Marketing messaging to attract your ideal client base

Sending clients and prospects the right marketing messages is critical to your long-term success.

By Michelle van Schouwen

As you strive to develop your ideal customer base, it is critical to ensure that you are sending the right signals to prospects and clients. This includes – perhaps begins with – your marketing messaging. Here are tips on how to get this important dimension of your communications right.

-As a veteran marketer, I’ve always suggested to clients that they start planning their marketing messaging by envisioning their best sales meeting ever. What did they say? How did the prospect respond? What were the prospect’s key questions? Pain points? What made the prospect’s eyes light up?

You’ll note that in your own best sales meeting, your prospect will likely speak more than you do. When you do talk, it will be more about the prospect’s business than your own. Your marketing messaging should echo this pattern. It’s less about you, more about them. Frankly, the mistake I’ve seen most often in marketing is “boasting with a lack of empathy for the prospect.” In other words, “We’re the best” – rather than “You need X and we are all about making sure you get it.”

[amazon_link asins=’0718033329′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e44dfad1-b510-11e8-8da7-5d2a5b91625e’]So, when you describe your company and its capabilities and offerings, do so in a relatable way. Why are your offerings valuable to the prospect? Why do you package them the way you do? How do you know you offer great value (which goes beyond cost, of course)? Why, finally, should your prospect choose to work with you, or to buy what you have for sale?

-Your messaging should encourage a concrete next step for the qualified prospect. Depending on your business, this could be an inquiry, specification submission, request for meeting, or a sale. Make it easy, in your marketing outreach, for the prospect to take this next step using channels appropriate to your business segment.

-Your messaging may be used across a variety of platforms, and may address a range of prospects, However, any company striving to build its ideal client base will keep the key points of its messaging consistent. Think of your core messaging as the trunk of a tree, and the necessary details and variations as the branches.

[amazon_link asins=’0692926372′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f59cac86-b510-11e8-9d35-a9a7f3ab77d6′]-One of the most daunting challenges that can intimidate a small business owner when developing marketing messaging is the desire to be catchy and clever. While it is important to capture and hold the attention of your prospect, it’s a mistake to emphasize mere cleverness over meaningful content. How often have you enjoyed, for example, a television ad, but been unable to recall who the advertiser was?

The art of being seen, heard and remembered – and then inspiring action – is tricky, even within a local, regional or trade setting. That’s why, even if your budget is limited, it’s smart to work with marketing professionals to develop the platform that meets your business objectives. A good partner will take this challenge seriously and deliver messaging themes and content that support your marketing success.

[amazon_link asins=’1118961501′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fe901654-b510-11e8-b217-45ad17a8c3b4′]Start where you can, build as you can. Marketing is critical to most companies that want to scale, and that know what types of clients or customers they want. Marketing can also be expensive. Start with core communications, including a strong website. Build your program as you are able, always with an eye to strong, consistent, meaningful messaging. Done right, marketing is an investment rather than merely an expense. It should help your business grow and thrive, and to build and communicate a strong identity that attracts a great client base.


Michelle van Schouwen enjoys an “Act 2” career as principal of Q5 Analytics, providing advocacy and communications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. See For the past 32 years, Michelle was president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company. In 2017, van Schouwen Associates was acquired by Six-Point Creative Works, Inc. of Springfield, MA.

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