Standing out in the digital age is challenging. Americans are online more than ever, which means there’s a captive audience to be had. Despite spending more than seven hours per day engaged with digital media, the large number of ads they see makes them less memorable. If you want your brand to grab consumers’ attention, you need effective messaging.
A thoughtful and well-executed messaging strategy can benefit businesses of all sizes, serving as the backbone for creating messages that connect. Learn how to create, measure, and maintain an effective messaging strategy for your business.
What is a messaging strategy?
A messaging strategy is how you convey your business to the world across all channels of communication. It is a core component of your company’s overall marketing strategy and communications plan. It’s also a framework, outlining how your business engages with your target audience to illustrate its value proposition, brand identity, and key marketing messages.
What are the benefits of a messaging strategy?
A good messaging strategy can help simplify your communication process while ensuring messaging aligns with every step of your customer journey. This alignment can provide a variety of benefits:
Consistency and clarity
An effective and well-crafted messaging strategy clearly and concisely communicates your brand image, values, and unique selling proposition (USP). It also serves as your North Star for consistent communication across all marketing channels and touchpoints, from website content and paid advertising to social media posts and customer support emails. A clear and consistent set of guidelines helps create a strong brand identity and build brand awareness because your customers are able to identify certain messages as yours over time.
An essential step in developing a messaging strategy involves knowing your target audience. By developing a deep understanding of their needs, preferences, and pain points, you can refine your message and better target your communications to reach ideal customers.
Your messaging strategy differentiates your brand and products or services from direct competitors. It should highlight your unique value proposition and communicate why you’re different through your brand tone, voice, and story.
Effective messaging goes beyond product features and benefits; it taps into emotions. Messages that evoke emotion based on a deep understanding of your customers make it easier for them to connect with your brand. When your messaging aligns with your actions and promises, it reinforces the perception that your brand is reliable and trustworthy, helping to build brand loyalty and customer retention.
Markets and consumer preferences change over time. An effective message strategy has a core objective that can adapt to changing market conditions, trends, and customer feedback. This adaptability allows you to stay relevant and responsive to your business environment and your customers.
Messaging strategy examples
No two messaging strategies will look alike, because every brand story is different. Here are some examples of brands successfully executing their messaging strategies:
Driven by its heavy-duty and long-lasting coolers and an understanding of its brand positioning as compared to competitors, Bison Coolers uses a product-value-based strategy. With a generous warranty, top-notch quality, and product customization, Bison Coolers puts its value proposition at the heart of its core messaging.
Since its launch in 2014, Hismile carved out a place for itself in oral care by understanding its unique selling points (proprietary teeth whitening solutions) and using a benefit-driven messaging strategy. By clearly communicating its main benefit and backing up its promises with supporting user-generated content, social proof, and influencer marketing, it became known for its growing family of innovative teeth whitening products.
Front and center on the Bombas homepage is a banner featuring its core cause-related messaging: “One Purchased = One Donated.” With 100 million donations (and counting), this cause-related strategy is effective in communicating the company’s values while also making an emotional connection with customers through supporting content related to its brand values.
Fashion Nova is a self-branded “cheap and affordable” retailer that uses a value-based strategy to speak directly to its target market: young, price-sensitive shoppers looking for inexpensive but trendy clothing. Having a thorough understanding of its buyer persona has also guided its consistent use of Instagram as a marketing channel. There, it often uses urgency and scarcity-based messaging for flash sales and other limited-time promotions.
How to develop a messaging strategy
- Define your unique selling proposition
- Identify your target audience
- Craft your brand story
- Write your messaging guidelines
- Test and evolve your brand messaging
A well-crafted messaging strategy ensures your marketing efforts are consistent, resonant, and aligned with your brand’s values and objectives. Here are five steps for developing and maintaining a cohesive strategy:
1. Define your unique selling proposition
What sets you apart from the competition? A unique selling proposition is a concise statement that highlights the distinct benefits and features of your product or service offerings. It communicates how you uniquely address your target audience’s needs or pain points, creating a compelling reason for them to choose your business over competitors.
2. Identify your target audience
You may have already defined your target audience, but now is a good time to think deeply about their demographics, location, preferences, needs, and motivations. You can compile this information into buyer personas, or avatars to represent your ideal customers, and enhance marketing assets that will help you craft targeted communications that resonate.
3. Craft your brand story
A brand story is a brand messaging framework that uses narrative to shape and communicate the essence of your brand. By framing core elements of your brand’s values and identity in this narrative structure, you can humanize your brand, communicate your values, and differentiate yourself from the competition. This creates an emotional connection with your audience to make your messages more memorable and impactful.
4. Write your messaging guidelines
After you collect the foundational information provided in the first three steps, craft the playbook you’ll use to execute your strategy company-wide. This will include your USP, buyer personas, and brand story. Your guidelines can be simple or include other complementary elements, such as a brand positioning statement, frequently used taglines or slogans, and design-oriented brand guidelines for identity and style.
5. Test and evolve your brand messaging
Marketing is an ever-evolving field. Continuously review and update your messaging strategy to stay relevant, adapt to market changes, and meet evolving customer needs. Define and regularly measure key performance indicators (KPIs), such as click-through rate, conversion rate, or engagement rate.
You can also use A/B testing to compare different messaging approaches and hone in on what most resonates with your audience. Continuously gather feedback and data to keep your messaging strategy fresh.
Messaging strategy FAQ
What is a core message strategy?
A core messaging strategy outlines the key messages a brand or company wants to convey to its target audience. A well-defined strategy provides a foundation for all marketing materials and helps foster brand recognition, engagement, and connection with your customers.
What makes for effective messaging?
All effective marketing messaging is concise, clear, and tailored to your target audience. Effective messages are also often actionable, memorable, and emotion-driven.
How do you choose the right communication channels for a messaging strategy?
Choosing the right messaging channels for your strategy requires understanding the channels your target buyers use and prefer. Research where they spend time and how they consume information. Consider your own messaging goals and content, evaluating which communication channels best suit those goals and content types.
How can you measure messaging success?
Companies often use key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement rates, conversion rates, click-through rates, and open rates to measure the success of a messaging strategy or a specific campaign. Your marketing team may also use A/B testing and solicit customer feedback to measure the effectiveness of your messaging strategy.