There’s a very real chance that your main competition isn’t other businesses. That might sound strange but, again and again, I find that the clarity owners have about their business isn’t reflected in their marketing and communications. And that’s what’s really holding most people back when it comes to growth.
Before you start competing with other suppliers, the first battle you need to win is against the noise and lack of focus in your own messaging.
Why? Because it stops people from understanding how you can help them.
Too much of everything
When it comes to external marketing – usually your website – there’s a temptation to list out all the things you can do. But really you should be working out from your desired customers and thinking about what they need to know.
More is rarely better. It’s usually confusing, tiring and annoying. If someone has engaged with you – either by referral, search, social media – they don’t want to have to wade through a whole pile of ‘stuff’. In fact, they can’t deal with it.
It’s not necessarily about simplifying or dumbing things down; it’s about clarifying and making it digestible.
The overloaded brain
Think about the last time you were lost in a foreign city, trying to find your way to an appointment. Even if you spoke the language, think about how many instructions you could remember when you asked for directions. Perhaps four if you’re Mensa material, but more likely only two or three.
The human mind deals with clutter and overload by blocking. Everywhere you look, in pretty much every area of our lives, the brain is having to deal with overload. Too much to do, too many calls, too many emails, too many adverts, too much to read, too many problems and challenges, not enough time.
People want help with those problems and challenges. Everything else is a nice-to-have.
Can you connect with people who need your help?
It’s very likely that – aside from funding – the barriers to your business’s growth aren’t technical. The problem is often that your business can’t connect with the people who need your products or your help because they’re dealing with overload and you’re not helping.
You need to clarify what you’re saying; tell a story; manage what you tell people first and focus on how you can help rather than what you offer.
What’s the story?
So what do you need to do? First things first, you need to have a clear idea of:
- Who you help
- The problems that they face
- How you can help them
- The proof that you can help
- How you’ll help them
You probably know all of that already. So the next stage is to make sure that what you say about your business succinctly reflects these things. You need an angle, a conversation starter. Not necessarily something simplistic, but it has to be uncluttered, to-the-point and meaningful.
The other benefit is that you’ll know what you need to talk about on social media, what conversations you need to seek in your marketing and what topics your content should cover.