Money-Making Messages – How to break through, be heard and make the sale, despite the obstacle

Money-Making Messages

How to break through, be heard and make the sale, despite the obstacle


In this tough economy, every communication counts. You can’t afford to send e-mails that get deleted without being read, ship direct mail that ends up in the recycling bin, or manage an Internet site that’s never visited.


But how can you make sure your messages are noticed—especially when your audience is so busy worrying (about their jobs, their 401(k)s, or their customers) that they don’t have time to pay attention?

The answer is so simple that you may think it’s too obvious: Make your communication all about your audience. Answer their questions. Solve their problems. Help them get something done. The fact is, even though people are distracted and stressed out, they’ll engage if the message is about them.

If this strategy is so effective, why doesn’t everybody follow it? Because it’s not easy to do. It’s so much easier to create communication from your point of view and deliver it the way you’d like to receive it.

The problem with that, of course, is that your audience doesn’t care that your company has a “75-year heritage of quality service”—they want to know what you’re going to do for them today.

So how do you deliver audience-focused communication? Here are five tips:

1. Make your mantra: “It’s not about me; it’s about you.” Chant this dozens of times a day.

2. Love your audience. “Know your audience” is one of the oldest tenets of communication. The concept is that the better you understand the needs and preferences of the people you’re trying to reach, the better you can design communication that will get through to them.

But in these crazy times, you need to go further than just collecting data about your audience; you need to get really, really close to them. You can’t connect with your audience if you see them only as a bunch of statistics. Find out what they care about, and pledge to provide it.

3. Aim carefully to hit your target. Ever buy one of those “one-size-fits-all” tee shirts? It’s meant to work for everyone, but it’s too small for Uncle Phil and looks like a tent on Cousin Sue. “It never ceases to amaze me,” says Darlene Rotch, CEO of Panorama Public Relations, “how often companies try to do the same thing with communication. Unless you develop the specific message that meets the need of a particular audience, it just won’t fit.”

4. Convey a single message. Once you’ve figured out what a particular audience needs to know, capture your message in a single sentence of 10 words or less. Your audience doesn’t have the time or attention span for a complicated pitch. They need to instantly know—in the space of an e-mail subject line or an ad headline—what it is and what it means to them.

5. Provide a recipe. What are the most powerful words in any headline? The single word that packs the most punch is “you” and the phrase that draws people in is “how to.” Especially these days, people are hungry for help. If you can give them information that makes their lives easier, they’ll be so grateful that they’ll reward you with the greatest gift of all: their attention.

That’s what I did here. Hope you found it useful!

By Alison Davis, co-author of Your Attention, Please and CEO of Davis & Company

A LifeStyle Public Relations White Paper

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