ask yourself…
- Who are my ideal clients?
Just so you know; your ideal clients may include, medical doctors, Apps developers, travelers, website designers, accountants, small business owners, architects, poultry farmers, CEOs, etc.
- 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.
- What are my ideal clients trying to do?
We will assume they are trying to improve their leadership capabilities. Similarly, they may be seeking to make more sale, grow their profits, open new markets, develop new products, start new businesses, manage teams effectively, communicate effectively, save money, avoid risk, or train their children.
- What results do my ideal clients seek?
The question is about the results or outcomes your ideal customers seek. You can find this by looking at “What your ideal customers are trying to do” in step 3 above. Say, for example, they are seeking to improve performance, increase sales, grow profit, or manage teams effectively, etc.
With your ideal clients’ profile in place, you can easily create a statement of who your ideal clients are. This is an important part of your marketing message. Using medical doctors, for example, you can say:
“My ideal clients are medical doctors, who are struggling to lead their teams effectively.”
2. Clarify your value propositions
Value propositions describe the outcomes or ‘values’ customers receive from using your products or services. Great value propositions offer solutions and satisfaction to customers, and your marketing message must communicate these specifically. In other words, value propositions are not about you or your business. Most importantly, they are about the customers, whose needs and problems your product or service resolves. Therefore, a successful marketing strategy is 100 percent about customers, who are also the most important people in your business.
There are three key elements to value propositions; product features, gain creators, and painkillers. Let me explain…
Product features define the basic qualities or characteristics that form a major part of products or services. For instance, features describe the functionalities of a product or service. Also, they influence the chances of acceptance or rejection of the product or service in the marketplace.
In the case of tangible products, such 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 clients to buy from you than your rivals.
Gain creators are positive outcomes that raise your products’ appeal in the market. In other words, they are the exact gains, benefits, or values that customers expect from using 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 do your features give?” or “How will these features improve my performance?“
Painkillers, on the other hand, describe the exact pains, discomforts, unhappiness, or risks that your product or service eliminates. You need to understand the customer pains and be able to explain them in clear terms if your value propositions must succeed. Similarly, 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 painkillers is to answer the question…
“In what way does your service create savings, reduce risks, eliminate pains, and make your customers happier than your rivals?”
a compelling marketing message
A compelling marketing message describes your ideal clients, the needs confronting them, and the solutions (outcome) you are offering to meet the needs. A great marketing message communicates ‘value,’ not ‘process.’ ‘Value’ describes the results or outcomes (the Gain Creators) customers enjoy from using your service, while, ‘Process’ reveals how you go about delivering your service.
Your marketing message is at the core of prospecting your clients because it communicates your offerings in ways that add value to them. It is critical to effective marketing, also; because, if you communicate in the right way, you will get the right response. And of course; the reverse is the case if you communicate wrongly.
How would you respond to prospects who ask; “What do you do?” This type of simple question often catches many entrepreneurs and CEOs off guard. Whereas, the question asks about “What you do,” many business owners go the wrong to explain how they do what they do (the process).
Rather than focusing on process, you will make more impact if you tell your prospects who your ideal customers are, what their needs are, and how you meet their needs.
How to create a compelling marketing message
As you can see, answering the question; “What do you do?” involves three simple steps. Let me illustrate using the above template.
First of all, focus your answer on your target or ideal clients; for instance, “medical doctors.” Then, connect your target clients’ pains; in this case, “leadership capability.” Lastly, link your outcome; which is, “improved performance.”
So, here is what a compelling 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.”
Aim for a “Tell Me More” response
When you communicate your marketing message in this manner, you will likely attract prospects’ attention or interest. Most importantly, your marketing message needs to get a “Tell me more” response from your prospects. Remember, marketing is about the client, therefore, creating a message that addresses your client’s needs is a great way of attracting his or her interests.
Subsequently, share your marketing message on all your available marketing channels – your website, brochures, call cards, letter-heads, and flyers.
Finally, the essence of creating a compelling marketing message is to attract clients attention. Therefore, hold yourself accountable to ensure your marketing message goes to many ideal clients as possible weekly. In that way, you are letting them know about how you can help them.