Mixed Marketing Messages
While driving on a major freeway, I recently saw a billboard that read “Texting While Driving KILLS”. In fine print the advertisement read: “For more driving tips, text ‘SAFETY’ to 79191.”
Like me, I am sure you are probably laughing (or at least smiling) right now because this is a classic example of an advertisement sending mixed messages. I’m sure it is very clear to you why this message is ineffective. But the sad part is – this type of miscommunication or presentation of conflicting ideas is seeping in and polluting sales and marketing materials every day.
To acquire more customers, you have to stop making this costly mistake.
Take for example your company website, newsletter or sales brochure. What exactly are you asking your prospect to do?
Did you make the mistake of trying to cram three or four competing requests (i.e. call to actions) into one page? Did you ask them to buy your product, join your mailing list, visit your company blog and watch your latest YouTube video?
Chances are, you are really excited about your small business and want to share everything you can on one tiny page. Furthermore, I can understand why you get excited about all of the wonderful things your company offers. But here’s the problem: if you are delivering mixed messages you will confuse your audience and most of them will walk away because what you want them to do is not clear.
Now, your mixed messages may not be as blatant as “For more driving tips, text ‘SAFETY’ to 79191.” However, the end result can be the same.
If you want to get more customers, you will need to focus on communicating one clear message. If your message is clear and there is only one action they should take, you will find that the number of people who step forward and take that desired action will increase dramatically.
That brings me to my second point.
Lost in Marketing Translation
The second mistake I don’t want your company to make is to use words or sentences that are confusing.
Take for example a sign I saw outside a motel – “Free Wifi Starting at $59.99”.
I think the motel owner who created the sign was either in a rush or ran out of space because he forgot a few important words. What he probably meant to say was “Free Wi-Fi. Rooms starting from $59.99”. But he forgot to mention two small words that would have made the difference between a message that was clear and one that made absolutely no sense at all.
Now you may not offer free Wi-Fi, but I bet you have used (or at least seen) terms like scalable architecture, a customer-centric model, holistic approach or results-based focus.
Unfortunately, these words mean nothing to our reptilian brain (i.e. the part of your customer’s brain that decides and takes action). That part of the brain is 45 million years old and it struggles to process and understand complex words, numbers, unfamiliar symbols and graphs that contain too much information.
If you want to speed up the decoding process and make it easier to attract customers to your business, you need to make your message simple.
Choose words that are clear and easy to understand.
Complete your thoughts and sentences – don’t make it difficult and give your customer the excuse – “I need to think about it.”
If your customers have to think too hard to decode your marketing and sales messages, they simply won’t make a decision
Now I want you to be honest with yourself – is there a chance you might be sending mixed messages to potential customers? Are your sales and marketing messages clear and succinct? If not, now is the best time to revisit and re-write your materials.
If you want to increase sales, you need to simplify what you are asking customers to do and use language that is easy to interpret.
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