Connections, Coffee & Confidence
3 People Your Business Messaging Must Speak To
The more you talk to your audience in terms that they understand, the simpler it becomes to get your message across. But what your audience knows and what your message means to them depends on who they are.
- The First Primary Audience: Potential Clients or Customers (4:55)
- The Second Primary Audience: Past and Current Clients or Customers (6:26)
- The Third Audience: Influencers (8:18)
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Sometimes my kids share something with me that leaves me politely smiling, kind of half laughing because obviously it’s funny - the hilarious gut busting of his brothers tells me I’m meant to laugh but I don’t get it. And sometimes something similar happens with my husband, like when we drove around what we hope will be our kids’ new school. He pointed out the air filtration system. I hadn’t the foggiest notion of what he was talking about, I just saw the big boxy structure attached to the front of the school. But to him, as a project manager who works a lot on new build schools, he knew that meant there was a woodworking shop inside. I’m sure had he been with any of his colleagues, they would have gotten the inference immediately.
I’m not trying to say I’m completely out of touch with my family, although I’m not sure how much more I’m willing to learn about video games to stay really in touch with my boys, but I am drawing attention to the idea that how we talk, how we deliver our messages, needs to be tailored to our audience. When my son tells me about his score in Rocket League, I need him to explain that the number he just said is good as I have no context. And when my husband points out great features in architectural language, I need a bit of a translation. Why? I’m not the person they are usually speaking with. I’m not their usual main audience and therefore they need to be aware of the gaps in my understanding, the language they use, even how they hook me into listening in the first place.
Your business is the same. You have different audiences to speak to but are you paying attention to them and how you talk to them? You might be quite confidently and clearly speaking to your main audience but leaving others politely smiling and worse, skipping on by. Do you know who they are? Today is about audiences.
When you think about what you’re going to say in your posts or in your podcast interview or your blog, do you think about who is listening or reading? Do you think about what they know or understand about you, your business, your product or service? And do you think about how the answers to those questions directly impact how you speak to them?
I’m all about messaging. I love dialing in a good key strategic message, and breaking it down into sub messages. And if you were wondering, that didn’t sound any less geeky or cringy in my head but it’s the truth so I’m owning it. But even if you have messaging that is so sharp you could shave your bikini line with it and not worry about bumps, you don’t just create messaging and deploy it. That’s not the end of that process. That’s kind of the beginning middle-ish part. What’s the good of messaging if you don’t think about who’s receiving it?
Let’s remember that your messaging is always linked to your goal. The way you talk about your goal and the way you lead people towards it will depend on who they are, their relationship to you and what you offer. You need to have a good handle on who your different audiences are, what they want and how they can get that from you, and then your messaging can be adapted to suit those people.
There are probably as many ways to break down audiences as there are grey hairs on my head, which... is a lot if you haven’t seen my pic. But the standard variety breakdown encompasses two: primary and secondary. Which I will talk about but you know, I feel like there is a third since most of my audience is selling something - be it their product or their service. I feel like the primary audience can reasonably be broken into two so let’s look at those three audiences and how we need to think about them in order to tailor our messaging appropriately.
The first audience on our agenda for today is the one everyone will talk to you about: potential clients or customers. Those people who you want to come and buy your thing, to buy your service, to book up your calendar’s billable hours. These people are part of the primary audience. When you’re developing a picture of these people, the usual questions apply such as what means something to them? What do they value? A lot of online experts tell you to ask yourself what the customer’s pain point is, what makes them uncomfortable and address that. And yes, that gets results. But I don’t want you to neglect the positive, as well. What excites them, what possibilities entice them, what are they hoping to achieve? Can you take your messaging and use it to speak to their desires and needs? Can you speak to their future ideas, where they see themselves in six months or six years from now - and do it without sounding like you’re doing interview prep?! This group often feels exciting or stressful to develop messaging for because they are somewhat of the unknown - you haven’t necessarily interacted with them yet, and if you have they maybe haven’t engaged back. You probably know more about these people than you think and I encourage you to be excited by the possibilities open to you in the different ways you can develop, tweak and twirl your messaging for this group.
The second audience is the other half of the primary, they’re your current or past clients and customers. The people who have worked with you, bought your thing, followed your advice and enjoyed the experience. This group has had a pretty direct impact on your business as they’ve already given you the money that has allowed you to stay in business until now. These people are great because you probably have so much information about them tucked in your head or on a spreadsheet or intake form that will shape your messaging for them. And there’s research showing that a returning customer is worth a lot to a small to medium sized business. Marketing Tech blog indicates that a returning customer is worth ten times that of their initial purchase and other research shows that up to 61% of a small business’s annual revenue comes from repeat customers.
So basically once someone has been introduced to you, liked the experience, they can often be counted on to continue to support you. And you already have a pretty good idea on how to talk to them because you've done it before... with success. This is brilliant news!
When you’re crafting your messaging for them, think about what brought them to you and what you’ve provided for them. Who were they when they came to you? What were they looking for and how did they feel while they were looking? Or what feeling were they looking to capture by interacting with you? What happened or how did they feel once they got your product or service? And what are they now looking for? Can you bring them on that journey and reach your next goal? You probably have way more information about this group than you initially realize.
The third audience is a little bit less concrete. They are influencers or secondary audiences. These people probably won’t spend the money directly with you, unless you persuade them to do so as a gift or a service for someone they care about or are responsible for. But they carry influence over your primary audiences. In a larger scope they can be celebrities or quasi celebrities. Have you ever bought something because one of the Kardashians or whoever likes and uses it. Or at least used it once for their Instagram feed? (Was that too cynical?)
These people can shape the views of your customers and potential customers. So your job is to think about who can possibly have that kind of influence over your purchasers? If you sell a product such as bath bombs or handmade earrings, and your goal is to sell more, you probably want to go to larger volume outlets rather than one off sales as a goal. So who has influence over store owners or merchandisers? If you’re a professional, who has influence over your primary purchasers? I can almost guarantee that your profession, whatever it is, has people who say they don’t need you. Even when they do. So who has influence over them and their decision making and how do you talk to those people? What can you say to them to get them on your side, to align with you? How do you shape your messaging to open that door to supporting you?
The more you talk to your audience in terms that they understand, the simpler it becomes to get your message across. But what your audience knows and what your message means to them depends on who they are. It’s not their job to interpret what you’re saying to them, to decide if you are providing value to them. That’s your job. And mine. And if you need help with understanding your messaging and how to change it to suit your audiences yet stay aligned with your goals, pop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to learn more about how I create social media content for my clients that works for them, how I devise their strategic messaging based off of their goals then translate that into actual posts for their social media feeds, then head on to janicefogarty.com/create-your-social-media-strategy for my 30 minute masterclass. Because once you have your messages and you know your audiences, the next step of the process is actually getting those messages to them.
And if you’re wondering, I have a pretty good handle on a weeping tile system to protect foundations. Because with practise and knowing your audience, tailoring your messages for them can become second nature and ensures they know what you need them to know.
Thanks so much for listening and until next week, my friend.