Having the right message is critical to the success of any business. The number one key to business growth is crafting a message that speaks to your target audience. The right message can overcome deficiencies in other areas. A perfect example is McDonald's. They certainly don't have the best burgers, but they've crafted a message that brings them success.

That's not to say that substance isn't important. It is. But the message can help craft the perception of the substance. To a kid, McDonald's very well may be the best burger in the world. Commercials tell us all the time that one product is superior to the other, but are they really? Does it matter? Not really. If the message convinces us then to us it is the best.

But even if you have the right message, its still important that you get it in front of the right audience. If you are getting the "right" message in front of the wrong audience then you're still getting it wrong.

I belong to a subscription service that keeps me up to date on all the goings on in Washington. They send me weekly updates and often include links which allow me to fill out a quick form to send my representatives my thoughts or opinion on certain hot topics up for debate. Recently I filled one out on the topic of privatization of social security. Here is the response I received back from Nevada's Senator, Harry Reid

Dear Mr. Degeyter: Thank you for contacting me to express your support for preserving the Social Security program. ...

The letter goes on but I didn't need to read more. Why? Because I did not express my support for "preserving the Social Security program". In fact, I expressed my support for Social Security Privatization.

Harry Reid, like most politicians, feel that they have the right message. And maybe he does. But that is the wrong message for the audience of me. But hey, maybe I could be convinced. Unfortunately while the rest of the letter attempts to make the case against privatization, I'm not listening. Primarily because Senator Reid didn't first listen to me.

The right message would have been one that acknowledges my viewpoint on the issue, sympathizes with it, but then (and only then) discusses the case against. That message has a higher chance of reaching me.

How you communicate through your website, telephone conversations, emails, blogs, etc. plays a significant role in your company's success. When you communicate to your customers, or potential customers... or even wanna be customers, you can easily craft the right message, only to find that it's the wrong message for any particular segment of your audience. Current customers need to be addressed differently from prospective customers. Interested parties should be addressed differently from those that are not interested but can be convinced.

In all your business communications, consider your audience and craft the appropriate message. Target different segments of your audience with language that will reach them specifically. In business communications, the one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't work. I'm sure you've got the right message, but in reality, you need the right messages.

Shut up for a second and listen to your audience. Speak to them where they are, not where you want them to be.

June 27, 2007

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Shut Up and Listen to Your Audience for a Change