Two times with two different entrepreneurs today, we had to do a complete 180 as we evaluated their messages to their prospects. In both cases, the main part of the messaging was focused on what the startup does. “We provide this or that to these people for this price, etc.” But in both cases, delivering that message did not have the intended effect.
In reworking the initial message for both of these entrepreneurs, I reminded them that they should start out by making sure their audience understands what’s broken. In other words, what’s the problem, and why should my audience care? How does this problem affect them?
One of the entrepreneurs needed help understanding why you would begin a marketing message with a negative, with a problem. So I posed the following question to him. Which statement gets your attention, and makes you want to know more: a statement about how great your startup is, or a statement or question about a specific pain in your audience’s daily life?
That’s when he got it. It made sense not to talk about “here’s what we do”, but rather about “you know how much of a pain it is for you to do this?!?”
When you know your audience, and you have a deep understanding of the part of their daily life that’s broken, you have the ability to make that problem personal, to bring it home in language they can understand very easily. Then you have their attention to deliver your service message: “We solve that problem by doing this, that, and these so you don’t have to. Sign up to learn more.”
Just like the Teddy Roosevelt quotation above, your audience couldn’t care less what you do until they know that you understand their problem, and can solve it. When creating your marketing message, remember to lead with the problem.