It's no secret that marketing can be one of the most costly expenses of a company.
As soon as you have a product and you've identified your target market, marketing is the way to get people to be aware of your offer, be interested in it, and eventually buy it.
Without marketing and with no awareness of your product, you'll have no sales and therefore, no way to sustain your profit-driven business.
This is why you hear crazy spending for advertising, promotions, and launches, all of which aim to drive a sale, increase brand awareness, or encourage some form of engagement.
But what if there's a better solution? What if the answer isn’t to spend more but instead, to convey a clearer message?
As bestselling author of Building a Storybrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen Donald Miller suggests, "If you confuse, you'll lose."
In this seminal book, the author presents a 7-part framework that highlights the elements of great storytelling to help you communicate better, connect more deeply, and faster convert your ideal customers.
Packed with practical examples and step-by-step strategies, I found this book helpful for copywriters or anyone wearing the marketing hat in their business, particularly for those unable to enlist the help of professionals.
The author's formulaic approach will help you avoid common marketing mistakes and instead, improve your communication, increase sales, and lessen marketing costs.
If you're ready to solve your customer's problems and position yourself as their guide, this book is for you.
Here are my 3 Takeaways:
01. If your message isn’t clear, no one will listen.
Businesses that deliver an unclear message are doomed to fail. This much we know.
With so much noise nowadays especially in the online marketplace, it's the businesses that are clearest and most effective in their communication that will thrive.
According to the book, this is essentially because customers are humans and humans are all basically looking for two things: how to survive and thrive, and how to spend the least amount of calories at any given moment.
This means that if you present a person with a message that is unclear, something that doesn't help them in any way, and something that needs them to expend so much energy just to understand, they will unsubscribe from your emails. They will throw your flyer in the trash. They will switch channels. They will x-out from your website.
This means that humans are designed to respond to simple and straightforward messages that have something in it for them.
02. Story makes music out of noise.
Lists, bullet points, and one-liners may grab your customers' immediate attention but you'll need a way to pull your customers in and connect deeply with your brand.
Enter stories and storytelling.
Stories have a way to spark a person's imagination — make them resonate with your brand, what you stand for, what you have to offer, why they need it, and how they might transform because of it.
When executed well, a story can evoke powerful emotions such as aspiration, happiness, fear, or longing, and can mean the difference between a mere visitor and a lifelong customer.
It's no wonder, therefore, that the brands that have been successful are those with an interesting story behind them — Apple which was revitalized by Steve Jobs after coming back from Pixar, Starbucks which goal is to offer an experience rather than mere cups of coffee, and Nike which communicates dedication, perseverance, and triumph for athletes and sports enthusiasts.
It's important to note that brands like these don't necessarily have the "best" products or are the least expensive. But they stand out and they stand the test of time because they do have the clearest and strongest messages.
03. Your customer is the hero and you are his/her guide.
Perhaps the most insightful marketing advice from the book is that you're not the hero in your customer's story. They are.
They need to have 1.) a solution to a problem they need to solve, 2.) a path they need to follow, and 3.) a way to avoid mistakes or pitfalls. And of course, the person/business they should turn to for help is you!
With this simple mindset shift, your business starts to become more customer-oriented and productive. No more wasting your time, energy, attention, and money on ineffective processes.
You begin to really listen to your customers, identify their needs and wants, and create products and services that cater to them and provide them with solutions. You start to position yourself and your offer as something valuable and worthy of their time, energy, attention, and money.
Consider your blog posts, your website, your emails, or even your social media content. The book explains each of these touch points as opportunities to effectively communicate and position your business as the best guide for your potential customers.
As the hero, they desire to be taken on an incredible journey and they wish to come out of that story transformed.
Share in the comments below: What did you find most useful from this article/book? How do you plan on clarifying your message so your customers will listen?
Want to read this book yourself?
*Disclosure: These are affiliate links which means if you click and purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Since one of the best ways to improve ourselves is to commit to continuous learning, this post is part of the blog mini-series called 3 Takeaways where I share three insights from thought-provoking leaders, books, and podcasts on a monthly basis.
My purpose initially was to simply read more books, but the learnings were too valuable to keep to myself. My goal has since been to share the vital lessons that will help you be productive and free.